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The Secrets of Great Pad Thai

Julia Moskin took a deep dive on noodle dishes from the Thai diaspora.

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By Sam Sifton

Good morning. For The Times this week, Julia Moskin took a deep dive into the world of stir-fried Thai noodle dishes cooked far from Thailand: shrimp pad Thai (above), pad see ew and pad kee mao.

The recipes aren’t those of street vendors or restaurants, but of scratch cooks who’ve adapted them for use in home kitchens, often without access to “authentic” ingredients. Seeking authenticity can be counterproductive, the chef Pailin Chongchitnant told Julia. “People in Thailand are always playing around with the recipes anyway,” she said.

So pull out your skillet or Dutch oven and get to work on some Thai noodles for dinner tonight. As Julia’s reporting finds, “taste is sometimes more important than tradition.”

What else to cook right now? I love this crispy baked fish with tartar sauce. Also this roasted mushroom larb, these cheesy kimchi noodles, this fantastic chicken-fried steak (excellent in advance of a chocolate mug cake for dessert).

And I absolutely want to get on Pati Jinich’s latest: a recipe for the timeless Mexican sweet bread known as conchas, light, buttery brioche-style buns covered with a crisp yet tender topping that’s traditionally molded in the shape of a seashell. As a bonus — and for some an invitation to controversy — Pati also gave us a recipe for a concha sandwich, with chipotle refried beans, bacon and avocado. Sweet and savory: I’m in.

There are thousands and thousands more recipes waiting for you on New York Times Cooking. (You can also find inspiration on our TikTok, Instagram and YouTube accounts.) It’s a fact that you need a subscription to access them. Subscriptions make it possible for us to do this work that we love. If you haven’t yet subscribed, would you please consider doing so today? Thank you.

We’ll be standing by to render assistance should something go wrong along the way. Just write us at cookingcare@nytimes.com, and someone will get back to you. (You can also write to me: foodeditor@nytimes.com. I read every letter sent.)

Now, it’s nothing to do with sweetbreads or corn meal, but you should absolutely read Patrick Radden Keefe in The New Yorker, on how Russian oligarchs “bought” London, acquiring a kind of “gray flannel propriety” along the way.

Having completed all the Joe Pickett novels by C.J. Box, I turned to another creation of his, the alcoholic Montana detective Cody Hoyt. “Back of Beyond,” from 2011, sees our man investigating the death of his sponsor, which appears at first to be a suicide — though not to Hoyt.

Party reporting in The Atlantic? Yes, indeed. Here’s Lizzie Plaugic and Kaitlyn Tiffany on the launch party for the sixth issue of The Drift, at the Jane Hotel in Manhattan, and it’s funny.

Finally, as Lindsay Zoladz notes in The Times, Arcade Fire is back after five years, with “The Lightning I, II.” Listen to that while you’re making your noodles, and I’ll be back on Friday.

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