You Deserve a Good Lunch

By Sam Sifton

Good morning. Here we go again with the screens and the earphones, another day on the uncomfortable chair, the dog at my feet. The commute wasn’t bad, though, and there was a beautiful, orange-yolked egg for breakfast, nestled in a piece of toast — what some call a Guy Kibbee, after the actor, who made the dish in a film — and a tall glass of cold-brewed coffee to go with it. Pretty grand.

There was the pizza I made yesterday to remember as well, and the grilled lamb from the night before, a boneless leg rubbed in garlic, ginger, oil and Jamaican curry powder, with roasted onions and potatoes. I served it with a sauce of yogurt and lime. There were sourdough waffles to start the day and tuna sandwiches for lunch, a few hours of everyone reading novels in separate corners before a long solitary walk in the gloaming, accompanied by gloved waves across generally empty streets.

This is bad what we’re going through. Cooking good food with what you’ve got in your pantry and freezer can make a difference, I think. The nourishment’s for your mood as much as for your body. So for lunch today, maybe you could log off for a half-hour, make Melissa Clark’s turkey and apple sandwiches with maple mayonnaise, or Nigella Lawson’s easy pea soup (above)? Those spark joy.

Or have you tried Jacques Pépin’s omelet? (Just watching him cook the thing, in the video accompanying the recipe, is a therapeutic affair.) You could always fish out some peanut butter and a few slices of bread, and make merry with the condiments in your fridge.

A dinner idea: sheet-pan sausage with garlicky broccoli, perhaps? Or a soupy Japanese rice bowl with chicken and egg? Some vegetarian mushroom shawarma? Cannellini bean pasta with beurre blanc? If there happens to be a jar of salmon roe in the back of a cupboard (you lucky thing!), try using it to top these baked potatoes from Melissa Clark. Yogurt or sour cream will do in place of the crème fraîche. You might even try it with tinned sardines. That’s an elegant feed.

Hundreds and hundreds more recipes to use and adapt are waiting for you on NYT Cooking. A lot more of them than usual are free to read even if you haven’t yet subscribed. (Of course, we’d be happy if you did subscribe, because that supports our work and allows it to continue.)

There are other ideas for what to cook on our Instagram feed and on our YouTube channel. We’ve also rounded up a collection of our reporters and editors’ favorite cookbooks for fast and easy meals. There’s news to read on our Twitter account. Readers are chatting with us and you on our community group on Facebook, if you’d care to join. Check those out. And, if something should go wrong along the way, with your cooking or our technology, you can always reach us directly at [email protected]. Someone will get back to you.

Now, it’s a long canter down the field from braised beans and nut milks, but the London Review of Books has put together a “Diverted Traffic” collection from its archives, of journalism “chosen for its compulsive, immersive and escapist qualities, and also for its total lack of references to plague, pandemics or quarantine.” There’s a lot of good in there. Start, perhaps, with Alan Bennett on Dorothy Farnan’s “Auden in Love,” from 1985.

“Portrait of a Lady on Fire” is on Hulu now, and our A.O. Scott called it “smart and sensuous” so you really ought to watch it. (Me, I’m spending a lot of time watching Jonny King tie flies on YouTube.)

I circled back to John Burdett’s first Sonchai Jitpleecheep novel, “Bangkok 8,” the other day. It’s a startling good piece of writing, thrilling in the extreme.

Finally, let’s have a song. Here’s Merle Haggard, “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink.” I’ll be back on Wednesday.

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