Good morning. It’s funny, the kitchen rhythms I’ve fallen into during the pandemic, and the dishes I’ll forever associate with this time. So many seafood pancakes. So many ham and Swiss sandwiches. So much hollandaise sauce — with scallops and bo ssam, no less. All those bricks of tofu cubed and fried or planked and baked. A year ago, I barely ever cooked tofu at all.
I’ll think of the morning bowls of plain yogurt, into which I diced oranges, or stirred a spoonful of strawberry preserves. I’ll think of the strong tea I drink with milk, in place of the coffee with half-and-half I used to drink, before the pandemic, when I could drink coffee without it leaving me vibrating, tense, on the edge of something bad.
I’ll think about lemons and capers: on pork chops, in salad dressings, with cutlets, on fish. About the chocolate chip cookies one of my children made again and again, always with different recipes, always delicious. And about how, again and again, I made linguine with clams.
We are, many of us, cooking so much more than ever we did before, when it was possible to blow off making something for dinner because you could just as easily and maybe near as cheaply go to a restaurant or bar. It’s changing how we eat, what we eat — and how we think about food.
The pandemic’s been a nightmare, of course. But if you’re looking for glimmers of grace and goodness amid it, start in the kitchen. Just stand there a moment and think through all you’ve made thus far, and under what stresses — physical, mental, financial — and how good those meals have been, and what pleasures they’ve brought you and, if you’re lucky, others as well.
Then cook! Finding new recipes is one of our rare joys these days. Perhaps you’ll remember the pandemic for the French aligot you whipped into dinner one night in December, or for the Israeli pastel Melissa Clark learned from the Philadelphia chef Michael Solomonov. Maybe you discovered buttermilk marble cake (above). Or a love for seitan piccata. Or Baku fish kebabs.
Thousands and thousands more recipes to etch into memory are waiting for you on NYT Cooking. Go look among them and see what strikes your fancy. Save the recipes you want to cook. Rate the ones you’ve made. And leave notes on them, if you’d like to remind yourself of how you cooked something or spiced it differently, or to tell the world of your fellow subscribers about it.
Because you do need to be a subscriber. Subscriptions support the work of everyone involved in the production of NYT Cooking. Subscriptions allow that work to continue. Please, if you haven’t already, I hope you will subscribe to NYT Cooking today.
And we will, meanwhile, be available to you, should you run into trouble with your cooking or our technology. Just write: [email protected] Someone will get back to you, I promise. (Or yell at me: [email protected] I read every letter sent.)
Now, it’s nothing to do with good cheese or organic peas, but today is the Green Day drummer Tré Cool’s birthday. He’s 48. Here’s a compilation of his antic appearances on “The Late Show With David Letterman.” What’s best is how, year after year, Letterman just calls him “the drummer.”
Speaking of drummers, have you heard of acoustic techno? Bass Tong is on it with his pipe drum, and thanks to Dust to Digital for introducing me to him.
Here’s an interesting story in Beside about the centuries-old relationship between Canada’s First Nations, salmon and grizzly bears.
Finally, here’s Joe Coscarelli’s latest “Diary of a Song,” about Prince’s “Sign o’ the Times,” and it’s just great. I’ll be back on Wednesday.
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