Good morning. Is there an American cuisine? My friend Ned says there is: It’s the food Americans eat. That’s kung pao chicken and spaghetti with meat sauce. It’s fried chicken, cheese enchiladas, latkes and blueberry muffins.
We forage for deliciousness. We celebrate what we find and make it our own. So: oxtail and butter beans. Roman breakfast cake. Kimchi grilled cheese.
And this weekend, maybe some hummus and baba ghanouj, served alongside a grilled boneless leg of lamb, with pita, pickles, olives and a salad of diced tomatoes, cucumber and onion dressed with lemon and olive oil. That’s one of my favorite springtime meals.
It could be yours, too, and I hope you make it this weekend. (Let me know!) Me, I’ll be on the highway, shuttling a child home from college, nine hours each way, with only stops at Primanti Bros. to sustain me. Fries in a sandwich? That’s very American, too.
What I’ll be thinking about as I digest those sandwiches: all the asparagus I’ll cook when I get out of the car and back into the kitchen. Yotam Ottolenghi has an ace new recipe for a coconut, asparagus and green bean salad and Melissa Clark has three: an asparagus pasta with feta; a very green asparagus, spinach and leek soup; and an asparagus mushroom grain bowl (above).
Of course, I could go old school and simply steam some stalks and dress them with hollandaise sauce. I could grill them and make Yotam’s caper salsa to stipple the pile. Melissa’s classic polenta with asparagus, peas and mint? Any of those would work. I can’t wait.
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Now, it has nothing to do with hamburger meat or dried tofu skins, but you really ought to take a few minutes to read this short, miasmic, untitled tone poem by Peter Orner in The Baffler.
An excerpt from my old colleague Joe Sexton’s new book, “The Lost Sons of Omaha,” ran in The New York Times last week. I bet it gets you to the library or bookstore.
A delicious read: J.R. Moehringer in The New Yorker, on what it was like to ghostwrite Prince Harry’s memoir, “Spare.”
Finally, here’s more than 24 hours of music curated by the prolific newsletter writer Rusty Foster of Today in Tabs, who ends each of his dispatches with a song. I do that, too, but I’ve never kept track of them. Rusty’s way smarter than I am. I’ll see you on Sunday.