Good morning. I caught a fat porgy on a home-tied fly the other day, a blind cast into clear ocean water, streaming past boulders on an outgoing tide. It wasn’t the striped bass I was looking for, but I thought it might be good for a few tacos for dinner and that hauled me out of the rut I’ve found myself in these last few weeks. It’s been freestyle mapo tofus with ground beef and chile crisp; skillet pastas with Italian sausages and plenty of kale; crema-marinated chicken grilled and doused in lime; repeat. It gets boring, frankly.
But then came Mr. Porgy and two successful repairs of the refrigerator, once with epoxy and once with machine screws. Everything’s cold. Everything’s copacetic. I feel renewed. I’m still working on the left front burner on the stove, which some people feel threatens the lives of the family. I’ll get it done, and I head into the weekend filled with promise not dread. There’s a lot I want to cook.
Spumoni ice cream cake (above), for instance, to remind me of L&B Spumoni Gardens in Brooklyn, where you can also get a righteous slice of square pizza. (I’ll sub in this pan pizza instead.) Also: the first grilled corn of the season; huli huli chicken; bread-and-butter pickles; watermelon chaat.
I’d like to make this rice salad with currants, almonds and pistachios, and this salmon with tomatoes in foil. Tejal Rao’s keema, please. Melissa Clark’s roasted radish crostini. Dorie Greenspan’s Roman breakfast cake. I’d like to make them all.
The idea’s just to discover, through your cooking, that there are pleasure centers in your brain that have yet to be activated, that can be activated even in the midst of the pandemic, that can bring you great joy at a time when it’s hard to be joyful, hard to think that joy is in any way an appropriate response to the world at hand. It is, though. It is human and healthy and right.
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Now, it’s a long, long way from baked feta and the cost of skirt steak, but if you like thrillers and noir, S.A. Cosby’s “Blacktop Wasteland” may be for you.
Margaret Lyons alerted me this week that “David Makes Man,” the playwright and screenwriter Tarell Alvin McCraney’s first television series, is now streaming on HBO Max. You should watch or rewatch that, this weekend.
Finally, to play us off, the invaluable Dust-to-Digital introduced me to the Tielman Brothers, a family band from Kupang, Indonesia. They moved to the Netherlands in 1957 and in 1959 recorded what’s thought to be the first Dutch rock record, “Rollin’ Rock.” Here they are performing that song in 1960. It’s wild. See you on Sunday.