Sam Sifton emails readers of Cooking five days a week to talk about food and suggest recipes. That email also appears here. To receive it in your inbox, register here. Download the NYT Cooking app here.
Good morning. A few days ago, my colleagues Julia Moskin and Kim Severson delivered a bombshell accounting of the sexualized and abusive atmosphere at a glittery New York restaurant called The Spotted Pig, owned by the restaurateur Ken Friedman and the chef April Bloomfield. Ten women spoke to Julia and Kim about sexual harassment they experienced at the hands of Mr. Friedman, and about “the rape room” on the third floor of the restaurant where celebrity friends of Mr. Friedman’s also acted poorly. It was a dark and horrifying report, and in its wake, Mr. Friedman announced that he was taking an indefinite leave of absence from the restaurants he and Ms. Bloomfield run.
I bring that article up in this space — usually a respite from the grim tidings of the news cycle, a place to consider the delicious — because it underscores an important fact about the pursuit of recipes and joy. The search does not happen in a vacuum. Bad news and scary facts swirl around us even as we grow hungry, and even as we choose to make an Ethiopian-style spicy chicken for dinner instead of simply eating takeout protein while scrolling through our news feed, worrying about the future. That is more than right. That is as it should be. We feed ourselves well because good food makes things better, makes possible the belief that despite all, everything will be all right.
Bear that in mind this weekend, as Hanukkah continues and the Christmas holiday looms. The weather outside is frightful (here, anyway, dour and chill), and the news may be as bad, but there’s still the possibility of happiness around your dinner table, at least if you cook low and slow with one of our five-star recipes for chilly days, or see your way to baking a batch or two of thin-and-crisp chocolate chip cookies.
You could make spaghetti with sausage alla carbonara this weekend. You could make roast pork with milk. I like some smash burgers on a weekend evening, and sourdough waffles on the morning after, with warmed maple syrup and a dollop of thick plain yogurt.
This could be a good weekend to make Paula Wolfert’s recipe for roasted vegetables with garlic and herbs and, if you’re bold, to pair it with Julia’s recipe for roast chicken in a butter crust.