In 2017, I decided to give up drinking alcohol during Lent, and wrote an essay about my experience for Medium.

At the time, my choice was linked to a medical test that my doctor wanted to repeat, just to be sure the results were right. She advised me not to drink for a month before hand.

The 40-day period of Lent turned out to mesh perfectly with her advice. (The test came out fine.)

Yet, I found that going alcohol free became a habit that suited me. …

On Sunday, I set out to bake pfeffernusse. They’re little round spice cookies, covered with powdered sugar, and a tradition in Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark, as well as the United States.

After I’d baked a couple of dozen, I waited for them to cool, and rolled each one in a plate of icing sugar. Then, I stopped.

I brushed the sugar off my black Eileen Fisher dress (pro tip: don’t wear black when you make pfeffernusse), boxed up the cookies, and left the kitchen. My Christmas cookie baking for 2020 was finished.

Instead of the four or five kinds, or…

The digital sticker that Ann Arbor voters received

In the last days of the endless presidential campaign, I’ve been cheered to see the number of Americans who voted early.

We’re now up to more than half of the number of people who voted in the 2016 general election.

And yet, the scripts you are hearing and the stories you are reading seem oblivious to the fact that this will be a very different kind of election day.

We still hear about polls of “likely voters” that leave out the fact that the number of likely voters may not be very large.

We still hear about Donald Trump and…

Via Instagram

Like many people, I was stunned by the news last Friday night that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died.

I expected to see the tributes that poured in from across the United States, and even Canada and Europe.

She was an icon to girls and women, not just in America but elsewhere.

What I did not expect to see was the finger pointing at her, which started within hours of the announcement of her death.

Essentially, a number of people expressed unhappiness that RBG had not stepped down from the Supreme Court during the first years of the…

Photo: W.W. Norton

Hooni Kim was looking forward to the spring of 2020.

His first cookbook was set for April, completing an eight-year effort that involved three separate drafts and two different co-authors.

He oversaw two bustling New York City restaurants, Hanjan and Danji. They are leaders in the city’s modern Korean food movement, respectively serving dishes tavern style and in tapas form.

Instead, this spring has been memorable in a way no one could have expected. Kim is dealing with the effects of COVID-19 on his businesses, as well as on his book.

The pandemic put a multi-city book tour on hold…

The United States has lost nearly 100,000 people to COVID-19, in what seems an extraordinarily compressed amount of time.

Even though the numbers seem hard to grasp, these people all led lives, too. Or, as the New York Times put it on Sunday, “They were not simply names on a list. They were us.”

The Times picked out 1,000 of those people to honor with micro-obits, printed on its front page and on two pages inside.

Each person was commemorated with their name, age, city, and a sentence about them.

There were well-known musicians, like Bucky Pizzarelli, the jazz guitarist…

Photo: Sussex Royal on Instagram

The launch of Brand Sussex has to go down as one of the most ill-timed in marketing history.

And, every day deeper into the coronavirus pandemic, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s chances of becoming a big deal in their independent lives are diminishing.

Of course, they had no way of knowing back in November that their much-publicized departure from Britain would coincide with a deadly, global pandemic.

But, they have missed a royal chance, so to speak, to play the useful, high-profile role that would have been the perfect segue into the lives they envision for themselves.

And it’s likely…

Chef Michael Gulotta faces tough choices in reopening his New Orleans restaurants. Photo by Denny Culbert

When the COVID-19 crisis hit New Orleans, star chef Michael Gulotta chose to simply close his places down.

The four-time James Beard Award nominee wanted to protect the health of his staff, and avoid the uncertainty of relying on carry out and delivery at his restaurants, Maypop in New Orleans’ Central Business District, and MoPho, which sits near City Park.

Now, Louisiana is allowing restaurants to re-open, with a variety of restrictions, including limits on the number of guests they can serve at one…

Galatoire’s in New Orleans is among the restaurants offering family meals during stay home orders. … [+]


We didn’t feel like cooking this Easter. With Michigan under a stay home order, and grocery stores running low on some items, there was no certainty that I could find everything we always serve at our sumptuous family brunch.

So, after I saw a promotion from Knight’s Kitchen on Facebook, I decided to order an Easter dinner.

Knight’s Kitchen is an off shoot of the popular Knight’s Steakhouse restaurants in Ann Arbor that are often packed with townies and parents of…

I feel badly for my friends, the New Yorkers. They’re at ground zero of the coronavirus crisis, and their nerves are fraying.

It sounds like it’s about to be a stigma to be a New Yorker, what with orders to quarantine if you’ve visited the city, instead of something to be proud about.

I feel badly for my friends in New Orleans. The city thrives on hospitality businesses, and so many have lost their jobs, and illness is everywhere. For the moment, joy is gone.

I feel badly for my friends in Detroit, which per capital, has more coronavirus cases…

Micheline Maynard

Journalist. Author. The Check blog on NPR and NYT alum

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