March 1, 2024


Welcome to the Food

What to Cook Right Now

Good morning. Genevieve Ko has a lovely column in The Times about the joys of — really the importance of — embracing imperfections in our cooking and about how, as Genevieve wrote, “mistakes can lead to something surprising and possibly even better.” That’s a lesson she learned from the celebrated food photographer Romulo Yanes, who died in June, and who taught her this fine technique for poaching eggs (above), marvelously imperfect and made in bulk, so a whole group of people can enjoy them at once.

I hope you’ll give that recipe a try this week, for a morning feed or to adorn a dinnertime country salad.

But that’s not all I hope you cook! This is a strange moment in the year, caught in the pause between big holidays. It’s a caesura I think we should fill with deliciousness. Maybe beef Stroganoff, followed by chocolate kolbasa, Russian no-bake fudge cookies, for dessert? Or one-pot Japanese curry chicken and rice? White borscht? Kalpudding? A Roman breakfast cake? Follow your bliss.

And do take some time to plan your celebrations for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day (safely, please, with the omicron variant surging!), so you’re not stuck staring into the refrigerator on Friday night, waiting on the muse. We’ve got loads of ideas for both days, but what I’d like to do for the Eve is make a roast suckling pig if I can find one, and a bo ssam if I cannot, with a flaming baba au rhum for dessert regardless. And then to be in bed by 10 p.m.

And for the first day of 2022? Supercrisp pancakes to start, please, with bacon and a sliced orange, to be followed by a long nap and a caviar sandwich for early dinner. The Rose Bowl’s at 5 p.m. Eastern time, Ohio State vs. Utah, and I hope the Utes beat the spread. (I’m buying caviar, after all.) But you do you.

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And as ever, you can write for help if you run into trouble in your kitchen or with our code. We’re at [email protected] and someone will get back to you, I promise. (Hold me to that: I’m at [email protected], and I read every letter sent.)

Now, it’s nothing to do with rutabagas or cloudberries, but I liked Dan Sinker in The Atlantic, on the magic of Pee-wee Herman. “What are my desperate late-night scans through Zillow but a search for wonder?” he wrote. “What is flicking through TikTok’s endless scroll but a hunt for the tiniest nugget of surprise? I’m desperate to find awe in today’s monotony. I’m desperate to revisit the Playhouse.” Me, too.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t follow @nytcooking on TikTok!

I’ve spent a lot of time drifting the rips off the Orient Point Lighthouse at the eastern end of Long Island’s North Fork. Wendy Goodman got inside the structure for Curbed, and it’s a delight. (I remain a little suspicious that it was actually beluga whales an artist saw out there one moonlit night, since Long Island Sound is not exactly where belugas hang out. But it’s happened before!)

Finally, here’s new music to play us off: Urge Overkill, “How Sweet the Light.” Cook with that tonight, and I’ll be back on Wednesday.