I have spent the week recovering from the dental work I told you about last time, mostly distracting myself by getting sucked into strange videos and celebrity scandals, both involving food.

To be honest, I’m not totally sure I shouldn’t have elected to just suffer through the pain.

First of all, food videos on social media are getting absolutely bonkers. There’s an increasingly strong presence, at least on my personal feed, of really weird dishes.

One cooking channel on Facebook recently had a recipe that was a chocolate cake baked inside a pumpkin. They literally hollowed out a pumpkin, dumped the cake ingredients into the shell, mixed them INSIDE the pumpkin (not in an external bowl where they could actually, you know, stir everything with a hope of not accidentally knocking a hole in it or incorporating raw pumpkin shreds), and baked it.

Meanwhile, they poured melted chocolate to cover the pumpkin lid they carved out and decorated it with swirls of orange-colored white chocolate. The final result was a chocolate cake they could neither release from its gourd-y casing nor properly frost, a pumpkin “pan” that was roasted and wrinkly, and a raw pumpkin lid covered in chocolate.

Moreover, the cake/pumpkin combo was sliced and plated together to serve. What I’m saying is, you get a slice of chocolate cake with a rim of plain roasted pumpkin around it. Are you supposed to eat the pumpkin? Is it just for show? Is this some bizarre stab at healthy cooking? Also, what’s the lid for? Do you take turns licking the chocolate coating off? What on earth are you supposed to DO with it?

And by FAR the weirdest part was that the comment section was FULL of people applauding the whole thing. “What a great idea!” “So clever!” “I want to try this!” I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone.

The other big thing was late-night TV host James Corden’s kerfuffle at Balthazar. That’s a fancy New York restaurant that opened in 1997 and has dishes in the $30 to $50 range, $22 appetizers and $14 desserts. I’m not even getting into the booze.

So Corden and his wife were brunching there when she ordered an egg yolk omelet and found a streak of egg white in it. She complained to the waitstaff and the replacement dish held an egg yolk omelet and FRIES, when she specifically ordered it with the SALAD, and Corden rudely unleashed his wrath upon the server. The owner, Keith McNally, BANNED Corden from Balthazar, then later unbanned him, then banned him again, I think for a different reason.

To be honest, my biggest takeaway was finding out that egg yolk omelets are a thing. Egg white ones, yes, we’ve heard of those, but an egg yolk omelet? Is there a new diet craze going around? Is the point to induce cholesterol-driven heartburn? Who is this FOR?

The net result was that I bought a used copy of the Balthazar cookbook online. It doesn’t have an egg yolk-only omelet recipe (it’s from 2003, before James Corden, who is British, had ever come to America to host a late-night TV show), but it had been on my wishlist for some time. I figured this was a sign.

Come to think of it, maybe Corden is on the take and the whole thing was a put-up job between him, Balthazar and the American Egg Board to sell more cookbooks and eggs. The Board hasn’t been in the public eye since the ‘80s with that “Incredible Edible Egg” campaign; they probably need the boost.

Anyway, while I was recovering and keeping up with all this weirdness, I went home to see Mom and she made some soothing foods for me, like the Barefoot Contessa’s lentil and sausage soup (I gave it to you several years ago and if you missed it, literally just Google “Barefoot Contessa’s lentil and sausage soup” and voila! — it appears) and some cabbage and potatoes that were the best thing I’ve eaten in ages.

There’s nothing terribly Halloweenish about this recipe, admittedly; unless you want to pretend to be a poor Irish farmer on Samhain, dining on cabbage and carving turnips into jack o’lanterns to keep evil spirits at bay. I’m certainly not going to stop you.

Some notes: Mom used red cabbage, which made everything an eerie shade of purple, but that didn’t deter either of us.

I really can’t overstate how delicious this is; very simple, but also effective. It’s a good side dish for fried chicken or pork chops or pretty much anything else; I brought some back and have just been eating it cold by the forkful, standing in front of the fridge.

If you’re genuinely worried about evil spirits, I think a cake baked in a pumpkin would drive them off. They may be more confused than intimidated, but your results will be the same. If they’re still hanging about, try tossing in some egg yolks. They’ll vamoose in no time.

Probably so will your friends and family, but I know a comment section full of people who’ll think you’re a genius.

Smothered Cabbage

(from Cook’s Country)

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 onion, sliced thin

1 large head green cabbage (3 pounds), cored and cut into 1” pieces

1½ cups chicken broth

10 ounces Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” pieces

1½ teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon pepper

Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft (about 4 minutes, give or take). Stir in cabbage, broth, potatoes, salt and pepper and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until cabbage is wilted and potatoes are fork-tender, 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Increase heat to medium high, uncover and cook until liquid has nearly evaporated, about 12 minutes., gently stirring occasionally. Serve.