What to Cook Right Now

Good morning. Tuesday is the autumnal equinox, the sun right above the Equator, the length of day and night the same, a marker of harvest season, the first day of fall. (Confidential to those in Australia and New Zealand: Happy vernal equinox!) I’ll mourn our lost summer with its mask-fogged sunglasses, its distanced yard hangs and awkward picnics, but revel in the cool nights and the promise of dinners rich with gravy.

It’s smothered chicken time, the start of the season for pork chops in lemon-caper sauce (above), for smothered shrimp in crab meat gravy, for chicken-fried steak with queso, for meals you can accompany with dinner rolls for swiping, for apple pie and apple cake alike.

But maybe that’s just me? Maybe you’d prefer a sweet potato bebinca, or chicken ragù with fennel. Egg curry? Mushroom soup gratinée? Here’s what’s on the NYT Cooking fall cooking bucket list.

It’d be nice to make a lasagna this week. Not to mention oven-fried patatas bravas, with two sauces!

The idea’s just to cook against the loss of summer, loss of daylight, loss of outdoor freedoms, and replace it all with deliciousness and joy, with protein to nourish us as the mercury drops and winter stalks closer. So: Make delicious food this week; light where you eat with candles or hurricane lanterns; set the table with care. The idea is just to embrace the cozy, as the writer Isabel Gillies would say, to use cozy as a baseline that helps support your life and the lives of those with whom you live.

Tomato soup is cozy. So is slow cooker beef stew with maple and stout. Fettuccine Alfredo is cozy. Oven-roasted chicken shawarma is really cozy.

Many thousands more recipes like that are waiting for you on NYT Cooking. Browse the site and our collections to see what grabs your fancy. And if you hit what we call a pay wall, a call to subscribe, it’s because you need a subscription to access the full breadth of our recipes and features. Subscriptions are what allow us to do this work. I hope, if you haven’t gotten one already, that you will subscribe today. Thank you.

And as always, we will be standing by to help if you run into trouble in the kitchen or with our site and apps. Just write: Someone will get back to you, I promise.

Now, won’t you see what you think of this Ruth Reichl essay for AARP about what she’s learned over the course of a half century of writing about food.

In a similar vein, I enjoyed this Journalism History podcast about the pioneering New York Times food editor Jane Nickerson, whose work leads directly to what you read in our pages today, and across NYT Cooking.

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