NPR logo Heating Up The Kitchen To Vampire Weekend's 'Horchata'
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And we end this hour with a winter song story. Yeah. We know it's March. But since winter doesn't officially end for another few weeks, we still have time to bring you a musical memory of a very cold night from one of our listeners.

AMANDA SAUERMANN: I'm Amanda Sauermann, and I'm from Gracey, Kentucky. And my winter song is "Horchata" by Vampire Weekend.


VAMPIRE WEEKEND: (Singing) In December, drinking horchata, I'd look psychotic in a balaclava. Winter's cold. It's too much to handle. Pincher crabs that pinch at your sandals. Whoa ooh.

SAUERMANN: Prior to living in Kentucky, I lived in Burlington, Vermont. I'm very familiar with rough winters. I remember walking to work and having to wear a balaclava. The wind would whip so hard, and it would cause my eyes to water and, eventually, freeze shut. So when I would get to work and my eyes would thaw, all my mascara would be running down my face, so all you could see of me were eyes that look like Alice Cooper. But I was indeed wearing a balaclava, so I looked pretty psychotic. So that line captured me right away.


WEEKEND: (Singing) In December, drinking horchata, I'd look psychotic in a balaclava. Winter's cold.

CORNISH: So take us back to last winter in Kentucky. What was it like?

SAUERMANN: Last winter, Kentucky was pretty cold, and we had moved into a historic home. And old homes are typically cold anyway, and one night, it got to be minus-10. Our heater wasn't heating all that well - we have geothermal and we didn't realize there was something wrong with it. We just thought this was normal to explain how cold the house was. We had adopted a border collie. We were in the process of house-training him, and we were finding icy puddles of puppy pee on the floor.


SAUERMANN: Instead of cleaning puppy pee with paper towels, we were using an ice scraper, so that was - just to give you an idea how cold the house was.

CORNISH: That's very cold.


SAUERMANN: It is cold. So as it got colder and colder, I went to the kitchen and turned on the oven and hoped that that would heat my very cold house. I was baking bread, and it wasn't warming up the kitchen as much, so I thought I would turn on the self-clean feature on my range. And this whole time, I was listening to the radio and somehow the song "Horchata" came on, and just between the beat, the mention of the balaclava, you know, it just captured me and transcended me out of the cold and into the Caribbean. I downloaded the song instantly, and I spent at least three hours listening to that song.


WEEKEND: (Singing) You'd remember drinking horchata. You'd still enjoy it with your foot on masada.

CORNISH: Now, you know what a balaclava is, so you get points for that. But what about horchata? Have you ever had it?

SAUERMANN: No. I have never had horchata.

CORNISH: And we should tell people that it's sort of a milky drink, usually made - it's the kind of rice milk and milk and spices.

SAUERMANN: I always see it in the grocery store, and I was thinking of getting some. And I thought, living in Kentucky, that maybe it would taste OK with a little dash of single-barrel bourbon like that.


SAUERMANN: That would definitely warm me up. But that evening, just baking and dancing to that song kind of ushered in this whole era of the - what we call now the Amanda Sauermann Kitchen Dance Party, so...



WEEKEND: (Singing) Here comes a feeling you thought you'd forgotten. Chairs to sit and sidewalks to walk on. Ooh, you had it, but, oh, no, you lost it. Looking back, you shouldn't have fought it.

CORNISH: Amanda Sauermann of Gracey, Kentucky, talking about her winter song "Horchata" by Vampire Weekend. You can find all our winter song stories at


WEEKEND: (Singing) In December, drinking horchata, I'd look psychotic in a balaclava. Winter's cold. It's too much...


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