Melissa Clark’s Saturday Recipe – The New York Times – Advice Eating

Consider the weekend, two full days uncharted and unblemished if you’re lucky, gaps to fill in as you please. That’s the look at the weekend from afar – say Thursday onwards – when the demands of work or school chafe and you fantasize about how you’ll fill those unplanned hours.

On Saturday morning I’m raw ambition. The bonus of 48 hours seems almost too much. Which errand is not carried out? Which housework is not mastered? Let’s stack community engagements, brunch to the soccer game to your cousin’s bar mitzvah, let’s sleep when we’re dead! Or let’s sleep now, take a nap, maybe lie down comfortably with a book? time is sure enough.

Sometimes I make a list of things I plan to do on a Saturday and then watch myself do none of them, almost as if I’m absurdly proving to an invisible supervisor that nobody, not even me, is going to decide what I plan to do today.

I’ve found that the best weekends aren’t the ones I try (and often fail) to squeeze in a lifetime of fun and productivity, but the ones I intentionally do something that would be impossible during the week. This can be a visit to a museum or a visit to breakfast. It can sleep in or go offline, go on a day trip, or just do multiple loads of laundry.

I try to plan my weekends with my Sunday night self in mind: what will I be glad I did in the future? What can I do to minimize the feeling of the tick-tick-tick of the “60 minute” clock counting down my last few seconds of freedom?

One of my favorite things to do on the weekends is to cook something more elaborate, or at least something different than what I usually do during the week. It’s a double gift: you get the joy of cooking achievement, then the joy of a special meal. So I’m really excited that starting this week my colleague Melissa Clark will be stopping by every Saturday with a Recipe of the Week, a dish she has chosen for that week that I hope you will try with me. This week there are roast chickens from Provence. let me know how it goes

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If your weekend ambitions include cooking a celebratory meal, consider a Provencal roast chicken. When Sam Sifton wrote about the dish in 2015, he urged readers to put the chicken in the oven, serve everyone a drink and be nice — words to live by. And that’s exactly what I did the other day when friends stopped by for dinner. I cranked the oven to 425 degrees (a tip from the recipe notes) and filled our wine glasses while the chicken sizzled and browned and lard spilled onto shallots and garlic roasting alongside. I served this with crispy potatoes but wished I had a baguette to scoop the caramelized chicken gums off the bottom of the pan. Luckily, a spoon worked almost as well.

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