How to Feel Better - The New York Times

Good morning. The organizational psychologist Adam Grant wrote a fascinating piece for The Times this week about languishing , which he...

Good morning. The organizational psychologist Adam Grant wrote a fascinating piece for The Times this week about languishing, which he calls the forgotten middle child of mental health: a state of void that isn’t burnout, nor depression, but a kind of joyless aimlessness. He thinks it might be the dominant emotion of 2021.

Languishing is a tough condition to combat, Grant says. It leaves us indifferent to our indifference. But once we know it’s there, it is possible, he argues, to drive it away and to march ourselves back toward flourishing healthiness. How? Give yourself some uninterrupted time and focus on a small goal, he says, and take on “a challenge that stretches your skills and heightens your resolve.”

Grant doesn’t mention cooking, but it’s what immediately jumped into my head. Taking an hour or so each day to concentrate on a new recipe or to revisit a favorite one is a terrific way to do the opposite of languishing, to make something delicious where before there were only ingredients, and then to delight in its consumption and, perhaps, the conversation that arises from that.

Even if you’re not languishing, this pan-seared asparagus with crispy garlic (above) may bring joy to your dinner table, as a partner to chicken scallopine and a pile of rice. The same is true of this brothy one-pot concoction of cod in clam broth with couscous, peas and mushrooms, to which some subscribers have been adding miso or dashi, to excellent effect.

Or you could cook off my simple prompt, what we call a no-recipe recipe, and riff your way to dinner, the culinary equivalent of playing Spelling Bee.

So, maybe: a kind of Eastertime stir-fry of onion, shredded cabbage, apples and ham? It’s pretty simple, a hack of an old Nigel Slater recipe someone once sent me: Melt some butter in a large pan, and sweat the onions in it, with a clove or two of garlic, if you have any. Add the cabbage and a healthy splash of white wine vinegar, then cook that down until everything’s soft. Cut an apple into the mix and toss the slices until they start to take on color, then add some ribboned deli ham and let it all heat through. (No ham? Make some bacon while you’re sweating the onions, and use that in its place. Or omit entirely!) You could make a kind of mustard sauce to serve with it, or just put a couple of dabs of Dijon on top at the end. Or a spray of balsamic vinegar? It’s your dinner. Make it how you like.

Alternatively, how about this roasted salmon with asparagus, lemon and brown butter? Or this hoisin-glazed pork bowl with vegetables? The pork tenderloin’s marinated in a salty-sweet-spicy sauce, seared and then roasted with the reserved marinade in the oven to stay juicy. It’s awesome.

Many thousands of recipes to consider are waiting for you on New York Times Cooking. (Here are recipes for preparing for and breaking the Ramadan fast. Here are our 10 most popular recipes right now. Here’s a recipe for a baked potato with crab, jalapeño and mint. We’ve got a lot of recipes.) Subscribe today to access them all, and to use all the features on our site and apps, including our valuable guides to basic cooking skills (here’s how to make soup and how to make ingredient substitutions). Your subscriptions support our work. They allow us to continue doing it.

We will be here for you if anything goes sideways in your cooking or with our technology. Just write us at and someone will get back to you, I promise.

Now, it’s nothing to do with sorghum or flax seed, but the Seattle World’s Fair opened on this day in 1962, and that provides a good excuse to tell you to read “Truth Like the Sun,” Jim Lynch’s excellent politics-and-newspapers novel set in Seattle in that year.

I’ve been enjoying “Bloodlands,” a BBC police procedural set in Northern Ireland, on Acorn.

The New York Review of Books recently reposted Lillian Hellman’s 1965 memoir about Dashiell Hammett, and that’s worth reading.

As is Kristen Gallagher’s “This May Go Back Centuries,” short fiction in The Baffler.

Finally, here’s Lucy Dacus, “Hot & Heavy,” live on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.” Enjoy that and I’ll be back on Friday.

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Newsrust - US Top News: How to Feel Better - The New York Times
How to Feel Better - The New York Times
Newsrust - US Top News
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