Good morning. Robert Farrar Capon was a theologian, author and cook, probably best known for his book, “The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection.” He died in 2013, at 87. His recipe for sour cream coffee cake lives on at NYT Cooking, though, where it has more than 2,700 five-star ratings. (Less well-known, but perhaps equally awesome, is his recipe for old man’s hash, essentially an onion, egg and anchovy salad, served warm.)
I bring Capon up today not for his recipes, but for something he wrote in “The Supper of the Lamb”: “Paradox is the only basket large enough to hold truth.” That’s what makes it possible for us, I think, to revel in deliciousness, to champion pleasure, even when the world outside is dark. There is truth in a warm apple pie eaten while reading something dispiriting in the newspaper, truth in lasagna made and consumed at the end of a not good, very bad day. Paradox allows for it. Good cooking proves it plain.
I’ll give you an example, particularly if you’re feeling blue: the berry jam fried chicken (above) and spicy scallion cornmeal waffles that Nicole Taylor brought to The Times at the end of her story last week about how historically Black colleges and universities are adapting their homecoming brunch festivities to the pandemic age. That’s a meal to deliver laughter and togetherness, whatever mood you were in before it was made.
Here are some others. I like this skillet spanakopita on a weeknight, and this pressure cooker pot roast, too. Baked fish and chips are a delight as well, and particularly so when there are monster cookies for dessert. Pressed for time? Quick chicken and dumplings is a substantial soup, and comforting.
Chile-oil noodles with cilantro! Kale and quinoa salad with tofu and miso! Pork cutlets with lemon and capers! All my friends.
Thousands and thousands more recipes to help you explore the paradox of life right now are waiting for you on NYT Cooking. Go take a look at them and see what piques your interest. Then save the recipes you like. Rate the ones you’ve cooked. And leave notes on them, if you have any, either for yourself or for the benefit of your fellow subscribers. (Yes, you need to be a subscriber. Subscriptions are the gas for our stoves. If you haven’t taken one out already, I hope you will think about subscribing today.)
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Now, it’s nothing to do with fresh fish or preserved lemons, but you’ve got got got to read Wesley Morris on his quarantine mustache, which is of course about a lot more than his mustache.
If you didn’t screen it this weekend, or see it on Broadway when we could do such things, you need to watch David Byrne’s “American Utopia” tonight, on HBO.