Weeknight Cooking

Your Favorite Music to Cook To

There are so many great conversations on the Hotline—it's hard to choose a favorite. But we'll be doing it, once a week, to spread the wealth of our community's knowledge—and to keep the conversation going.

Today: It's cookin’ with the classics, and jazz, and...

The soft tearing sound a baguette makes as it's ripped open. A knife blade as it's sharpened on a honing steel. The blender as it whirs. Sometimes, the sounds of the kitchen are all you need. Then there are moments when prep work is repetitive, a recipe too tedious, or a day so stressful that unwinding to music while cooking is the exact thing to do.

Over on the Hotline, pierino wants to know what music you cook with. “Anyone who says Kenny G or Stevie Nicks immediately gets their house toilet-papered,” he says. From The Black Keys to The Beatles, here's what gets you cookin’ (plus a playlist!):

  • Beyondcelery breaks it down by dish: pasta calls for Puccini, beer bread requires Of Monsters and Men, and quiche needs Édith Piaf, amongst others.
  • For detailed tasks, like icing a cake, petitbleu listens to Gillian Welch or the Fleet Foxes, but “when I'm hitting it hard, it's Amon Tobin, Aphex Twin, and perhaps the Black Keys.”
  • Susan g likes classical, including opera.

  • “‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine always has me dancing at the stove,” says Dourmet.
  • JanetFL is a child of the '60s and loves The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and The Doors.
  • For Kristen W., Neil Young scratches “some deep nostalgic itch that works perfectly for me in the kitchen.”
  • ChefJune cooks mostly to jazz, citing Joe Williams as a favorite.
  • Summer calls for easy, bright music says Third Floor Kitchen. This means songs from The Supremes and Jackson Five.
  • For Emily0624, a weekend breakfast means reggae.

What music do you cook to? Tell us in the comments below!

Photos by James Ransom and Bobbi Lin 

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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8 Comments

John December 17, 2015
Normally the classical music but now with christmas time I listening the whole month to Christmas music. Especially in the kitchen.
 
Marti K. August 9, 2015
Barenaked Ladies, Rush, Oingo Boingo, or of course, Cake.
 
Kaylee August 9, 2015
The soundtrack for the movie Amelie by Yann Tierson is my go-to for baking cakes or pie
 
Kitty T. August 9, 2015
Louis Prima always gets me going in the kitchen and makes me want to watch the Big Night again!
 
boulangere August 8, 2015
I can only listen to podcasts of Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me when driving, @Pegeen. It's one of my true favorites, but so hysterical and wonderful that I hang on every single word.
 
Heather |. August 8, 2015
normally i listen to pop, but yesterday was fall out boy while i frosted a cake. it wasn't going well (i didn't have enough, and the kitchen was so hot it was getting melty), and the angstyness was fitting for my mood.
 
AntoniaJames August 8, 2015
From April through October, baseball on the radio. The Giants, the A's, and any nationally broadcast game from ESPN Radio. That's music to my ears. ;o)
 
cv August 8, 2015
In the kitchen I prefer classical music (including opera) plus some jazz. The classical stuff ranges mostly from the Baroque, Classical and Romantic periods through the end of the 19th century and Impressionist period, with especially heavy playing time for Bach.<br /><br />Not surprisingly, Gioachino Rossini's music is great for cooking; he was a gourmand himself and had several dishes named after him (either by or for him), including the famous tournedos Rossini (allegedly his creation). He basically quit his successful opera composing career at age 37 and lived the rest of his life (another forty years) tinkering in the kitchen. His overtures for The Barber of Seville and La Cenerentola well capture a party atmosphere.<br /><br />Opera has lots of great music that capture celebratory moments: parties, food & drink, festivals, holidays. Heck, Johann Strauss II's Die Fledermaus is all about a New Year's Eve party in Vienna.<br /><br />Any classical piece that has a fantasy or fairy tale theme seems to work well, so ballets like Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty work as well as the aforementioned La Cenerentola (Cinderella) or Offenbach's Tales of Hoffmann.<br /><br />Another great piece is Brahm's "Academic Festival Overture" reluctantly written as a thank-you piece in response to an honorary doctorate from the University of Breslau. Brahms himself conducted the inaugural performance at a convocation and revealed the annoyance of some and amusement of others. Why? It was a well-crafted pastiche of university drinking songs. Today it has a regular place in classical concert hall repertoire.<br /><br />However, when I grill, I end up seeking a wider variety of musical types: it could be anything from Louis Armstrong to Bob Marley to Kitty Wells to the Gypsy Kings to Israel Kamakawiwo'ole to Chris Isaak (with classical, jazz and opera making their appearances). Nothing wrong blasting Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" when you're grilling burgers.