• Nicole Leonetti

Sunday Cooking Soundtrack...

Cooking Sunday dinner is the best part of my week! I usually get so excited about it that by Tuesday evening I am already thinking about what recipes we should make, and the anticipation of the meal becomes part of the fun. While cooking, we always listen to one of our favorite records that get us in a Sunday mood and has us singing and dancing around the kitchen. Here is a list of our go-to albums and why they are the perfect companions to an evening of cooking delicious food.

Frank Sinatra: Ultimate Sinatra

I could never create any list involving music without mentioning Frank Sinatra. He has been my favorite since childhood, and I continue to be a huge fan (check out my Sinatra Style Palm Springs Weekend Guide). The funny thing about this album is that, while it certainly has some of Sinatra’s most popular songs, it isn’t what I would consider my favorite album of his. We went to Amoeba Records here in Los Angeles a few years ago with the intention of buying a few Sinatra albums and this was the only one they had. When I inquired about whether they had any additional albums, I was told – “He’s just too popular – we can’t keep them in stock”. I thought for sure the guy was kidding since it’s been awhile since Frank Sinatra was at the height of popularity. He assured me, however, that he was not kidding and it was difficult to keep up with demand since there was less of a supply of his records. This actually made me quite happy since I am such a fan and I like to think of everyone enjoying Sinatra’s music as much as I do. I would recommend this double album when you have a nice long Italian meal to make – perhaps when making a nice Sunday sauce or Bolognese.

Favorite Song: Summer Wind

The Beach Boys: Sounds of Summer

Ok, so I love the Beach Boys at any time – but I really enjoy listening to this album after we have spent a Sunday at the beach in Malibu and come home with sand still in our hair ready to cook an amazing dinner. While that typically happens more in the summer, here in Southern California it’s not that rare for this type of Sunday to happen in January so I love this Sounds of Summer album just as much in the wintertime. Naturally, I think that Pet Sounds is a genius album, but when I’m just having a fun Sunday this album has all of their beachy hits. I would suggest grilling out and making a fun and light meal to go along with this album.

Favorite Song: California Girls

Django Reinhardt: The Django Reinhardt Anthology

I was lucky to be introduced to Django Reinhardt by a friend a few years ago and I had the opportunity to go to a Django Reinhardt music festival here in L.A. Django Reinhardt is a French jazz guitarist that was popular in the 30s and 40s. His music just takes me to a different time and place and lets me pretend I am in Paris for a short while. Most of the songs on this anthology are instrumental only so it makes for the perfect music if you have friends over and there will be conversation that you do not want to break into song in the middle of. While naturally it would be ideal to make a lovely Parisian bistro-style meal while listening to this album, I’ve certainly appreciated it just as much while making a hamburger as when making coq au vin. It’s just a lovely album and it always puts a smile on my face when we start listening to it.

Favorite Song: All of Me

Wings: Band on the Run

So, this album has become a joke in my home since my husband wants to listen to it every single Sunday while we are cooking……. Now, don’t get me wrong – I enjoy this album immensely – I just have other albums that I want to listen to, as well (see above and below). I do agree that this album has a great one-two punch, starting with Band on the Run followed by Jet. Hearing those songs just feel like a Sunday to me so much that – if I hear either of them while I’m driving around town – I automatically get hungry for a good meal. I like to cook something fun and different while listening to this album. I enjoy experimenting with new recipes every week, so that’s probably why we listen to this so often.

Favorite Song: Jet

The Doors: Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mine

This is a fun double album that has so many great songs. I love listening to this on a Sunday when I just want to remind myself: I live in L.A. and I love it here! Also, this is great if you have spent a Sunday at Venice Beach, of course. I just imagine driving down the Sunset Strip while listening to this with the top down – it’s a whole mood. This album always gets me up and dancing as well, so this is a great one to dance around the kitchen to. I also like to dance out on my patio to this album, so it would pair nicely with a grilled meal so you can be productive at the grill while you are out there dancing.

Favorite Song: L.A. Woman

Nancy Wilson: Broadway – My Way / Hollywood - My Way

Ok, so – while I have multiple albums by all of the artists on this list – Nancy Wilson was the one that I had to choose two albums for because I couldn’t decide which one I loved more. Nancy Wilson is one of my favorite singers and I have loved her since childhood. Her voice is beautiful and she can put you in the best mood or bring you to tears through her songs. I am obsessed with both of these albums because the song selection on them includes all of my favorite songs from movies and Broadway. These are albums that I need to sing along to, so I don’t play them as much if there are many people coming over that I don’t wish to sing in front of! Both albums are pretty quick to listen to so I would recommend them for an easy meal to make, but that has a little bit of prep time so you can make sure to hear the whole thing. They are both just the best and I challenge you to tell me which one is better.

Favorite Song: I Believe in You (Broadway), The Days of Wine & Roses (Hollywood)


Beatles: The White Album

While we love everything by The Beatles in my home (even Maxwell’s Silver Hammer), we have definitely listened to The White Album the most. The White Album was my first entrée into more “grown-up” Beatles music (beyond I Wanna Hold Your Hand, which I love as well). It’s a double album and it’s the best to listen to when you have a nice long meal to make with lots of prep. The album really takes you on an adventure starting strong with Back in the USSR and then ending with the totally bizarre Revolution 9. It’s a wild ride that is meant to be appreciated while cooking. I’m sure that’s just how The Beatles intended it to be enjoyed.

Favorite Song: While My Guitar Gently Weeps

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