We're sharing our kitchen playlists with you this week and here's mine: Usually silence unless it's Led Zeppelin. Let me explain.
My favorite way to cook, especially when I cook alone, is in silence. I like the sounds of cooking: the chopping, the sizzling, the thwacking of a wooden spoon against the bowl when I cream butter and sugar. (I tend to be rather unplugged in my daily cooking, so I'm not talking so much about the whine of a blender or other loud mechanical sounds.) I enjoy my thought process when I cook and how the task at hand pulls my thinking this way and that. If things get too noisy internally, if I'm frustrated or bored with my thinking, then I try to shift my attention what's in front of me. Not just the sounds, but the colors and smells and shapes, too. It never ceases to inspire.
That said, I occasionally like to get caught up with my podcasts if I have a huge kitchen project. When those Gabfests and This American Life episodes start to pile up, I plug in the earphones and pick up my knife and get chopping. But often I give up on the podcasts because I'm just not a good multi-tasker. I either lose track of the podcast or goof up my recipe because I'm distracted. So these days I tend to save the podcasts for the cleaning up part.
And that's the way it was until I recently interviewed Karen Solomon for our Expert Essentials series. When she talked about having a soundtrack for her kitchen, I found myself drawn to that notion. I don't drive, and I don't have a commute, so there are very few natural opportunities in my life to listen to music. And I miss it. So lately, on occasion, I listen to some music when I'm cooking. Not enough to create a playlist for you here, but enough to remind me that music has an enormous influence over my mood and energy. When I'm in the kitchen and I need to slow down and focus, I like to listen to simple piano music. When I need a boost of energy and some enthusiasm, it's Led Zeppelin all the way!
(Image: Dana Velden)