I’ve been doing the Daily Dinner Drill for more than 10 weeks now. My back-of-the-envelope calculations disclose that this is more suppers than I have put together in the previous decade.
On the one hand, our little family dinners have been a joyful and unexpected gift in an otherwise troubled and anxious time. So many nice things happen across the table when dinner is a regular thing that happens.
On the other hand, I am fresh out of ideas for dinner.
When I say “dinner,” I don’t mean a series of Instagrammable courses served on the good dishes with a freshly pressed tablecloth, a lush-and-low flower arrangement, and candles. Those days are gone—they were few and far between to begin with.
I mean something hot and tasty, or cold and tasty, in a bowl, preferably combining protein and vegetables. Extra points if it’s vegetarian, as my vegetarians are insistent about their vegetarianism, and another thing I’m not doing anymore is catering separately for meat-eaters and vegetarians. The meat eaters have to content themselves with the occasional hamburger or sausage on the side.
I have exhausted my repertoire. Everything on my beloved New York Times Cooking app is starting to taste the same. I’ve sheetpanned all the sheetpans and I’ve stewed all the stews. I have memorized Chili Con Jamie and adapted it to the constantly varying ingredients in my Chili Pantry (and it’s always good).
I’m guessing there are others out there like me. Let’s crowdsource this thing! People, please (please please I’m begging you), give me your best supper idea in the comments. It can be a link, it can be a short-form recipe—hell, it can be an ingredient. I don’t rule out that dinner menus later this summer will be one word, and that word will be corn or tomatoes. (On Sundays they might get corn AND tomatoes.)
I think many of us are going through this. Some are feeding the five thousand, others only have one person to feed in quarantine—themselves. We all need to eat, and right now we all need to cook.
Thanks in advance, from me and my hungry vegetarians.
P.S. As my own contribution to this project, here is a quick and stellar shortbread tart recipe that reader Jennifer shared with me a couple of weeks ago when I was the excited new owner of a kilo jar of Bonne Maman four red fruits preserves. I’ve now made it with the preserves and also with homemade lemon curd (hello Costco eggs and lemons, we cannot eat so many eggs and lemons), and it’s the perfect dessert. Rich and delicious, but of a size that there won’t be many (or any) leftovers hanging around the next day tempting you to eat them for breakfast. Thank you, Jennifer!