Good morning. Time was, Sundays were so different from the other days: long and relaxed and contemplative, a chance to recuperate from the toil of the week, hopefully in the kitchen. I’d make like Marcella Hazan and simmer a Bolognese for the better part of an afternoon, make yogurt for the week to come, roast a chicken or a turkey breast for sandwiches, bake a visiting cake to take to co-workers on Monday morning.
Maybe I’d prepare meals for the freezer: a black bean soup, some scallion meatballs, a few balls of pizza dough. I’d definitely go shopping and lay in supplies for the days ahead, like the killer commodity croissants my supermarket bakes, a bag or two of frozen Korean dumplings, milk and cheese and butter, leafy vegetables, root vegetables, another box of peeled garlic because I go through so much of it.
But Sundays don’t always hit like that now. And maybe that’s all right. Maybe what’s most interesting about cooking in the time of the coronavirus is that many of us are doing so much more of it, even if we take the occasional bet on a restaurant, even if sometimes we eat dinner made by friends. We’re discovering new recipes. We’re getting good at making them. The vibe is different. The joys may be similar, though, however sneakily they arrive.
Take, for example, Melissa Clark’s new recipe for pepperoni pasta with lemon and garlic (above), a take on aglio e olio, which comes together in just about the same amount of time that it takes to boil the pasta (like Melissa, I prefer large shells). It’s a classic weeknight dish, but it’s fantastic to make on a Sunday if you’ve spent the day outside walking a beach, for instance, or five miles of sidewalk, a land-trust forest or the Painted Hills outside of Tucson.
Roasted winter squash with seared cod for dinner on Tuesday? You could swap sweet potato in for the squash, if you like.
I like the idea of sesame tofu with coconut-lime dressing and spinach for Wednesday, but I’d be completely understanding if you’d prefer to order a pizza. Make a salad to go with it, and pile the greens on top of the pie. That’s a good hack.
Pasta again on Thursday with sausage, squash and sage brown butter. (Omit the sausage if you like, or the squash.)
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Now, there’s no recipe to it, and no food angle save the octopus in its garden near a cave, but the Beatles’s “Abbey Road” was released in Britain on this day in 1969. And here’s “Octopus’s Garden” now, remastered in 2009.
In case you missed it, here’s a must read from The Times: Kim Severson on the hilarious, profane and wise food historian Leni Sorensen.
It’s interesting to see how Sally Rooney’s latest lands with the British. Here’s Christian Lorentzen’s review of “Beautiful World, Where Are You,” in The London Review of Books.
Finally, Sasha Frere-Jones turned me on to this L’Rain show on KEXP earlier this summer. It’s a fine soundtrack for messing around in the kitchen, trying to get your head straight. I’ll be back on Monday.