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Cook for the Beloved Community

Good morning. It is Martin Luther King’s Birthday, Stevie Wonder has the soundtrack, and I think you might mark it by listening this morning to King’s “Loving Your Enemies” sermon, delivered at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala., on Nov. 17, 1957.

It’s not much of a food holiday. People trot out King’s fondness for pecan pie, for sweet potato pie, for fried chicken and black-eyed peas — and of course we have recipes for those. But the observance of his birthday as a national holiday isn’t so much about feasting as, increasingly, it is about service — a day “on,” they say, rather than a simple day off. Even if you’re not involved in a community project, then, you might consider doing something to improve the common good today, something to address King’s notion of a beloved community, a world of interconnectedness.

For a lot of us, that can happen in the kitchen even if it’s not about dinner. Today’s a day to bake for those who are working on a federal holiday, maybe: supernatural brownies for the firehouse or the team in the I.C.U.; ginger-molasses cookies for the newsroom or the cops on the beat. It could be a good day to check in on those who don’t have much family or who have a hard time with the stairs, to make and deliver one of our casseroles for cold nights, or a lasagna, or a gingery chicken stew.

Want a new recipe? Melissa Clark has an excellent one, for baked lemony couscous, with chickpeas, tomato and feta (above). Or maybe an ancient one? Here’s Craig Claiborne’s 1983 recipe for smothered chicken, one of my favorite midwinter meals.

There are thousands and thousands more recipes to consider cooking today and later this week on NYT Cooking. Go browse our digital aisles and see what piques your interest. (You need to be a subscriber to do that, of course. We think it’s good value. Become one today!)

While you’re online, come see what we’re up to on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. And if you find yourself jammed up with a recipe or have a problem with our site and apps, just write for help: cookingcare@nytimes.com. We’ll get back to you.

Now, it’s nothing to do with grillades or Alison Roman’s marmalade, but do read Carvell Wallace on the playwright and screenwriter Tarell Alvin McCraney, in The Times. (I knew him when!)

I think you’ll enjoy Robert Sullivan on the ministry of Mr. Rogers, in The New York Review of Books.

Finally, though Dolores O’Riordan of the Cranberries died a year ago, the band has a final album coming out. They’ve just released a single, with O’Riordan on vocals: “All Over Now.” Have a terrific day.




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