Cook Like It’s Still Summer

Good morning. It’s dark when I get up now and trudge toward the ferry, the scooter, the bus or the bicycle, and it’s dark again when I leave work for home. The season’s not quite right, but I long for caramelized citrus over yogurt after dinner, a reminder of summer or at any rate the weekend, when I can be an adult outdoors in the sun.

Same vibe for the dinner itself: Spicy rice noodles with crisp tofu and spinach (above). Same vibe for breakfast tomorrow morning, to eat before dawn: Avocado toast. Same deal for lunch, as well: Root out one of the last good tomatoes of the year and make sandwiches in the style of Melissa Clark.

Thus fortified we can welcome fall and its squashes, its stews and soups. I want to make pressure-cooker beef pho later this week, for instance, eat it with mountains of cilantro and mint. And because but not just because I have lobster stock in the freezer, I want to make a big tub of clam chowder as well.

Also three-cup chicken. And spicy-crisp cauliflower steaks. And, of course, from Alison Roman: #thestew.

What I want most of all to do is cook. That’s not always easy, as autumn picks up its pace. There are dinners out with clients to get in the way, desk dinners at work because there are deadlines looming, dinners missed on account of sports practice, on account of games. You go see that play, that ballet, that show? Botched commutes get in the way. So do book parties; parents nights; co-op meetings; overtime in advance of end-of-year needs for cash.

Try to cook anyway. Even if you’re just whizzing up some frozen chunked mango with a few bananas and a splash of orange juice for a breakfast drink. Even if all you can manage for dinner is doctored-up instant ramen. It’s still cooking. It still keeps you on the board.

Thousands and thousands more ideas for what to cook today and later this week are waiting for you on NYT Cooking. (You should definitely think about making this spicy Korean chicken stew.) You do, though, need a subscription to access them. I hope you’ll buy one if you haven’t already, and not only because I think you’ll like it so much. Selfishly, I want to keep doing this. (Shamelessly, I want you to buy someone a gift subscription as well.)

You can also find inspiration on our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube accounts. And you can reach out to us directly if you have questions about your work in the kitchen or our work in the kitchen, or our work at our desks. We’re at [email protected] We will get back to you. (If we don’t? Yell at me: [email protected])

Now, it’s got nothing at all to do with food except that some people used to hunt to fill their freezers and I want to close on that subject today. You should read this Charles Dodd White essay in The Bitter Southerner about why he doesn’t hunt any more.

It’s the hunters, he writes:

They’ve committed themselves to this burlesque of masculinity that has become the new standard of the Southern man out in the woods. They’ve forgotten what it means to experience the particular beauty of the wilderness. They don’t go out there to embrace solitude and time. They go out there to pull a trigger, and they have no qualms about advertising the fact. This desire to show off, to practice vain machismo, it changes everything. The act of hunting becomes mere background to the desire to offend. It is cultural theater, and it measures its effectiveness in terms of its ability to provoke an emotional response, not understanding. It wants to paint blood everywhere it can.

Powerful stuff. Consider it, cook something, and I’ll be back on Wednesday.

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