Food and music. They are two of the things that, for whatever reason, are so integral to our lives—well, aside from the fact we need food to live.  Food has become more than just a sustenance (otherwise we’d all just eat plain meat and raw vegetables exclusively) and music   isn’t exactly necessary for basic survival. Yet, they’ve evolved into a permanent fixture of our lives, as they provide ways of sharing culture, personality, emotion, affection, etc. And so they seem, in a strange way, inexorably linked. 

I enjoy playing music when I’m cooking. It helps pass the time, and it helps have fun while cooking. Music is one of those things that can just kind of contribute to the process of cooking without distracting from it in a way that TV in the background or even podcasts can’t. 

So I’ve put together some playlists for summertime cooking for different types of days, moods, aesthetics, etc. The first two are simply tunes I’ve been listening to while cooking pretty consistently lately. The breakfast playlist is songs I think will help you start your day and wake yourself up a bit, and backyard barbecues are mostly classics and oldies that I think contribute to the Americana aesthetic of summer barbecuing. 

These are a curated selection but can be played in any order. Enjoy, keep on cooking, and I hope these help you discover new songs, artists, and genres! 

Playlist One- Summer Evening Cooking

“Take Me Home Country Roads” by John Denver

“The Wings” by Gustavo Santaolalla

“Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak

“Highwayman” by Highwaymen

“No Ceiling” by Eddie Vedder

“He Was a Friend of Mine” by Willie Nelson

“Sleepwalk” by Santo and Johnny 

“Big Iron” by Marty Robbins

“Ghost Riders in the Sky” by Johnny Cash

“Save Me” by Aimee Mann

“A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke

“Vincent” by Don McLean

“Ninna Ninna- Lullaby”- Unknown/Various Artists (“Italian Folk Songs and Dances” album)

Playlist Two- Summer Afternoon Cooking 

“A.T.H.F. (Aqua Teen Hunger Force)” by Dangerdoom

“Hoe Cakes” by MF DOOM

“Ascension (fest. Vince Staples)” by Gorillaz

“Going On” by Gnarls Barkley 

“Stand Up” by The Prodigy 

“Brooklyn” by Youngblood Brass Band

“Origin of Man” by The Budos Band

“Old School Rules” by Dangerdoom

“Nakamarra” by Hiatus Kaiyote 

“Yo! My Saint (feat. Michael Kiwanuka)” by Karen O

“Amebo” by The Lijadu Sisters 

“You Belong to Me” by Cat Pierce 

“For a Little While” by Langhorne Slim

Playlist Three- Breakfast

“Slung” by Foetus


“Same in the End” by Sublime 

“I’m Not Like Everybody Else” by The Kinks

“Walk Don’t Run” by The Ventures

“Wipe Out” by The Surfaris

“Stress” by Jim’s Big Ego 

“Surf Rider” by The Lively Ones

“While My Guitar Gently Weeps (2004 Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame Version)” by Dhani Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Prince, Steve Winwood & Tom Petty

“Hazy Shade is Winter” by The Bangles

“Shout” by Tears for Fears

“Dream Baby” by Bananarama

Playlist Four- Backyard BBQ 

“We’re an American Band” by Grand Funk Railroad

“Dream On” by Aerosmith

“Flashlight” by Parliament

“Homecoming (fear. Chris Martin)” by Kanye West

“The Corner (feat. The Last Poets)” by Common

“Nobody Knows” by Pastor T.L. Barrett

“Dolly Dagger” by The Joni Hendrix Experience

“Somebody to Love” by Queen

“Smokin’” by Boston

“Shout! Pts. 1 and 2” by The Isley Brothers

“Baby Driver” by Simon and Garfunkel

“It Don’t Come Easy” by Ringo Starr

“Cheer Down” by George Harrison

“Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian)” by Paul Revere and the Raiders

“Joy to the World” by Three Dog Night

“Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult