The last (and only!) time I have found myself suddenly thrust into the world of unemployment was the dead of winter in 2019. It was cold, isolating, and mostly just…sad? Scary? It’s hard to summon the will to do anything when it gets dark at 5 pm and is like 10 degrees outside.
It is arguably a better time to find yourself jobless in the middle of summer. You can go to the beach every day, if you want to. You can explore the world of NYC public pools, which are still a novelty to me (you have to shake out your towel and turn your book upside down to flip through the pages before you can go out to the pool area, presumably to prevent anyone from sneaking a contraband cell phone into the pool area. I got yelled at for bringing in aerosol sunscreen last week and had to spray myself in the changing area, then do the mandatory shower before going in the water, thus washing all the sunscreen off my body, and only then was I allowed into the pool area). You can go to the park and read a book, eat a Mr. Softee soft serve ice cream cone as an amuse-bouche before dinner (I may or may not have done this last night), ride bikes on Governor’s Island (free before noon on weekdays!), or simply sit inside next to your air conditioner. Crucially, you can also take advantage of the summer’s produce, something you simply cannot do in February when the produce du jour is like, a head of cabbage and some potatoes.
I have not felt tremendously like cooking this summer, though having a new kitchen (a standalone kitchen in its own room, not one of those NYC real estate rental falsities that’s like, a kitchen combined with a living room and common area in one small windowless room) has turned that around a bit. Some things I have made this month: a gochujang-and-sundried tomato pasta that’s sort of a twist on a vodka sauce, consumed with these fun-shaped springy noodles from Trader Joe’s; this steak recipe from Molly Baz at Bon Appetit that has a great scallion sauce you can make anytime to eat on any protein or with any grilled or roasted vegetable; and my go-to udon recipe with a sauce consisting of dark soy sauce, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, sesame seeds, scallions, peanut butter and garlic-chili sauce, topped with ribbons of cucumber and carrots and more scallions.