Greetings eaters and readers! We have just returned from London, a quick five-day trip to visit our daughter, Phoebe, who is studying there for a semester. I’ve been to the city a few times, but this trip was notable in that Phoebe was driving the itinerary, showing us her London, her cafes, her galleries and tube stops. Other than a few dinners that we had planned beforehand, she led and we followed — and I can’t overstate how momentous this felt to me. (And relaxing! It was like having my own personal concierge.) As usual, I will be writing up a detailed highlight reel covering we did, where we stayed, where we coffee’d, where we pub’d, where we Ottolenghi’d, where we dinner’d (not gonna lie, we killed in this last department) this week or next. Reminder: Vacation Highlight Reels are for paying subscribers.
Speaking of Brits and food, could I be more excited for Nigel Slater’s A Cook’s Book? No one does nourishing plant-based recipes as poetically as he does. And now: Three Things I’d like you to know about this week….
1. Mix-and-Match Soup and Salad
We returned from our trip just in time for New York’s first (yes first!) measurable snow of winter 2023. Does your brain go right to soup when you see snow? Mine does, and this week, I’ve decided we’re going with soup and salad for every meal — an especially appealing combination after a long weekend of super indulgent, dinners. Did I mention we ate well in London? Je ne regrette rien! Here are the contenders:
White Bean Soup with Fixings The easiest thing ever. (Veg)
Avgolemeno (Greek Chicken Soup) shown above, a 15-minute meal if you’ve got the chicken cooked already.
Butternut Squash Soup with Apples because it’s been at least a month since I’ve mentioned it. (Veg)
Next Level: Thai Green Curry (subscribers only) I’ve actually put a brief moratorium on this soup because it’s in danger of qualifying for the dubious distinction of Easy Family Meals We’ve Loved to Death. (Vegan)
Greens & Beets with Feta: Bibb & baby arugula, beets, feta, scallions, cukes, fresh dill, and pistachios or pepitas. Dressing: white balsamic and olive oil, salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper.
Go-To Kale: Chopped kale, raw unsalted almond slivers, apples (or raisins), finely minced red onion. Olive oil and red wine vinegar. Dressing: red wine vinegar (or white balsamic if you have it), olive oil, dab of Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, a sprinkle of sugar.
Radicchio Orange: Endive or radicchio, plus oranges (sliced or supremed), almonds, a few mint leaves (chopped), a handful of chopped scallions, squeeze of lemon, olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper.
Next Level: Gem Lettuce with Green Goddess, Gorgonzola, and Honey-Sea-Salt Almonds (shown above)
If you like exact measurements: The Only Five Salad Dressings You Need
2. Personal Pan Pizzas for Scrape-it-Together Nights
I’m my best dinner-making self early in the week — intentional, motivated, inspired. (See: Above!) But by Thursday, with a skeletal fridge and a tired brain, I almost always want something easy to throw together based on the odds and ends I have in the fridge. So here is a reminder (for you and for me!) that pan-fried pizzas are a great vehicle for this kind of night. The one you’re looking at above is Brussels sprouts and bacon, but it’s an easy formula if you want to do your own toppings based on what you’ve got. Assuming you have an arsenal of pizza doughs in your freezer. You do, don’t you?
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3. A Trusted Resource for Parents of Teenagers
The pandemic has wreaked havoc on teenagers’ mental health — unfortunately we know this fact very well by now, but Lisa Damour, one of the more reassuring voices in adolescent psychology (I think I read Untangled in one sitting when it came out a few years ago) is out with a new book, The Emotional Lives of Teenagers, that aims to help parents figure out how to parse typical teenage behavior from concerning teenage anxiety. From her introduction:
In roughly the last ten years—the same span in which mental wellness became a multi-billion-dollar industry—psychological health has become equated with feeling good. Of course, it’s great to feel good (or calm, or relaxed), but the reality is that pleasant psychological states come and go as we move through our day. No matter what we do, there’s no guarantee that any one of us can sustain an extended period of untroubled ease.
This now widespread message that mental health means feeling good has led many parents and teenagers to its logical corollary, that feeling bad is grounds for serious concern. I worry that the wellness movement has left parents and their teens unduly frightened of garden variety adversity.
Also, ICYMI, Damour, along with journalist Reena Ninan, have a wonderful podcast dedicated to parenting, and I love that they don’t gloss over the thornier issues. Recent topics include: How do I get my kid to give up pot? My daughter’s nude selfie got out, what should I do? Should I monitor my kid’s grades online? How do I raise financially able kids? Should I track my kids location? Check it out wherever you listen to podcasts.
Thanks for reading,
I'm halfway through The Emotional Lives of Teenagers, very good so far!
Jenny, thanks so much for the podcast recommendation. I currently listen to a parenting podcast but I've outgrown it most of the issues they discuss. I need to know about driving, drugs and sex lol. This looks great.