I play music to set the mood of my cooking and to entertain my guests, and perhaps mostly as a soundtrack for my prep work, stove work, and clean-as-you-go control freakiness. These are montage-sequence songs. This is music to roast by.

Sam Sifton, the food editor of The New York Times and founding editor of NYT Cooking, is the author of See You on Sunday: A Cookbook for Family and Friends