This Is The Best Meal I've Made Since Quarantine Started

Some recommendations to make you *feel*.
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Last week, I spoke to a friend in New York who had just recovered from the virus. Ever since coming out of a fever that lasted two weeks, she told me she's been craving intense experiences: scary movies, spicy foods, even hot weather. And she's far from the only one. Our Buyer Lisa has been making her way through scary movies, and this Sunday's New York Times review raved about Stephen King's new novella collection. I just bought more chili oil to put over eggs and rice bowls from Kismet Rotisserie (I could drink the stuff), and cruised through a book so intense it felt almost physically painful. For those homebound, strong sensations can be hard to find, but I've collected a few of the things that made me cringe, cry, and feel this weekend:

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In Rachel Kushner's The Mars Room, Romy Hall is serving two consecutive life sentences for murder, at a women's correctional prison in California. The gritty prison life, which makes Orange Is The New Black look cute, is interspersed with flashbacks to her former life in San Francisco, and descriptions of the judicial system that made me feel livid and helpless (for now, I've settled for donating to The Innocence Project, which isn't a book spoiler—just one small piece of the solution). The novel is so rich, I was surprised to learn that it isn't autobiographical, though this New Yorker feature proved to me that Kushner's every bit as interesting as her characters. It isn't a happy book, but it is an immersive escape that will make you feel more grateful for whatever refuge in which you're sheltering in place. 

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Outside of my family, Prune has been the biggest influence on the way I cook and eat. The small East Village restaurant is directly responsible for my love of blue cheese and Negronis, the belief that a sandwich must have three types of fat on it, and my appreciation for simple meals made from the best available ingredients. It always felt less like a business, but rather an oasis to gather with friends over good food. It's been four years since I moved from New York, but I still keep their business card framed in my kitchen as a reminder, count my signed copy of her memoir among my prized possessions, and text with a friend who I first met when she was a server there.

When I wrote about "author deep dives" last year, it was an oversight to not include Gabrielle Hamilton, so let me rectify that: Start with her recent essay for The New York Times Magazine, then make her comforting stewed chicken and rice or, if you're more bold, her signature sweetbreads. Read Blood, Bones, and Butter (the memoir that taught me to love memoirs) while sipping a Negroni, and watch her on Mind of a Chef. Then, finally, read the Prune cookbook cover to cover—something I highly recommend you do if you've never thought to. 

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Jonah and I rarely cook with beef outside of burgers, one of our favorite summer indulgences, but when it was the only animal protein available at our grocery store, we looked online for guidance and landed on this bolognese from Bon Appetit. We only had about half the ingredients, so our version was a Frankenstein version (no celery or carrot, rosé instead of dry white wine, bacon instead of pancetta...), but it was unbelievable, like possibly the best thing we've made since we've been quarantined. I've since learned that many bolognese sauces, while delicious, can feel punishing in the number of hours they require to simmer, but I can't imagine this one being much better. Paired with fresh tagliatelle and rosé, it was perfect!

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1. A beautiful collection of stories on having a baby in quarantine from Cup of Jo

2. Trash tells the truth of where some Manhattanites fled to (via Lorem Ipsum). 

3. How single mothers are coping with quarantine (but even two-parent homes are "not alright"). 

4. A list of unexpected movies to watch right now. 

5. Just restocked on spices from this site!

6. How beautiful are these ceramics??

7. I love this meditative, interactive piece from the New York Times.

8. The adaptation of Sally Rooney's Normal People premieres on Hulu in just two days!

9. Lululemon has free online classes taught by their ambassadors.