Bryan Washington brings us a recipe for bánh cuốn, and we have lots of options for the holiday.

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By Kim Severson

Hi! It’s not Sam. Or Melissa. Or Priya. It’s me, Kim Severson.

I know it’s been challenging to keep up with our busy roster of vacation subs. Just pretend you’re watching the movie “This Is Spinal Tap,” and we are the drummers they had to keep replacing. I’m so glad it’s my turn behind the kit.

Now, take a moment to read Bryan Washington’s latest Eat column in The New York Times Magazine. I am such a fan of his debut novel, “Memorial,” which he called a “gay slacker dramedy.” It’s much more than that! The book is set in Houston, where Vietnamese food is foundational. In his column, he writes a lovely tribute to bánh cuốn (above), the delicate rice rolls from northern Vietnam made from fermented, steamed rice batter and filled with any manner of protein and minced wood ear mushrooms.

The technique might seem a bit tricky, but it’s really a matter of practicing the mixing, steaming and folding. “Regardless of your result,” he writes. “It’ll still be delicious. So it’s fine if your batter tears the first few times, because you’ll try it again.”

That’s really the beauty of spending time with a recipe. The more you practice, the simpler it becomes.

While we’re on the subject, I’m taking this recipe for malawax, Somali cardamom crepes, out for a spin this weekend. They combine two of my favorite things: cardamom and ghee. The chef and writer Ifrah F. Ahmed achieves a soft center that’s offset by caramelized, crispy edges. Yes, please.

It’s Labor Day weekend, and here’s a collective message from those of us who live in the American South: We don’t mean to be rude, but you are probably not inviting people to a barbecue. More than likely, it’s a cookout. Barbecue is a specific, low-and-slow culinary practice first used by Native Americans, and it became an essential part of Black culinary culture beginning with enslaved pit masters. (Here’s an interview with Adrian Miller, who wrote “Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue.”)

I leave barbecue to the professionals. But I do love to grill, and I have a couple standbys I rely on. One is Santa Maria-style tri-tip, a recipe I picked up during my California years. That requires just enough technique to make you feel like a real master of the grill, without much actual work.

But there is so much to make beyond the grill. I offer Krysten Chambrot’s list of our best Labor Day recipes. We’ve got plenty of takes on coleslaw and potato and pasta salads. And imagine how great these buttery saffron salmon kababs salmon would be next to honey butter grilled corn. J. Kenji López-Alt figured out that if you glaze the ears in a pan of warm, spicy honey butter, they stay hot and supple for a good 45 minutes.

But maybe, like me, you just want to hang out and make Yasmin Fahr’s easy and adaptable one-pot pasta dish with sausage and spinach, or a tray of Priya and Ritu Krishna’s vegetarian Indian-ish nachos with a superfast cilantro chutney.

I’m usually reporting news and not newslettering, so I want to take a moment to emphasize that our team treats all these recipes like news articles. Testing is their fact-checking (no fake recipes!). Of course, that costs money. A subscription opens the door to thousands of recipes on New York Times Cooking.

Social inspiration can be found on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. Direct questions about the technical side of things to [email protected] Unlike the airlines, someone will get back to you. And you can always send me a DM.

Now, it has nothing to do with Sam Sifton or long August vacations, but I leave you with Joni Mitchell at the Newport Jazz Festival singing “Both Sides Now.”

Don’t miss the moment at about 4:25 when a tearful Wynonna Judd pulls a compact from her bra to check her mascara.

Back Sunday, promise.

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