When discussing folk duo Lily and Madeleine, it is tempting to over-rely on the word “adorable,” because, I mean, they are. I recently saw the sisters perform to an enthralled audience (including an exceptionally high number of thirteen-year-old girls), dressed in buttoned-up primness, saying things like, “this is the nicest audience we’ve ever had – really!” In short, they were adorable, but to stop at adorable would be to miss almost everything. These young women are the real deal: stunning singers, smart songwriters, and effortless live performers. At the ages of nineteen and seventeen they have kept up with their homework while watching their premiere video (for the gorgeous “In the Middle”) go viral, releasing an EP and a full-length album on Asthmatic Kitty, and filling the pages of Vogue, The New York Times, USA Today, and Elle.
L & M are spending much of their summer break on tour, currently playing a string of dates on the West Coast where—if all is going well—they are chowing down on some highly anticipated In-N-Out Burgers. And I know when they get home they’ll be ready to curl up with a nice hot Mug O’ Corn. Aww.
Paste: You’re at a truck stop, you’re starving, and you have five minutes to assemble a meal. Please describe that meal, and how you feel about it.
Lily: I’d probably have a bottle of water and something Smartpop-esque, and an apple if I was lucky enough to find one. I know it’s not much and it won’t make me feel great but it’s better than corn nuts and candy.
Madeleine: If I was feeling vaguely healthy I would probably grab a bag of cheddar popcorn and a diet coke and an apple if I could find one. But a bag of Sour Patch Kids would also be a good choice!
Paste: When you’re traveling, what food from home do you crave?
L: Sometimes on the road it’s hard to find good coffee, so I always miss the coffee we make at home. It’s just Costco brand but it’s so good!
M: I miss my mom’s cranberry scones. They’re the best scones in the world!
Paste: What restaurant in the world do you most look forward to visiting when you’re on tour?
L: We’ve never been to an In-N-Out Burger and everyone I’ve met from the West Coast always raves about them, so hopefully we’ll get to go to one of those soon!
Paste: Is there anything special you like to eat before you play a show? Or anything you definitely do not like to eat before you play?
L: Lately we’ve been playing later shows so we have time to eat a full meal before. If that’s the case then I try to eat something light like a salad and soup, because there’s nothing worse than being super full and tired when you’re trying to perform!
M: I like to drink tea before a show. It gets my throat warmed up and also relaxes me before going on stage.
Paste: Can you tell me about a meal or a particular food that you were supposed to like but didn’t?
M: We played a show in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and afterwards the owner/chef made the entire menu for us to try! It was so generous. One of the appetizers was liver pâté with jam. He said the combination was like a savory peanut butter and jelly, but it was soooo gross. We tried it anyway because we didn’t want to be rude, but liver is definitely not my favorite food.
L: Definitely that peanut butter pâté and jelly dish. I’m sorry, but that was so hard to swallow. The rest of the meal was amazing though!
Paste: What’s your funniest on-the-road food story?
M: We toured in Texas last April and after a show we were really hungry so we decided to stop at Whataburger. But our big tour van was too tall to go through the drive-thru and the inside was closed so we just stood in the drive-thru line to order our food. People looked at us like we were crazy, but the burgers were so worth it.
Paste: What’s your favorite thing to cook or bake? Do you have a specialty?
L: I really like making classic chocolate chip cookies. I wouldn’t say they’re my specialty but I’m definitely a better baker than Madeleine…no offense, Madge.
M: Thanks, Lil. Haha. She’s right, I’m a terrible baker! But I can make a pretty mean grilled cheese sandwich. I think our little brother Nick would agree.
Paste: Do you have a recipe you can share?
M: When we were young our dad would make us a Mug O’ Corn. All you do is put about a cup of frozen corn in a mug and microwave it for a few minutes. Then you put a dollop of butter on top and it melts into the hot corn. It’s so simple and SO delicious! And it reminds me of sitting on the couch watching TV and enjoying a nice hot Mug O’ Corn with my dad.
Paste: Mug O’ Corn sounds great, but I want your mom’s scone recipe, please!
Lily and Madeleine’s Mom’s Scones
2 cups flour
10 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange peel (Paste used the zest from 1 orange)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup cold butter
1 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon milk
Preheat oven to 400. Line a cooking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, 7 teaspoons sugar, orange peel or zest, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs; set aside. In a small bowl, combine the cranberries, orange juice, cream and egg. Add to flour mixture and stir until a soft dough forms.
On a floured surface, gently knead 6-8 times. Pat dough into an 8-inch circle. Cut into 8-10 wedges. Separate wedges and place on baking sheet. Brush with milk; sprinkle with remaining sugar.
Bake 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.
Freda Love Smith is a writer, drummer, and lecturer living in Evanston, Illinois. She was a founding member and drummer of The Blake Babies, and has since played with Antenna, The Mysteries of Life, Gentleman Caller and Some Girls.
She writes about food on her blog, lovesmiths.blogspot.com.
Follow her on twitter: @fredalovesmith