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The Guardian (UK)
October 15, 2011
Tori Amos photographed at Le Caprice, Mayfair. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod
Tori Amos: Life on a Plate
Tori Amos: I'd start the day with three dozen oysters then a rare steak. I felt powerful on stage'
The singer-songwriter on her formative food experiences
by John Hind
My father was a preacher in Maryland and we had crab feasts – with corn on the cob, but no beer, being Methodist – outside on the church lawn.
At 16 I was playing piano in the restaurant of the Sheraton Carlton, right below the White House, making 100 bucks a night, six nights a week. This was more than my dad made, which was strange and difficult. The important thing was not to mistake a lobbyist's or governor's wife's favourite song for his mistress's.
My mother says that, when I was almost two, I went over to the coffee pot at my great aunt Grace's house and pulled it over on myself, so I was in a burns unit for a few days. I've never had a thing for coffee.
I remember when I was eight or nine, we dined each night for a month at the home of a different family in my father's parish. There was one lady who ate all of each component – like all the potatoes – on her plate before moving on to the next component. And I thought: "OK, I'll do that from now on." At 15, I knew someone whose mother cooked macrobiotic, so I persuaded my mother to go macrobiotic with me.
In the mid-90s, doing two shows a day, I'd start the day with three dozen oysters, then maybe have a medium rare steak. That's it. No carbs, no greens. I felt powerful and lean on stage.
Since we first started dating in 1994, my husband [a sound engineer] and I have had this culinary adventure, exploring different restaurants around the world, on "non-show days". It's part of the romance and it's "our time". Although our daughter Tash often accompanies us. We brought her to Le Caprice as a baby. She was loving mussels escargot at two.
I most judged myself for enjoying a meal around 2007. I was overly stressed, the thinnest I've been, eating in an extreme way. Guilty while eating and after. But now I'm at a normal size, I feel that if you're not enjoying your food in a balanced way, then why are you living?
I don't really cook. There are caterers, and my husband cooks. But a few years ago, when my husband was off working, I did try getting into grilling, but I stopped after I had my feelings hurt. Someone said the salmon I grilled looked like it had acne.
I've been known to throw watermelons, backstage, at people who are giving me news I don't want to hear. But I never aim for the head.
Tori Amos's Night of Hunters is out now on Deutsche Grammophon/Universal
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