By Sam Sifton
Good morning. How’s your breakfast game going? Once, when everyone went to offices and shops for work, there was bolted coffee and Advil, a muffin from the kindly man with the cart on the corner, the occasional croissant, a bacon-egg-and-cheese. No more. Now we’re at home, so many of us, and falling into ruts: the same-old buttered toast and jam; lumpy oatmeal; granola and soy milk; soft-poached egg with English muffin.
It’s time to fix that. It’s time to change that up. Take a look at our collection of fast breakfast recipes for inspiration, or slow things down and make your own yogurt. (It’s this year’s sourdough bread. It’s the new kombucha!) Consider a visit to an appetizing store, or the cold case of your supermarket: herring in cream sauce on pumpernickel makes a fine no-recipe breakfast repast; so, too, does smoked salmon and cream cheese on a toasted bagel.
You could bake scones to order, off a batch of frozen dough, as in Yewande Komolafe’s brandied fruit scones (above). Or make some corn muffin mix, as Julia Moskin once prescribed, so you can bake and griddle some morning soon, and see a start to the day that’s different from all the ones that have come before, that offers joy and promise alike.
The idea’s just to force a change, for the good of yourself and those around you. There’s a boredom to cooking during a pandemic, if you’re not careful. Seek inspiration so that you’re not taken hostage by it, please.
Same goes for dinner, of course, with its tofu roundelays, its roast-chicken blues. Thank goodness for Yotam Ottolenghi. Here’s his new recipe for fried tagliatelle with chickpeas and smoky tomatoes. I know one thing: You haven’t been eating that every Wednesday night since May.
Give thanks for Melissa Clark as well. Her black pepper chicken thighs with mango, rum and cashews can act like a tow truck, and get you out of the dinnertime ditch. (Also in that fleet: Her easiest lentil soup; her cheesy baked pasta with sausage and ricotta; her spicy turkey stir-fry with crisp garlic and ginger.) And naturally there should be dessert to follow, because you deserve a dessert in these trying times: Try her new recipe for old-fashioned butterscotch pudding.
Other things to cook this week, to break your patterns, to kindle delight: slow-cooker pot roast; spicy chorizo pasta; three-cup vegetables; an amazing ginger-stout cake.
Thousands and thousands more examples waiting for you on NYT Cooking. Go browse the recipes until you see something that delivers a dopamine hit. Save that recipe. And when you’ve made it, rate it. You can also leave notes on recipes, for yourself or others, if you’ve discovered a hack, made a successful substitution, or want to offer your fellow subscribers a tip.
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And please reach out to us if something goes wrong along the way, either in your kitchen or our code. We’re at firstname.lastname@example.org. Someone will get back to you, I promise.
Now, it’s nothing to do with brats or semolina, but I wrote recently about the “Ninas” hidden in Al Hirschfeld’s work for The Times. A kind reader sent along this delightful link to a collection of his drawings and “the national insanity” of looking for the names in his work.
Did you know that freestyle canoeing was a thing? I did not, and this 2007 performance on a pond in Ohio is amazing.
Tom Vanderbilt had a nice bit in The Guardian the other day on the joys of being an adult beginner. Maybe you should take up bridge, or welding, or learn to code?
Finally, a regret. I had a bad typo in Monday’s newsletter, and wrote that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would have been 82 this year. Born in 1929, he would have been 92. Apologies. I’ll be back on Friday.
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