By Sam Sifton
Good morning. Time has been passing in the most extraordinary ways since the pandemic retired my commute in March. The days ran together until they were all one endless Wednesday, or Monday, never a weekend, which would then arrive like an occasional gift, only to disappear in what seemed like seconds. And now, suddenly, it’s November? Time to talk about Thanksgiving. I’ve avoided it long enough.
Do you have a plan? I have worries, myself. My guest list routinely tops 20 and often rises by a dozen in the final days before the holiday. Those who come are family, genetic and chosen. It’s dizzying to imagine turning anyone away. I’m thinking of an outdoor gathering for those who can make it, a smaller celebration, some oysters and wine somewhere in the cold, followed by, what — a wave goodbye as people I’ve been serving for years trudge off to roast a turkey for the first time in their adult lives? Oh, man. For empaths who have long played host to crowded Thanksgiving dinners, the 2020 feast is going to be difficult. For those out of work, for those who’ve lost friends and relatives to the pandemic, it will be even harder.
NYT Cooking is here to help, however we can. If you’ve never cooked the meal, we’ve got an extensive guide to planning and executing Thanksgiving with aplomb. If you want to make like Melissa Clark, you can learn all her Thanksgiving tricks. (One time, the two of us conspired to cook the whole meal in a day in a single oven cranked to 400 degrees.)
Desire side dish inspiration? Need ideas for a smaller Thanksgiving? We’ll be here for you all month, all the way through to the moment when you have leftovers to spare.
Now, to the week that looms ahead of us. I like the looks of this winter squash and wild mushroom curry (above) for dinner tonight, and this homemade Hamburger Helper situation for Monday.
On Tuesday night, maybe one of these excellent tomato soups? I like mine with a grilled cheese sandwich, always. It’s comfort on a night that may require some, however you vote.
For Wednesday’s repast, how about pork chops in cherry-pepper sauce?
Thursday could be really nice for this amazing rendition of shrimp and grits that Julia Reed found at a restaurant in landlocked Sewanee, Tenn.
And then, I’m thinking, a roast chicken for Friday dinner, with a country salad. You can watch Erin Jeanne McDowell make apple pies 10 different ways afterward and get excited to do the same on the weekend.
Thousands more recipes to cook this week are waiting for you on NYT Cooking. Go take a look at them and see what strikes your fancy. Save those recipes you like and rate the ones you’ve made. You can leave notes on recipes, too, if you’d like to, either for yourself or to alert your fellow subscribers to your hacks and substitutions.
(Yes, you do need a subscription to access all that. Subscriptions support our work. Subscriptions allow that work to continue. If you haven’t already, I hope you will think about subscribing today.)
And we will, in turn, remain standing by to help if anything should go wrong along the way. Just write [email protected]. Someone will get back to you.
Now, it’s nothing to do with tom turkeys or cranberry sauce, but I love this collection of soundscapes readers of The Times shared with our At Home desk. It’s sweet and affecting.
I think you should take a look at the relaunched website of The New York Review of Books and use it to explore the publication’s archives. Why, here’s Renata Adler on Pauline Kael, from 1980!
For Vanity Fair, Vanessa Grigoriadis wrote about the tragedy of Jennifer Farber, a suburban mom who was, of course, much more than that, and who disappeared in 2019.
Finally, Toshinori Kondo, an improvisational trumpeter who loomed large in the world of experimental and ambient music, died last month at 71. Nate Chinen had an obituary on NPR. Here’s Kondo in 1996, with DJ Krush: “Ki Oku.” I’ll be back on Monday.
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