Thursday, November 17, 2016


And we're off and running. The holiday season kicks off next week with Thanksgiving. Some of us will spend the most time we've ever spent all year round in our kitchens basting, chopping, stirring and hoping that it all turns out well. We thought we'd whip up some dos and don'ts for both hosts and guests.

For hosts...
  • Do be honest, if a guest asks what should they bring, tell them. Nothing worse than seeing your supply of wine and champagne dwindle, sparkling cider just isn't the same.
  • Be ready to receive guests, they shouldn't see you sweating over the bird. Don't make them feel compelled to help out with the dinner - they came to eat, not prepare.
  • Try not to give a blow by blow of the dinner's preparation. e.g. "I made the stuffing at midnight! I got up at the crack of dawn to boil the sweet potatoes." There is an excellent book, Timing Is Everything by Jack Piccolo.
  • Speaking of timing, if you've asked guests to come at five o'clock don't make them wait until seven o'clock to eat.
  • Do plan a balanced, well rounded menu. You want your guests to have enough food, but ten different things to eat could turn into a mishmosh of mismatched flavors and actually begin to look like mush on a plate.
  • Let guests eat in peace. No need to keep asking them if they need anything.
  • Be gracious when your cooking is complimented. No one will know you left out the thyme unless you tell them.
  • If you discover that someone is a vegan, don't make a big deal out of it. They'll know to skip the macaroni and cheese.
  • When it's time to clear the table, try not to enlist the help of every guest at the table. And don't disappear into the kitchen to wash the dishes. This looks like you're trying to get a leg up on things. That's rude. (If you have a small kitchen, loading the dishwasher is okay but don't run it.)
  • Toast your guests, thank them for being part of the day.
  • Try not to yawn in front of your company. This may look like you're bored or sleepy.
For guests...
  • Don't be late. There is no excuse.
  • Even if your hosts said they don't need anything, take a bottle of something or a small gift.
  • If you've offered to bring a dessert, bring dessert not a platter of deviled eggs as a surprise.
  • We like flowers but if you're being hosted by someone who's doing all the work, consider an arrangement so that they won't have to stop and tend to the flowers.
  • Offer to help but don't barge into the kitchen and start doing things.
  • Don't just grab a seat at the table, your host may have a seating plan.
  • Before the meal, wash your hands without making a general announcement.
  • Turn off your cellphone.
  • Don't talk about how much you love dressing with oysters when there is no oyster dressing on the table.
  • Let your host know in advance if you have dietary restrictions. Don't talk about your diet and how you're being a bad girl as you butter your second roll.
  • Dress appropriately, not every day is a jeans day.
  • If you have a lonely friend with no place to go, don't invite them along hoping that your host will understand. Your friend will only feel lonelier when there's no seat for him/her at the table.
  • Give thanks and toast your hosts.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016


TWOT! For a split second I thought my friend was calling a former friend a bad name, as I had described an email they'd sent  me. I called it an evilmail.

 “TWOT?” “The Wonders of Technology,” she explained. “People don’t think they have to pick up the phone anymore, just send an email or a text for anything – an apology, a thank-you, an issue they’re having with you, etc. Why be a grown up or display manners and pick up the phone?”

That people hide behind their emails is nothing new. We’ve all received that email that makes us scratch our head and then reply making the other person scratch their head because of course every word they wrote was right. And if it hurt, well they didn’t write it for their health or maybe they did, they needed to unload. So, somewhere in the middle of the night they decided to hijack your inbox.

What many don’t understand in this TWOT age is that vicious email you self-righteously sent is modern day bullying. Bullying today has little to do with schoolyard beefs. It can prove to be dangerous.

Think before you send. Do you really want those words to last forever? Would you want that email forwarded to people you don’t know and now they know something about you that they didn’t before? In this litigious society we live in, you don’t want to see a print out of that email presented during a deposition.

TWOT is here to stay, and so is every email we send.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Fork and Knife, How To Use Them

How to Eat 101

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


Foods such as broccoli, artichokes and salad greens like traps.
There's nothing more annoying than enjoying a nice meal in a restaurant and it happens – food gets stuck between your teeth.  You just want to go in and dig it out, many do. I saw a man this morning going to town with a toothpick in his mouth. We’ve discussed using toothpicks in public before, why they’re on the table, we don’t understand because no one not even the owner of a restaurant wants to see you digging in with a toothpick.
            The best thing to do is to go into the bathroom and remove it. Try not to get a jump on it and sit at the table moving your tongue furiously or sucking your teeth around the trap to clear it.  Try your very best to not take it out with your fingers while still at the table, it’s very tempting because you want it over and out.
            Buon Appetito!

Thursday, April 14, 2016


…someone tells you that you smell like their grandmother?

The receptionist at the doctor’s office could not have been nicer; she patiently made calls searching for records lost in the system. She took a pause to spit into a bottle. When she did that a second time, I asked her if she was all right. She explained that she was pregnant with her second child and had hypersalivation.  All I could say was, “Oh.” I wanted suggest that she turn away when she spits but I needed those records.

Happy that she located them, she told me, “You smell like my grandmother.” I was speechless. I never equated my grandmother to any kind of smell outside of the kitchen where the aroma of  her chicken and dumplings ruled, but I wasn’t wearing Eau de Chicken and Dumplings. 

“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Whatever you’re wearing, it smells like her.”
“It reminds me of my grandmother, she died and I’m getting sentimental.”

I thanked her for her patience and wished her well. I hope she teaches her children to think before they speak, impress upon them the importance of language and social skills and to never spit in public or at their desks.

Sunday, April 3, 2016



Let’s face it, when you sign on to brunch, you’re signing on to a deal.  You have agreed to a meal with a beverage thrown in (maybe one or two or three!)

Fair enough to ask that no onions be added your scrambled eggs because you’re allergic. But if you want the Cobb salad without the bacon, cheese, and chicken, then you really don’t want a Cobb salad. You want more of a green salad with some chopped egg on top and doesn’t include a drink. Remember, the beauty of the brunch for the restaurant and diner is that it’s usually a prepared done deal.  If you have that many restrictions, then maybe brunch isn’t the deal of a meal for you.

Today, I had the pleasure of hearing the all time stupid request – “Can you put the vodka for our drinks in a separate glass?” Aha! No doubt they figured this would embarrass the restaurant into giving them more vodka than they think they’re getting. (This particular restaurant is known for their good pours.) The waiter explained that there would be a charge for the vodka straight up. Wouldn’t you know, all of a sudden their Bloody Marys were just fine. Talk about trust issues.

Eat, drink and be merry, and be nice.

Monday, March 21, 2016


If it’s spring, it's  Galas Galore season.  We get all gussied up to see people honored, institutions celebrated while eating pricey plates of food. But there’s a bonus to this – in every gala dinner there’s a built in way to help you shed a few pounds for summer.

I suspect with all the issues in Washington DC between Democrats and Republicans maybe sitting in between the two will work to your advantage. Or maybe not since everyone is promising to talk to everyone.

It’s very easy.  Just sit in between people who like each other a lot and don’t know you very well.  They’ll probably throw you a question every now and then but mostly they want to catch up on old times that you had nothing to do with.

As they talk over your food they are unwittingly spraying spit onto your plate. Heavy drinkers are the worst. I have tried to place my hands over the plate as if I’m about say some kind of prayer but at a certain point, I’ve had to pick up my knife and fork.

You really can’t say anything. Maybe you can set an example by leaning back in your chair and talking to the person to their left or right and perhaps they’ll get the hint. Manage your expectations and have a bite before leaving home.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Valentine's Day And The Importance Of Sweetness
Many couples will celebrate their love on February 14th sitting in restaurants festooned with hearts dangling from the ceilings and red splashed everywhere. Men will clutch bunches of flowers and women will come up with cute, romantic ideas to make the day special.

Whatever comes your way, accept it and show how gracious you can be. Temper your expectations because for some men and women when it comes to Valentine's Day, they're just not that into it.

If it's important to you and you've been dating someone for more than three months, make it known. Even if it's not important, make that known too.

Avoid gloating at every cost. There is no need to call a friend whose relationship may not be as solid as yours and tell her or him in great detail what you received on Valentine's Day. If a friend calls and wants to know, share. They asked for it. 

Yvette ranted about Valentine's Day to an ex-boyfriend and noticed he remained silent. After she finished, he quietly told her that he liked The Sweetest Day, a special day celebrated in Ohio. Instead of a celebration of love, it began as a day to do something sweet for the less fortunate. While it's evolved into a more romantic day we hope that some diehards still think of the needy especially during these trying times.

I didn't know about the Sweetest Day several years ago when I brought sheets of stickers to the kitchen where I served the homeless. I made each and every man and woman my Valentine by pressing a sticker onto their napkins. Most didn't notice but some did.
I saw the smiles and felt the love.

We like the Sweetest Day. Maybe there's an elderly neighbor who could use some heart. Maybe this year with so many people unemployed, there's a way we can make this their sweetest day until something better comes along. And we all want that to be soon.

We wish you the sweetest Valentine's Day no matter how you want to look at it.

*We ran this post before, the message still stands and it's still sweet. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Importance of New Threads By Yvonne

We all can get a little lazy when it comes to emails, such as using the same subject line that has nothing to do with the most recent email.  Beware of long threads. Some are necessary when related to a project; they are solid proof of agreements, disagreements and next steps. But some can be problematic.

A few years ago I was making dinner plans with two friends. The emails went on and on with last minute schedule changes, cancellations and even illness.  As I scrolled through the week old thread, I came upon one email between my other two friends but I was copied all the same.  One mentioned to the other that he was over me regarding a personal experience I was going through.  He had washed his hands of me (his words). The other friend didn’t respond, if he did, he was smart enough to reply directly without dragging me into it.

If it’s not business, there’s no need to continue to send the same “used” email.  There is no cost for beginning a new one. I held onto that email for a while. I never confronted him, in the end I pressed delete and washed my hands.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


Next week, B. and Dan will be doing a talk and signing about their book, Before I Forget, on Tuesday, January 19th at Barnes and Noble, Broadway and 82nd Street at 7pm. I’m looking forward to seeing them, getting the book and listening to the talk. But, I wondered what would I or should I say if B. doesn’t remember me. Do I introduce myself? Do I make her remember that I’m one of the twins?

I shared my thoughts with Dan and asked if I could do a Q&A. I sent some questions and he gave me some answers, as only Dan can in his wise, funny and poignant way.

“Everything I say next is meant to help you understand the importance of making a person with Alzheimer’s feel comfortable. You have to find humor in tough situations or they become unbearable. So with that in mind, here are some of my tips.”

What is the major “don’t” when seeing B.?
Don’t say, “Do you remember me?” or jump into a reminiscence of past times together; she might not be able to follow you there. People with Alzheimer’s have enough don’ts and deficits. Their brains are already dissing them; they don’t need you to do so, too. It’s not about you; it’s about her. Be there in that moment. Be present. Just relax--she doesn’t need your tension, she needs your attention.

What is the major “do” when seeing B. and you?
Come bearing jokes…and if you don’t have any good ones to tell, at least consider bringing me some scotch. In all seriousness, any light you can bring to anyone wandering around in this disease’s darkness is a blessing.

How comfortable is she with handshakes, hugs, can this cause anxiety?
B. is a natural hugger; thank G-d that Alzheimer’s hasn’t erased that in her. It’s tricky, as everyone has a different personality and therefore a different response. But generally speaking, what you may see as hugging an old friend she more than likely will experience as a stranger approaching and encroaching on her space. You wouldn’t want some stranger coming up to you and pawing you, would you? Put yourself in her shoes and you’ll walk straight.

As an old friend, if she doesn’t recognize me – do I introduce myself as if we’ve never met? Do I simply state my name?
No one will ever take offense, especially those of us of a certain graying population, at someone saying hello by introducing or re-introducing themselves by name.  How many people do you see in your daily life whose face is familiar, but you just can’t quite grasp their name?  Give her the chance to say, “I remember you.”  It’s not something she gets to say as often as either of us would like.

As a caregiver, what should others do in public situations such as a book signing?
Bathe. No, seriously, it’s going to be crowded and loud and a little overwhelming for both of us, so a simple hello, a smile, and a quick thank you for ‘sharing our story’ or some other pleasantry (or joke) would be much appreciated.

For more information and how you can join the fight, click here.

And lastly, as B. used to say at the end of every one of their shows, “Thank you, Dan.”