Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sonic Youth Tuna Tacos

From my archives, scans of some Sonic Youth photos I took when I saw them play live for the first time in 2004 at Metropolis Fremantle!Sonic Youth live 21.7.2004, Metropolis Fremantle
Kim and Thurston

I’m a huge Sonic Youth fan and tacos, who doesn't like tacos? 

When my friend Riche recently sent me a link he had come across of a tuna taco recipe that Sonic Youth shared in a 1996 “Eat This” column in Sassy magazine, I couldn't wait to make it.

It’s simple and Kim Gordon (bassit) lived on these tacos when she was a poor struggling art student in Los Angeles.

 Lee Ranaldo and Jim O'Rourke

Sonic Youth are know for using alternative tunings for their guitars as early on in their career they could only afford cheap guitars, and cheap guitars sound…cheap. But tune it differently or use objects like drum sticks and screwdrivers to alter its timbre (see Lee Ranaldo doing his thing in pic above!) and new unique sounds can be created. Sonic Youth are praised for having "redefined what rock guitar could do” and have had a pivotal influence on the alternative rock and indie rock movements with their music which I will attempt to describe as adventurous, unconventional and playful noise rock guitar explosions! 

The basis of a taco is cheap, but you can fill them with whatever you want. You can make them into something a little bit fancy - spending hours slow cooking pork, pickling and making various condiments, or just keep it low key and simple - leftover meat, lettuce, salsa, sour cream, and top it with coriander/spring onion.

You don’t need expensive guitars to make amazing music and you don’t need expensive ingredients to make great tasting tacos.

Tacos have had a resurgence in recent years, I think this can be partly attributed to the rise of food trucks where tacos are commonly served as they are the perfect street, grab and go kind of food.

Many consider Sonic Youth to be ‘godfathers of alternative rock’ and the ‘godfather of food trucks’ is Roy Choi with his Kogi Korean BBQ taco trucks. Since making his debut in 2008, Roy Choi has kicked off a food truck revolution in Los Angeles which has spread to New York, Portland and other US cities. But a food truck is only as good as the food served, and the humble taco has been elevated to a cult status with Roy Choi’s tacos challenging the barriers of what a taco can be with its fusion of Korean and Mexican. 

Hey, I’ve even delved into a little Mexican and Vietnamese fusion myself by making Vietnamese tacos, because why not?

Sonic Youth, and Roy Choi’s tacos have had a huge impact on their respective industries. I love how in their own ways, they have set themselves apart by being different and pushing new boundaries, rising from the underground to achieve commercial success. 

I don’t eat a lot of tacos, maybe because I had written them off a bit, other things were getting more of my attention. But after making Sonic Youth’s tuna tacos I was reminded of how great tacos simply are and I need to eat more of them in my life and experiment with different fillings. Then I listened to some Sonic Youth and I remembered how amazing they were and I need to play them more often too….

Here’s Sonic Youth’s tuna taco recipe with a few slight adjustments, I couldn’t find watercress at the shops so I used snow pea sprouts instead. Also added a little salt and pepper to the filling. 

•    1 can of tuna in springwater (425g)
•    1 glob mayo
•    1 green onion, finely diced
•    1/2 lemon squeezed
•    1 or 2 small green chillies, finely chopped
•    salt and pepper
•    4 tortillas
•    butter
•    snow pea sprouts

 snow pea sprouts


Mix tuna, mayo, lemon, onion and chillies in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Sprinkle water on tortilla, then heat one at a time on open low flame in a frying pan, 15 to 30 seconds on each side until warmed through and starts to colour. Remove the tortilla from the pan while it’s still soft and smear with butter. 

                                                      Tip: add lots of butter!
Put tuna mixture in the middle of the tortilla, top with snow pea sprouts.

                                                         Enjoy \m/

Check out my other music+food related posts
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  1. What a cute post. I've never tried a tuna taco but I want to now!

  2. Yeah who doesn't love Tacos. They are perfect little treats and I loveeee them. Lovely post.

  3. Student times bring out some interesting food inspirations. I sued to make an enormous batch of tuna chilli pasta and ration it out to last but putting it in cheese toasties. Left over pasta in toasties ROCKS.

  4. Awesome!!!!
    Tennessee bars with just their guitar and songs in hand. And when they made it big, the single thing that every country artist looked forward to is playing on The Grand Old Opry. Today that is still one of Rock Listener Starting To Like Country the greatest honors of any country star.