Good morning. It just keeps getting worse, is what it seems like. Another morning, another newspaper filled with news of rage and hatred, violence and suffering. This may be a day of sadness for you, or a day of anger, of confusion, of resolve. You may thirst for more information. You may be numb.
Regardless, you should look today to others and see what you can do for them. Service is a way of propagating goodness in a world where goodness can appear to be in short supply. It is a way to make you feel better, too, for putting others in front of your grief or exhaustion. Itâs not hard. You could give someone a smile of understanding. And you could head to the kitchen to cook. It could be a pie or it could be a casserole. It neednât be. You could stir dried espresso into hot water, then top it with a teaspoon of sugar and a glug of half-and-half, serve it to a partner still in bed at noon, hiding from everything under a pillow, and achieve the same result. These are all gifts.
You could absolutely make pot roast, an adaptation of the silken version the Minneapolis chef Gavin Kaysen adapted from his grandmotherâs recipe. It is a home-cooked run at a restaurantâs interpretation of home-cooked family food, and that makes for great eating, the sort you might want to do over an ironed tablecloth, with your heaviest silverware. Formality is a legitimate response to Sunday dinner.
Or not. I like it just as well eaten at the kitchen counter, with these excellent biscuits to mop up the gravy.
And if you want to get serious-serious about it, this kitchen therapy? Knock out these chocolate-peppermint bars for dessert, and take the leftovers into work on Monday. No one will not thank you.
For dinner on the first night of the work week: curry with winter squash and wild mushrooms, over jasmine rice. Itâd be nice to have that with the naan that the British cookbook author Meera Sodha taught us to make. Itâd be nice to have it with mango chutney as well. Those last may not happen on a Monday night. And thatâs fine. Itâs a really good curry served plain.
Dinner on Tuesday: braised chicken with gochujang, which I like served with the shaped Korean rice cakes called tteok, for the way they soak up the sauce. But a mound of steamed white rice would be fine as well.
Wednesday night is Halloween, and Iâll dress up as Craig Claiborne in apron and half-glasses to hand out Snickers bars and Hershey kisses to the local ghouls, then make his billi bi, a rich, luxurious mussel soup, for a late dinner. Whatever you make, eat it while watching this remarkable âDick Cavett Showâ from 1970, with guests Paul Simon, Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford and Marcel Marceau.
Back to the modern world on Thursday: roasted sweet potatoes with smoked paprika. I like that recipe with salted roasted peanuts for protein and crunch, and dabs of thick Greek yogurt for luxury.
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Now, itâs not artisanal pork or small-batch bourbon, but you should absolutely avail yourself of this weekâs cornucopia of candy-themed stories in The New York Times Magazine. Start with Tejal Raoâs look at the gigantic universe of Kit Kats in Japan.
Read this depressing, beautiful, haunting story about âecological griefâ among the Inuit people of Labrador, whose lives are changing as quickly as the climate, in The Globe and Mail.
Finally, from South Africa, hereâs the Ndlovu Youth Choir and the flautist Wouter Kellerman teaming up for a Zulu cover of Ed Sheeranâs âShape of You.â There is joy in the world. Remember that today.