Have you read Leo Lionni’s “Frederick” for young readers? It is about a family of field mice that inhabits an ancient stone wall. Little Frederick rests on a rock and observes the wildflowers throughout the summer, while his siblings are busy preparing food for the winter. This naturally irritates everyone, until one bleak winter evening when Frederick brings back the summer warmth and brightness by delivering a poem about a field of crimson poppies surrounded by golden wheat.
When it was sunny in New York, I pondered Frederick. I gathered aromatic handfuls of peppermint and lemon verbena from the containers on my terrace, then laid them out to dry. Three days later, I stripped the papery leaves from the stalks and stuffed them into a jar of winter tea. I like knowing that when the cold weather arrives, I can soak these leaves to release a verbena-scented remembrance of the summer.
Yes! The contribution of poets to society is vital rodent, human or otherwise. Yes, you can find poetry in the herb tea you’ve dried yourself. This method also works with store-bought herbs, so give it a go.
Now, let’s select something to complement your tea. Perhaps some butter-slathered, flaky cranberry-orange scones? A piece of peanut butter fudge or a cake flavoured with lemon and spices? Simple shortbread drowned in minty tea has always been my fave.
You may want to have supper beforehand, and I recommend any of Eric Kim’s new boneless, skinless chicken thigh dishes from his column in The Times this week. There is one with parsley and lemon, one with sour apricots and carrots above, and one with sun-dried tomatoes and orzo. Next to chicken necks, chicken thighs are my second-favorite cut. Unlike turkey necks, though, chicken necks cannot be purchased separately.
Other suggestions for the weekday supper table: Kay Chun has a delectable recipe inspired by Spanish tortillas to which she adds leeks and bits of fish. I might combine it with corn in cream sauce. Ali Slagle’s version may be prepared using fresh, tinned, or frozen corn, and she purées a portion of the kernels to thicken the dish. Or, may I entice you with this comforting vegan bowl of creamy cauliflower soup topped with harissa-roasted tomatoes? Choices!
A subscription is required to get the recipes. Subscribing enables us to continue providing you with hundreds of new recipes every week, in addition to the millions that are currently accessible. We’re also on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, where Zainab Shah cooked a cashew-butter-thickened one-pan mattar paneer that looked delicious. It is a dish that she modified from a WhatsApp conversation with her mother and aunt.
Robert Burns unintentionally drove over a mouse nest and penned a poem about it in the fall of 1785, when “grim Winter” was quickly approaching. This is where the phrase “the best-laid plans of mice and men” from, which is an apt motto for a home chef.
And speaking of all things Scottish, today is World Porridge Day, which means the Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship is underway. How will you be celebrating? For me, this is the ideal opportunity to revisit one of the greatest no-recipe meals, “How to Eat Oatmeal”. I initially saw it on the defunct site Textism in 2001, but fortunately, this gentleman has quoted it in its entirety.
Now I may once again wonder “how many lives are deserving of your porridge this morning.” Goodbye till Wednesday.