By Sam Sifton
Good morning. One thing I wish I’d done back at the start of all this — when the lockdown began and I began to cook three meals a day, seven days a week — is to have recorded the meals in a notebook, kept track of them. It’d be great to look back on the months of experimentation and freestyle cooking, on the dishes that became standbys, on the once-in-a-blue-moon extravagances, the triumphs, the failures. I think that could have been the sort of thing to preserve, a piece of personal history, something to help remind me of the joys and frustrations of this extraordinary and difficult time.
Instead, I’ve only got memories, fragmenting already. That time someone gave me part of a loin of tuna caught early that morning 50 miles offshore and we ate it on the stoop, with soy sauce to cut the fat. That night when we first double-fried tofu, to make the most amazing sandwiches. The pizza nights we had going for a couple of months, the red sauce studded with diced soppressata, and the brownies and visiting cakes (above) one of my kids made for dessert. I rediscovered tenderloins at one point, beef and pork alike. Salads, too: lemon-mustardy and assembled on the fly. The sandwiches at lunch, so much smaller than the deli hoagies I used to buy. That linguine with clam sauce I hacked, adding cream and Parmesan at the end.
These are good memories, but there are too few of them. I mourn the meals lost to the hurly-burly of time’s passing, the rhythm of them, the story they could have told my future self. And so I’m starting today, adding another notation to my daily record of meetings and interviews and reminders and hopes: what I cooked.
Maybe you’ve been doing this yourself already. Some have told us they have. “Someday I imagine having grandchildren,” one reader wrote my colleagues on At Home, “and I imagined them asking me, ‘Mimi’ (or whatever they might call me), ‘what did you do during the quarantine?’ And I thought there ought to be something better to say than, ‘Watched Netflix and ate popcorn.’ ”
She’s got a point. Won’t you join us?
Here’s what I’d like to add to my list this week: tagliatelle with prosciutto and butter; a mound of beef and broccoli; an evening feed of creamy blue cheese dip with walnuts. Eat that last for dinner with a glass of wine, and you can pretend you went to a cocktail party, missed dinner and still fed yourself passingly well.
Many thousands more recipes to consider waiting for you on NYT Cooking — recipes for the Instant Pot, recipes to warm your soul, recipes with apples in them. Go take a look and see what piques your interest. You can save the recipes you like. You can rate the ones you’ve cooked. And you can leave notes on them, as well, either for yourself or for the benefit of others who use the site and apps. (Yes, you need a subscription to do so. Subscriptions are the fuel for our stoves. Please consider, if you haven’t already, subscribing today.)
And we will, as always, be here to help if something goes wrong in your kitchen or with our technology. Write us: [email protected] and someone will get back to you.
Now, it’s many hours of sailing away from minestrone and five-spice powder, but you should still read Joe Coscarelli’s profile of America’s most popular music critic if you’re under 25.
There are not a lot of uses for Twitter if you’re not a denizen of the particular demimondes that use it, but James Caan’s account is one of them.
Carrie Wittmer in The Ringer, with a kind of scientific study of male movie stars and their sex scenes, is an object lesson in absolute commitment to the bit.
Finally, there’s a new Sufjan Stevens album, “The Ascension.” Let that be your soundtrack for cooking this week. See you on Wednesday.
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