Good morning. “Roti is one of the world’s most ubiquitous and shape-shifting foods,” Priya Krishna writes in The New York Times this week, “a round, unleavened bread of uncertain origin that has spread around the world, changing every time it reaches a new country, region or even household.”
Priya charted the “the simple wheat-flour-and-water versions found across India, the stretchy, layered variety known as roti canai in Malaysia, the shaggy roti in Guyana and the slightly chewier ones in Kenya (also known as chapati), to name just a few.”
My favorite version is buss up shut (above), a roti found in Trinidad and Tobago that takes its name from its resemblance to a torn — or busted up — shirt, which I consider best eaten straight out of the kitchen at the exemplary Hott Shoppe in Port of Spain (though the one Paul Carmichael used to make at Momofuku Seiobo in Sydney — holy crow!).
And now we can all make it at home, thanks to our Yewande Komolafe, who adapted a recipe for buss up shut from one developed by the chef Peter Prime at Bammy’s in Washington, D.C. The soft dough gets brushed with a combination of butter and coconut oil for, as Yewande describes it, a toasted nuttiness that lingers within the finished tender and chewy layers of the laminated bread.
Ali Slagle’s recipe for pasta with brown butter and Parmesan cheese is a model of easy weeknight cooking, a kind of mac and cheese for the grown-up set. Some add red pepper flakes and sage leaves, but you hardly need to.
Beef chow fun is a Cantonese restaurant classic, brought home here by Ali. She uses a screamingly hot pan to char the noodles slightly, making them an ideal counterpart to the crispy beef.
There are many thousands more recipes to cook this week waiting for you on New York Times Cooking. To answer a question I get more often than you might think: Yes, you need a subscription to read them. Subscriptions make this whole endeavor possible.
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Now, it has nothing to do with cakes or ale, but Radhika Jones landed Barbra Streisand for a cover story in Vanity Fair, in advance of the release of Streisand’s memoir, “My Name Is Barbra,” out Nov. 7. Click!
Fascinating: James Vincent in The London Review of Books, on what he calls “prosthetic brainpower,” instruments that trace their history back to the Mesopotamians, 5,000 years ago.
Did you read Jason Farago in The New York Times Magazine, arguing that ours is the least innovative century for the arts in 500 years? Y’oughta. It doesn’t have to be a bad thing, he says.
Finally, if only because Jason brought the album up in his essay, here’s Missy Elliott’s “All N My Grill,” off “Da Real World.” Music for buss up shuts. I’ll be back next week.