With the universe sending us some wonky messages right now, the kitchen — and the dinner table — can offer comfort, sustenance, and, if nothing else, diversion. I can absolutely promise you one thing: If you make Abby Dodge’s Cream Cheese Pound Cake, you will be happy. In my house, the cake had to be removed to the office before my significant other overdosed on it. (My co-workers, the benefactors, were happy.)

Abby Dodge

Thanks to vanilla, salt, and a bit of brown sugar, the cake has a deep flavor that hints of butterscotch.

The best thing about Abby’s recipes, though? All the tips she offers. Find out by joining our #BakingTogether challenge. Read Baking Together # 5: Making a Moist Cream Cheese Pound Cake, start baking, and then leave us your notes in the comments section. Did you add nuts or chocolate chips? Did you turn leftovers into trifle?

Then check out our other Baking Together recipes (including Butter Pecan Slice-and-Bake Cookies and One-Bowl Vanilla Cupcakes).

Next in the nourishment department: Grab a copy of Sam Sifton’s new cookbook, See You on Sunday, which puts an end to the notion that having friends over has to be “entertaining.” Sam (food editor of The New York Times and founding editor of NYT Cooking) has a gift for both gentle persuasion and expression of gratitude:

Courtesy Sam Sifton, Courtesy Random House

“The point of Sunday dinner is just to have it. Even if you don’t particularly like entertaining, there is great pleasure to be had in cooking for others, and great pleasure to be taken from the experience of gathering to eat with others,” he writes in the intro.

Whether it’s chicken Shawarma or beef stroganoff, every recipe (all 200 of them) in See You on Sunday is one you’re likely to love making, eating — and serving to friends. Preview the book in the latest installment of The Cook and The Book.

David Malosh, from See You on Sunday

Then make Sam’s Fish Tacos. The recipe includes a great technique for getting a nice crust on the fish. But there’s a salsa and a quick little crema to make, too.

In the name of simplicity and little sauces I leave you with roasted vegetables, which I seem to be craving a lot these days. Try these Roasted Brussels Sprouts with a drizzle of Double-Lemon Tahini Dressing instead of the orange sauce.

Pluck the cooking directions for roasted cauliflower out of this salad recipe and toss it with a flavored butter right out of the oven. Make Sweet Potato Fries with Limey Dipping Sauce. Or drizzle the limey sauce on this Quick Roasted Root Medley.

Susie Middleton

One more thing to make you smile: Watch this beautiful video of Up Island Schools culinary director Jenny DeVivo making a difference in our community.

Maria Thibodeau

Also, if you didn’t know, Jenny and her team participated in the Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race, which will air next month. Be sure to tune in.

In the meantime, join us on Instagram, where we'll see you on Sunday, Monday, and every day!