For the November issue of Bon Appétit, Dawn Davis, editor-in-chief of the culinary magazine, wrote about her preference for Thanksgiving side dishes over turkey and mentioned recipes like chorizo and Calabrian chilli filling and garlic miso butter mashed potatoes.
Although Ms. Davis noted that her editorial team was “evenly divided” on the turkey / side dish debate, most people would likely agree that Thanksgiving is a home-and-hearth celebration. For Ms. Davis, this concept has remained fluid; In the past five months, she and her family have lived in four locations while their West Village apartment is being renovated.
“Packing and unpacking is a hassle, but exploring New York’s diverse neighborhoods and restaurants was an unexpected joy,” said Ms. Davis, 56, who continues to roam the city with husband Mac LaFollette, 57, who works in private equity , their sons Bijah (17) and Dane (14) and their Weimaraner Kiki.
MORNING WITH KIKI I wake up between 6:30 and 7:15. My room has a lot of light and I am sensitive to light. It’s also common because I take the kids to school during the week so it’s hard to sleep late on the weekend. I also want to bring Kiki to the park, as dogs are only allowed to be off the leash until 9 am. Everyone is still asleep. It’s so quiet. I put Kiki, the star of my show, on a leash. She got me through Covid. Lockdown with two teenagers was a lot of cooking and washing clothes. She got me out of the house and into nature. We’re going to Starbucks. I get a triple grande latte. I need the boost. Then we get a taxi, which is not always easy with a 70-pound dog.
PODCASTS IN THE PARK Central Park is like Narnia. During Covid I discovered all these rough edges. It’s as close to the wilderness as it is to the city. The park grounds me. I thought I was doing it for Kiki, but I found that I did it for myself. It clears my mind. I get creative ideas. It’s very liberating. I listen to bizarre podcasts or Family Secrets or The Daily. I ride different routes, but often I start at the 86th position and do the loop and end on the 59th position.
AESTHETICS When I am particularly optimistic about the day or want the house to feel nice, I go to the PlantShed Café for flowers. I’ll see what the experts have put together and maybe buy a bouquet. Maybe a friend will come with me for coffee. Or I go to Banter on Hudson Street for avocado toast that I have outside with Kiki.
PANCAKES I’ll be home at 11. Until then, everyone is awake. I make Martha Stewart’s cottage cheese pancakes; They freeze well and are high in protein. Then they all separate. My husband and older son could go to New Jersey to play golf and my younger one could play basketball.
INSPIRATION I’m starting to plan dinner. I won’t win any cooking prizes because I like to follow recipes. I am not an intuitive cook. I leaf through cookbooks for ideas. Favorites are “The Inn at Little Washington”, “Dean & Deluca” and “Asian Grilling” by Su-Mei Yu, which is so old that its spine has fallen off. Or I’ll search Bon Appétit’s website – maybe I’ll make the Low Commitment Wedding Soup or something I’ve never done.
MAGIC OF MEAL I love how a roast chicken perfumes the house. I can make melon soup with coconut milk, herbs and ginger or pork tenderloin with porcini broth. I am more inspired by what I have time for that evening and a meal that as many people as possible will like at the same time. The goal is to find a recipe that pays off in relation to the effort.
TENNIS ZEN Around 1am I go to play tennis at the Midtown Tennis Club or Manhattan Plaza Racquet Club, or sometimes I play in Central Park. It’s the only time I’m not on my mind I’m just trying to return the ball with intent and grace. I play with a friend and a professional so it’s a good workout. Then I go to Chelsea Market or Whole Foods.
BOYS, BOOKS I start at 4 to prepare or cook dinner. Then I hang out with the kids who might watch football. I watch enough to have an uninformed opinion. Or I read. Right now I’m reading Rick Bragg’s “All Over but the Shoutin ‘” and Mitchell S. Jackson’s “Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family”.
FAMILY Around 6 a.m. I go for another walk with the dog. At 7 o’clock we are at the dining table. We let the children help with the set-up. Dinner is a time when we get together as a family. We talk about politics or the events of the day. I do the dishes and ask for help tidying up; I get it sometimes, but never as much as I want. I’m calling my mother in California. Sometimes we pass the phone around and everyone talks to her or the children retreat to their rooms. My husband and I could work.
RELAXATION AGENTS Because I get up so early, I’m in bed by 10:30 a.m. We look at something funny like “Insecure” or the new “Curb Your Enthusiasm”. Laughing 10 minutes before sleep is its own form of relaxation. Or we hear NPR, maybe something about space because it’s really complicated and it makes me tired. Then we go to sleep.
Sunday Routine readers can follow Dawn Davis on Instagram @bonappetdawn.