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What to Cook This Week

Good morning. My friend Ashley Merriman fashioned a Ping-Pong table out of her dining room table recently, because, as her wife, Gabrielle Hamilton, wrote for The Times this week, they had to close their restaurant, they’re both out of work and renting movies for the family at $4.99 a throw seemed irresponsible. Then Gabrielle went out and spent $56 on a pound of fresh crab meat, to make crab toast (above).

Gabrielle: “Maybe it was a fit of optimism, but more likely a belligerent, hissy-fit rejection of chickpeas on yet another unbearable day. I laid a bottle of Bisson rosé in the fridge, browned some butter and piled a whole pound of jumbo lump crab meat — that fresh, sweet, saline manna of the sea gods — onto slices of nutty, lemony, brown-butter toast, and boiled an entire bunch of asparagus to accompany it. We ate the light spring supper of our freaking dreams.”

That tracks. It’s not savvy financial stewardship, no doubt. But there comes a time when you’ve been cooped up so long (maybe that time has come already for you, maybe it’s going to come in an hour) when it suddenly seems as if the best thing you can do for yourself and those around you is to splurge even though you’re broke or worried about becoming broke. It needn’t be a pound of crab meat. It might be a bar of chocolate, a pizza ordered for curbside pickup, that bottle of wine you’ve saved for years, a box of Cap’n Crunch. The extravagance, however small, sends a message: We’re good here.

At least that’s what I’m telling myself about the six ounces of pea shoots I bought for $8! You can say the same about whatever it is you can buy and consume that helps take your mind off the relentless march of beans and pasta. It’s all right. Sometimes irresponsibility is the most responsible course of action.

Recipes to cook this week, maybe: Cauliflower Parmesan on a Monday night, with leftovers to fold into ersatz subs or grinders the next day.

There are hundreds and hundreds more recipes for you to use this week on NYT Cooking. Many more than usual are free for the taking even if you’re not yet a subscriber to our site and apps. (It’d be great if you decided to subscribe, of course, in order to support our work.)

You can visit us on Instagram as well, and on Facebook, where we maintain an active community group that you really ought to join, if you like what we’re doing here. We are on YouTube and Twitter, too. And you can, of course, write for help if anything goes wrong along the way, either with your cooking or our technology. We’re at cookingcare@nytimes.com. Someone will get back to you.

Now, it’s closer to Ping-Pong than it is to macaroni Milanese, but I think you may find some distraction and good activities for the afternoon and in coming days on At Home, which collects our best suggestions for how to live a full and cultured life during the pandemic shutdowns.

My favorite book right now is The Audubon Bird Guide. (It’s a great site, but I’m working with a 1949 hardcover of “Eastern Land Birds” as well.) You start looking, you’ll see: There are a lot of birds outside the window.

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