Thoughts on New Year’s Eve, and recipes for celebrating.
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By Sam Sifton
Good morning. My grandparents had many books, but the ones I liked most as a child were collections of cartoons from The New Yorker, cartoons from the era of Peter Arno, Charles Addams and William Steig. I didn’t quite get the jokes at the time, but on the carpet of my grandparents’ living room, I thrilled to the idea of them, to the way the captions brought the cartoons alive.
Steig had a great one tied to New Year’s Eve. The cartoon depicts an unhappy couple at a fancy black-tie holiday dinner, everyone in festive party hats and big smiles, toasting one another. The bespectacled husband is scowling with a cigar screwed into the corner of his mouth, his bow tie tight against his wide neck. His wife admonishes him sharply: “Either cheer up or take off the hat.”
I loved that when I was younger, and I love it still. Not for me the auld lang syne. Tomorrow night, I want to be asleep by 10. I don’t want to even put on the hat in the first place!
Not that I don’t want to eat well beforehand. And then again on Sunday morning. Maybe you’ll join me?
For Saturday night, I learned a great recipe for pan-roasted chicken in cream sauce from the chef Angie Mar, who used to serve the dish at her Beatrice Inn in Manhattan. (Now, at her Trois Chevaux down the block, she serves poussin with white truffles in a salt crust. I’ll learn that next!) It’s a superb year-ender of a meal, especially if you serve it with pommes Anna and I-know-they’re-out-of-season butter-braised asparagus — a promise of spring served in the depths of winter. With baba au rhum for dessert!
Definitely you’ll want some Hoppin’ John (above) come Sunday, after a breakfast of crème brûlée French toast. (Or, if you found yourself over-served the night before: chicken congee and a Coke over ice.) Creamed greens potpie for dinner? Or caviar sandwiches? I could follow one of those with this feta and herb phyllo tart and be very happy indeed.
There are thousands and thousands more recipes to consider waiting for you on New York Times Cooking — and further inspiration on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. Go see what strikes your fancy.
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Now, it’s a long distance from anything to do with tempering chocolate or peeling eggs, but you’ll want to read David Ramsey in the Oxford American, on Hank Williams.
Vanity Fair made a video with the actor Jean Smart, to break down the timeline of her career. It’s great.
Alan Bennett’s diary in The London Review of Books recounts his failure, in 1961, to impress Queen Elizabeth II with his performance before her in “Beyond the Fringe.” It’s cringe — and fascinating.
Finally, here’s Jeff Buckley to play us off with his “New Year’s Prayer.” Stay safe out there, eat well and I’ll see you on Sunday.
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