Dinning & Wine

A Stew for Labor Day

Good morning. Happy Labor Day. Because of the coronavirus there’ll be no West Indian American Day Parade this year along Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, but if you’d like to get into the spirit of past and future holidays, you might try this luscious Jamaican oxtail stew (above) that I learned to make a decade ago by pestering the team at the Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery and Grill until they gave me the scaffolding of a recipe. That and some coconut rice can make for a beautiful evening, a taste of barefoot late summer, spicy and rich.

Or, you know, you could go with burgers, hot dogs and corn, ribs, macaroni salad. I know a few cats who are down on the beach today with boogie boards and fried chicken biscuits, making like ersatz Garrett McNamaras in the slop. Others are holed up in apartments preserving summer in jars. A few are patting out arepas de choclo to serve with an avocado salad, in advance of an early night in front of a screen, rewatching “Office Space” on Hulu.

The holiday is what you make of it.

Whatever you cook for it, I do know I’d like to make this tomato and shrimp spaghetti some night soon, with all these end-of-summer cherry and grape tomatoes around. And absolutely this sheet-pan Cajun salmon as well. Maybe you’ll join me?

I’d also like to recommend this chicken congee I recently adapted from Fuchsia Dunlop’s recipe, using an Instant Pot instead of the stovetop, with a couple of chicken thighs added to the rice mixture as it cooked for 15 minutes on high pressure, and a dramatic increase in the amount of ginger and scallions. That with some pickled wood ear mushrooms as a mix-in, with splashes of soy sauce and sesame oil? What a comfort of a meal. I had two in my crowd laid low with stomach ailments. This congee got them back in the game.

There are thousands and thousands more recipes to make today and in days to come waiting for you on New York Times Cooking. It’s true that you need a subscription to access them. We think our work is worth the scratch. If you haven’t already, I hope you will subscribe today.

Join us on other platforms as well, if you’re seeking further inspiration. We’re on Instagram and YouTube (where Sohla El-Waylly and her husband Ham recently joined us to make a meal out of … bananas). And we post our news and criticism on Twitter. (I maintain a place there myself: @samsifton.)

We will meantime remain standing by to help, just in case something goes awry while you’re cooking or using the site. Just write: cookingcare@nytimes.com. Someone will get back to you. And if not? Write to me: foodeditor@nytimes.com. I read every letter sent.

Now, it’s a far cry from s’mores and stewed rabbit, but Dwight Garner’s review in The Times of Colm Toibin’s “The Magician” got me off to the bookstore right quick.

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is running a crowdfunding campaign to renovate the flower-bedecked Jeff Koons “Puppy” sculpture that stands at its entrance. To amplify its plea for funds, the museum has now released a rap video, “P.U.P.P.Y.” Make of that what you will. The art world is strange, no?

Fashion week starts on Sept. 8 here in New York, and on Sept. 9 you can join the New York Times fashion director Vanessa Friedman as she speaks with, among others, Anna Wintour and Nicolas Ghesquière about what’s next for the fashion forward and those who follow them — from the runways right down into your closet. Register here.

Here’s Ama Codjoe’s poem, “Bathers With a Turtle” in The Virginia Quarterly Review, responding to Henri Matisse’s painting of the same name at the Saint Louis Museum of Art. They speak to one another beautifully.

Finally, here’s some new Sneaker Pimps, “Fighter,” from the band’s first new release in 20 years, “Squaring the Circle.” Listen to that while you’re making your Labor Day meal. I’ll be back on Wednesday.


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