Good morning. I made dinner for 50 last weekend, a giant feast of chicken bog, braised kale and rice, with cornbread and Henley Tuthill’s exceptional brown-butter Rice Krispies treats for dessert. I flew solo in the kitchen all day to bring it to fruition, doing the prep-cook shuffle: dicing vegetables, chicken and kielbasa, stirring roux, measuring out pounds of cornmeal and whisking eggs into milk.
It was time well spent, as all kitchen hours should be. The work focused my mind even as it allowed me to daydream, exactly the sort of juxtaposition that results in relaxation, an escape from the stress of the everyday. Give yourself a food project and it can be the equivalent of going on a vacation, one that leaves you at once refreshed and exhausted, cured of the headaches that can accompany modern life.
It needn’t be something so excessive as a meal to serve a crowd. Take, for example, this lovely new recipe for chimichurri meatballs (above) from Ali Slagle. Rolling up a tray of these generously breadcrumbed little golf balls of sharply spiced ground beef on a weekend afternoon and then searing them in a hot pan until they’re crisp and brown is just the sort of serial work that delivers an antidote to a week of stress and bother. Serve over a salad of salt-massaged kale dressed with more chimichurri and you’ll see. That’s the sublime you’re tasting, the fruit of your labor.