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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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