Cooking with Carson: Top five songs to play while cooking (this is fact, not opinion)

The more you try and resist these tunes the worse your food will taste



Carson reveals his favorite songs to listen to while cooking

CARSON HOLLAND, Evergreen columnist

waiting on visual

As a reporter for the esteemed Daily Evergreen, I am known for my Michelin-star-level cooking and expert restaurant review skills. What you might not have known is that I also have impeccable music taste to go along with my reporter acumen. 

It is a proven fact, dear readers, proven and researched by none other than yours truly, that playing music not only makes your food taste better but the cooking process easier. That is not even to mention how much quicker it makes washing the dishes. Below are my five favorite songs to blast in the kitchen that I can hope you can add to your culinary playlist. 

Stick with me here, almost every popular Imagine Dragons song could end up on this list if I was really in the mood but “Bones” is perfect for those multi-pot meals that require a bit more attention. The start of the song does take a little bit to get going but with a main line that jams and grooves will get you in the cooking mood. 

This song goes with any meal but I like to pair it with a pasta and garlic bread kind of night, or even a bit of stir fry. Baking seems a little out of this song’s comfort zone, but you could possibly pair it with the right mood. I only feel bad if people are living below you in anticipation of your dance moves. 

While Bones might be a more hype song to bounce around your kitchen stirring your various pots, “Jackie and Wilson” feels more like a gliding lazy river. The sharp continuous beat throughout the song guides you through Hozier’s wonderful voice and melody. 

As you are putting the finishing touches on your all-nighter Kraft Mac and Cheese you will find yourself dipping and moving around the kitchen. I would not be surprised if you hit repeat on this song to eat whatever delicious creation you made. That being said, literally, everything Hozier puts out can and should be put on this list. 


The logical conclusion of the first three songs, Surfaces brings a great entry that slows down the melody but still brings the tunes and grooves you might expect from this list. This is the absolute perfect addition to any backing adventure and I have listened to this song more than once as I have put my banana bread and cookie dough in the oven (or sneaked a few raw cookie dough bites). This song gets you in the mood for good eats and winds you down from your dance party. 

In Pullman and surrounded by the great wheat field of the Palouse this list would be bereft without the inclusion of country and one of my favorites, Alan Jackson. This song is one that I keep going back to, even if I am off my country kick. 

This song will have you dancing around your kitchen, moving through your cabinets and screaming the lyrics at the top of your lungs. It certainly helps if you have a drink in your hand to add a spot of delicious irony to the song but whenever I am tossing a salad or grilling a steak this song comes to mind instantly. 

Almost on the opposite side of the country spectrum, Pardi’s slow and melodious song serves a very similar purpose in this list to the Hozier entry. Where Jackson is fast, catchy and one to yell while your windows are cracked, Head Over Boots is a slow dance with your partner. 

This is the perfect song to play when you are cooking or baking with that special someone. As one of you holds that scraping spatula and the other the egg beater, Pardi develops a melody that will make the taste of whatever you are making blown out of the water. 


Honorable mentions

“Shake it off” by Taylor Swift

“Electric Love” by Børns

“I’m Still Standing” by Elton John

These are just some of the songs that will make the flavors of your food pop but of course, this is not an exhaustive list. There are plenty of other songs that can make cooking a fun experience that you want to go back to rather than a chore to do on a weekday night. Experiment with different genres and paces of music so that you find one that matches your meal and your mood and you will find yourself enjoying coming into the kitchen more each time. 

If you have a special song you like when cooking, share with the hashtag #cookingwithcarson