Good morning. “People generally were awake — wide awake, in fact — very early yesterday,” The Times reported on the day after the presidential election of 1860, “for they knew they had a duty to perform which could not occur but once in four years, and in the actual shape it assumed, perhaps not more than once in a lifetime. And whether they were Republicans or Fusionists, they went to work with a will.”
And so it was again yesterday, at least for those who had not voted early: Americans exercised their prerogative as independent citizens, and made their voices known. The counting continues. A long night stretches on.
Still, I’m thankful for Melissa Clark’s new recipe for beef stew (above), which as good as it might be on the election night it was made, is all the better the next evening, as the flavors cure. You might try it yourself, food for comfort in coming days.
Also for Pati Jinich’s ace reporting on the true history of nachos, and her recipes for original nachos, hearty bean nachos with spicy salsa, and bricklayer-style nachos as well. She has compelling arguments for making your own tortilla chips, generally sturdier than the store-bought version (which comes in handy with the bricklayer nachos for sure), and your own pickled jalapeños to boot.
Mix and match at will, no-recipe recipe style. The other night, I braised some pork shoulder in lime juice with cumin, then diced it all up fine and crisped it in duck fat for impromptu carnitas. That, on some of Pati’s original nachos, with the pickled jalapeños? Oh, yes.
Looking beyond stew and nachos, this could be a good week for a comforting bowl of butternut squash pasta with bacon and Parmesan. Likewise for chicken marsala and mushrooms, for a spinach and feta borek, for kale soup with potatoes and sausage. Not to mention these German chocolate cookies. A skillet vegetarian chili with eggs and Cheddar? Yes, please, that too.
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Thanks to the essential S/FJ, I started hanging out on this amazing site, Astronaut, that allows you to travel the world through clips of YouTube videos that virtually no one has seen. It’s strangely moving.
Finally, in case you missed it, do read Jesse Green in The Times, on Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim and Jerome Robbins trying to come up with a show after “West Side Story.” They thought adapting one of Brecht’s teaching plays might work. Blecht. It never opened. Great story. I’ll be back on Friday.