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A Buttermilk-Brined Chicken in Advance of the Big Bird



Good morning. Two weeks from today Thanksgiving will be a memory, so it’s definitely not too early to start your planning for the feast. Order your bird this weekend (birds, in my case). Sketch out a menu with the aid of our Thanksgiving recipe guide. Take an inventory of plates and platters, serving spoons, glasses, knives, forks and napkins. And consider the book of the rules.

Then start practicing. It is never, ever, a good idea to cook something for the first time on the day you’re serving it to good friends or judgmental relatives.

Start with the turkey. Whether I’m roasting or deep-frying for the holiday, I generally dry-brine my birds, but I have to say I’m fascinated by the notion of a buttermilk brine this year. The buttermilk tenderizes the meat in addition to keeping it juicy, and buttermilk’s sugars lead to marvelously burnished skin. I’ll take a run at a buttermilk-brined roast chicken (above) on Saturday night, just to see if that’s something I want to try on a larger scale come the week of the 20th.

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Another experiment: these puréed potatoes with lemon, an Ina Garten specialty, far from my usual drift of mashed potatoes with butter and milk. I think those might pair nicely with the buttermilked bird. And Eric Kim’s new recipe for green bean casserole? I wonder if that could supplant my usual roasted brussels sprouts finished with cream. Definitely gravy. And a spiced pumpkin pie for dessert? There are pleasures in practice!

Then, on Sunday, buttermilk pancakes for breakfast, an apple for lunch, with cubes of Cheddar or a swipe of peanut butter, and Christian Reynoso’s new recipe for lomo saltado for dinner. Lomo saltado is a beloved dish in Peru, a Chinese-influenced stir-fry with beef, onions, peppers, tomatoes and French fries in a chile-soy sauce that’s excellent over rice. In Lima, cooks often flame the almost-finished dish in a blast of fiery pisco, Peruvian brandy. That’s not a technique for first-year students. But if you’re comfortable with big fire, it adds a delightful smokiness to the meal.

Alternatively: chicken wings? I sometimes like to end the weekend with a platter of them, with sliced celery and plenty of blue cheese dressing, just the thing to accompany the Jets-Raiders game. Or a spicy peanut and pumpkin soup? Some caramelized-scallion noodles?

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Now, it has just about nothing to do with quinces or quail, and I’m late to it to boot, but there’s something delicious about “The Righteous Gemstones” on Max.

I was absolutely riveted by Alexandra Alter’s profile of the best-selling fantasy author Rebecca Yarros in The Times.

Do read Anna Holmes, in The New Yorker, writing about Jezebel, the website she founded in 2007, and “the question of women’s anger.”

Finally, it’s the singer and songwriter Miranda Lambert’s birthday. She is 40. Women’s anger? Here’s “Kerosene,” live at the Country Music Awards. Play that nice and loud, cook your chicken and I’ll see you on Sunday.