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What to Cook This Weekend


Good morning. I’d like to eat croissants this weekend, slather them with strawberry jam in my imaginary hotel room overlooking Sydney Harbor in Australia before heading north along the shoreline to walk the wind-swept beaches: Bilgola, Avalon, Whale, Palm. I’d like to return in the afternoon, then have a drink at the imaginary hotel, sitting at the bar, with strangers, before heading over to the Star for dinner at the actual Momofuku Seiobo, last seat at the counter.

I’d like to have a crowded dim sum breakfast in New York City, and a pie at Totonno’s for lunch. I’d like to come home to a new house in a new city in a different state with a bucket of fried chicken to eat with friends on a crowded porch with rattan rugs and hurricane lanterns. I’d like so many things, brought without question, as Graham Parker wrote.

But that’s not going to happen, not any time soon. So I’ll turn to the kitchen and cook. I might bake scones as if I were a happy poet in the Cotswolds with a cat and a book deal, or make clam fritters with canned clams to recall the joys of conch fritters in the Bahamas. I could blow the syrup reserve for a salted maple pie (above), put myself in a lodge house in southern Quebec, or grill a steak in the California style, imagine it a tri-tip and my family eating it on a cliff above Half Moon Bay.

Maybe you could do the same or similarly this weekend, using a recipe, a bunch of flavors or a style of cooking to take yourself away, to put yourself on a kind of vacation, and allow the eating to get you out of your head?

Do this even if you’re observing Ramadan this month. Change up your iftar game and your suhoor plans. This has been a long run of sameness many of us have experienced this past month or more, quarantined from the rest of the world. Bringing variety to the table is a way to remind us of the huge and beautiful expanse of experience available outside, even if we can’t really go there right now.

There are hundreds and hundreds more recipes for you to discover on NYT Cooking. Many more than usual are free for the cooking even if you don’t yet have a subscription to our site and apps. (We’d be very happy if you did become a subscriber, of course, to support our work.)

Now, here’s what I want you to do next. Read Gabrielle Hamilton’s essay in The New York Times Magazine. It’s about shuttering her restaurant, Prune, for who knows how long because of the coronavirus, and the toll that takes on a person, a business, a community, a family. You won’t be sorry.

It’s nothing to do with smoked almonds or canned peaches, but I think this weekend’s going to return me to the top of the Flashman Papers. And Jimi Hendrix acoustic is my soundtrack. (It’s funny. I have the same hat.)

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