Pressing ‘play’ on an iTunes playlist or even better, letting an entire album play as you chop, blend, sauté or even microwave, makes cooking feel fantastic and relaxing. Knee deep in the holiday season which is usually chockfull of dinner parties, get togethers and other festive events, what you’re going to need when you cook for either yourself or a large group of folks is a nice calming yet stimulating selection of music that will help your frazzled nerves.
Listening to great music also makes the kitchen feel more inviting so a solo cooking mission may turn into one big group project with family and friends and can carry over into background music for the rest of the day and night. However, just as every recipe may go with a different mood or occasion, the same goes for music.
Here are my top five favorite albums that make cooking and entertaining fun and stress-free.
**5 Best Albums To Cook To**
1. Neil Young - Harvest. Can’t every moment in life just have a Neil Young soundtrack? Seriously. It’s a thought that passes my brain at least once or twice a day. In my opinion, “Harvest” is one of the most perfect albums ever recorded from start to finish. It’s the kind of music that makes you imagine that you’re in a rustic log cabin cooking with vegetables that you just picked from your backyard garden as deer pass by your window as your bearded hippie boyfriend is chopping wood out back or something. “Harvest” will keep your heart feeling warm in the cold months that we are in the midst of and make cooking feel even cozier than it already does.
Recipe suggestion: Harvest-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
2. Little Joy- Little Joy. One of my favorite albums ever has to be Little Joy, for the sheer fact that it is an uplifting and peppy piece of work. With an old school vibe to it, Little Joy will make you feel as if you’re being transported to a different era where everything feels like sparkles and rainbows. Not to mention, this is one of Fabrizio Moretti’s (drummer for The Strokes) side projects with his girlfriend Binki Shapiro which probably explains the cute and romantic vibe. Indulging in this album would be best when you’re preparing something sweet with a bunch of friends or baking something for the one you love.
3. Harlem- Hippies. A new favorite, Harlem is a band that brings an extremely upbeat, smorgasbord of sounds that really get my senses going, especially in the kitchen. Lately, I’ve been setting up my laptop on the counter letting Harlem’s “Hippies” album play from start to finish (sometimes on repeat, depending on how long the recipe is). This is also a great choice for when you’ve got friends in the kitchen lending a helping hand or even if they’re just popping in to say hello. Someone will be bound to ask “What band is this?!” while they simultaneously taste test one of your culinary creations.
Recipe suggestion: Frozen Banana Bonbons
4. Washed Out- Within and Without. Listening to an extremely calming (but interesting. No Enya up in this kitchen please!) band like Washed Out will act as a very safe and healthy musical version of Vicodin for you. Maybe one of your dinner guests is notorious for hating everything that ends up on their plate, or so and so invited their friend who sips on one too many hot buttered rums and starts political arguments at the dinner table. ‘Tis the season to accept everyone’s flaws, right? But hey, if you’re the host…don’t sweat it. Let “Within and Without” play from start to finish, while you slow cook something delectable and truly just take it easy.
Recipe Suggestion: Soba Noodles with Chicken Meatballs
5. Band of Horses- Everything All the Time. Perhaps there is a theme in my favorite cooking music because almost all of it includes a very woodsy and natural feel. That’s what cooking can do to a girl, can ya blame me? There’s just something about creating a meal from scratch that feels sacred and Everything All The Time is an album that will always accompany that feeling so well. It’s an old stand by for when I light up my stove top and start throwing ingredients into a pan. Listening to Band of Horses is best for cooking breakfast, which starts the day off on a beautiful note.
Recipe suggestion: Pumpkin Pancakes with Honey-Nutmeg Butter
Sarah Cunningham writes about food for Small Kitchen College. She’s a senior at SCAD, where she studies fashion and spends too much money on thrift store knick knacks & tries her best to experiment successfully in the kitchen. Read More…