The cooking playlist, along with the process of cooking together, is a place of compromise.
We’ve developed a routine around it. He comes home a half-hour before I do, unless he has to grab ingredients from the Trader Joe’s by his office. (I work an hour and a half away from home in skyscraper hell. There aren’t any grocery stores for miles, presumably because every consultant-type that works in these parts doesn’t have to do it themselves.)
It’s a ritual, like my parents going to church every Sunday, or absentmindedly queueing up The Office reruns to eat dinner to. You do it out of habit; you do it because it’s the one constant in your life that you get to pretend is untethered from the world around you. You know what happens next. (You try not to think that Netflix is removing The Office next year, or that droughts caused by climate change are hiking up the prices of produce.)
He chops; I grab ingredients as we go along. Individually, we’re not the best cooks. He says he’s not very adventurous, but he knows how to chop an onion perfectly. I cut and measure everything close-ish enough to where it tastes fine, but I bookmark a dozen recipes a week just for kicks. It’s symbiotic.
He picks the music; I sneak in a song or two. I get to pick what we’re eating. I think I have the better end of the deal.