Thursday, December 2, 2021

The Weirdest Cookie I've Ever Encountered

A few years ago, I discovered one of the most beautiful cookies I'd ever seen, and my first reaction was: I need to learn to how to make this!  So I bought a gorgeous cookie mold, and off I went to find the recipe (see here).  I made one single springerle for the Cookie Party that year - a huge, plate-sized centerpiece, covered in a cornucopia of fruits, vegetables, and leaves, and painstakingly hand-painted over the course of two hours - and it came out perfectly!  Except that "perfectly" means that it was so weird.  To be honest, I did not want to eat it, but Luke insisted that we try it after everyone went home that day.  After all, we needed to know where it belonged on our all-time Cookie Power Rankings spreadsheet (yes, that's a thing in the Hedrick household).  As it turns out, this cookie is actually delicious!

Springerle are German cookies that date from sometime around the 1500s, give or take a century.  I will note that this is long before artificial refrigeration became a thing in the mid-1700s, which accounts for some of the strange tactics that I'm about to describe.  The name springerle translates to "little jumper" or "little knight" - it's unknown precisely why they bear this name, but the earliest molds that have been discovered frequently depict horses, and the dough rises substantially when it's baked (it gets "feet" - like macarons, only much larger).  The dough is made without refrigeration, and it's packed into intricately-detailed molds.  Springerle were popular back in their day for many religious celebrations, but in recent times, like many other cookies, they have become a tradition for the winter holidays.

So why do I think this cookie is weird?  Well, for starters, after you make the dough and shape the cookies in the molds, you leave the cookies to dry for 24-48 hours.  The only step where you need to move quickly is between finishing the kneading of the dough and getting it into the mold.  The reason is that this dough very quickly develops a thin crust that will crack if you disturb it in the slightest way.  So you take the dough, roll it, stamp it with the mold, transfer them somewhere where they won't be in the way for a few days, and leave them to dry out.  That way, when you finally bake them, the beautifully-molded print stays exactly in place without expanding.  The reason you get the "feet" at the bottom is that the dried surface means that the only direction the dough can expand while it's baking is...down!

The next weird thing about springerle is the actual preparation of the recipe.  The first step in the recipe is "Beat eggs until thick and lemon-colored (10-20 minutes)."  Let me repeat that: Beat the eggs for TEN TO TWENTY MINUTES!  I have a Professional series KitchenAid (a same-day purchase a few years back when my Artisan died a loud and smoky death when tripling the Chocolate Dreams recipe proved to be too much "flour power" for it to handle), but this recipe causes the motor section to get uncomfortably hot after being on for so long.  It's actually quite an impressive feat to do this to eggs, especially when you remember that this recipe is from the 1500s!!  If you've ever tried to churn your own butter or make ice cream by hand, you'll understand how utterly exhausting a task this would be without an electric mixer.

Ok, so the eggs are finally thick and lemon-colored.  What's next?  The ingredient list is quite short, but the three main ingredients (in massive quantities) are eggs, powdered sugar, and fine cake flour.  There are also a few other ingredients in relatively miniscule amounts (butter, baking powder, salt, and whatever your flavoring is - mine use anise).  After adding everything but the flour, you once again mix it...for FORTY minutes!  That's 40 - four-zero - MINUTES.  My KitchenAid, at this point, is steaming hot and protesting loudly.

Another strange fact is that the recipe doesn't actually call for baking powder.  Instead, it calls for hartshorn.  Hartshorn (also known as baker's ammonia) is, as it sounds, made from deer antlers, and it was popular in the 17th & 18th centuries as a leavening agent in cookies and other baked goods.  It also helps the designs in cookies like springerle to retain their shape, and it makes baked goods last a bit longer.  Unfortunately, when baked, hartshorn also releases ammonia gas, which can combine with molecules in other common ingredients to form a carcinogen - so if you see a recipe that calls for hartshorn, go ahead and substitute baking powder instead (at the ratio of 1/2 tsp hartshorn to 1 tsp baking powder).

Finally, springerle recipes often note that these cookies are best after 3-4 weeks!  Most cookie recipes read like a race against the clock: "Don't turn your back, or they'll burn!" "Work quickly or the heat from your hands will..." "If you're making these during the summer, you may need to work extra quickly..." "Best if eaten within 48 hours."  Well, not springerle - springerle are apparently at their peak once they've aged a bit (and become rock-hard), so you can take your sweet time!

Monday, November 29, 2021

Cookie Party Kickoff!

 Hi all,

It's that time of the year again!  Ok, well, it's also time for putting up lights and lighting candles and singing holiday songs at the top of your lungs, but I meant that it's that time of the year when I take a week off from work and bake thousands of cookies.  I've been a bit MIA this year on this blog, but it's for very good reasons: In 2021, we bought a house, I started a new job, and we moved out of NYC, got a sweet, fluffy puppy, and survived 6+ months of home renovations and puppyhood (overlapping challenges).  But here we are, settled into the new house, snuggling that sweet puppy (whose name is Maple Bacon Hedrick), and in full swing with cookie baking.

Well, almost full swing.  As it turns out, this week is going to be one that requires, in addition to 75+ lbs of flour, a whole lot of patience and determination.  As I went to put the very first batch into the oven on Sunday, the oven door FELL OFF.  I wasn't about to waste that batch of lovingly- and painstakingly-piped cookies, so I ended up holding the oven door against the oven like Captain America's shield (that thing was surprisingly heavy!) while five successive batches took their turns spending 8.5 minutes inside.  263 cookies later, I finally put it down, massaged my aching shoulders, and went to bed.  My only regret is that Luke didn't snap a photo of this complete absurdity.

At this point, any rational human would have called it quits and sent out an email to their invitees stating that the Cookie Party was canceled this year and to keep an eye out for Take Two in a few months.  Not me!  I rearranged the baking schedule to do as much as I could without my oven, then packed up the car in the morning - puppy, flour, and all - and headed over to my parents' house to make some progress.  After a day filled with cookie dough and chaos (Maple gets very excited to see his Uncle Rex, my parents' black lab), there are now three types of cookies completed (over 500 in total) and two doughs ready to bake tomorrow, plus an appointment with an oven repairman tomorrow afternoon.  Wish me luck!

As an introduction for those of you who are new to the Cookie Party or to this blog, I will be blogging my progress this week, along with baking tips and stories about the cookies themselves or about the people who have played a role in this tradition.  Stay tuned for some sweet memories and delicious details later this week.

Love and cookies,


Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Sam's Quarantine Digest #53: August 11, 2021

Hi all,

Remember me? It's been a while! I have been busier than ever, on all fronts, but it's been worth it! I am now a very proud dog mom to the most beautiful little puppy I've ever seen. From his long tail that wags every time I go to pick him up, to his tiny little tongue that gives me thousands of kisses each day, Maple is absolutely perfect. I drove more than 21 hours over 3 trips in the past 2 months in the process of meeting him and bringing him home, and it was worth every second. I am now truly responsible for another living being, which is terrifying (like when a skunk wandered into our yard in the middle of the night while we were outside, and all I could think was "Oh my g-d, it is my job to protect him!" as I scooped him up and ran for the door), but I also already love him with my whole heart, and he clearly already loves me too, and there is no other feeling quite like this. I'm attaching one photo below, but you can see more photos of Maple here (and we'll be adding to this album over time).

I also made a new human friend recently. She's beautiful - inside and out - she's brilliant, she's witty, she's deep and introspective, she's an avid baker and chef (and pretty good at it - stay tuned for a link to her cooking blog soon!), she's well-read, she loves exploring new places, and she likes a lot of the same games and movies and books as I do - we're a perfect match! Oh, and did I mention that she's 7 years old? One of our closest friends is thinking about moving close to our new home (from very far away), and spending time with his daughter a few weeks ago was one of the highlights of the past two years for me. We made pizzas for everyone (making a big ol' mess in the process - one of the best parts of cooking, right?) and we spent some time chatting and getting to know each other. Somehow, this beautiful girl has had a difficult time making friends where she currently lives, but we were besties from the first moment, and I am so happy to be one of the first to welcome her to her new home, where I am certain she will fit right in. It just goes to show that we should never let other people dictate how we feel about ourselves - people can be cruel and stupid sometimes and can fail to see who we really are. And this is yet another reason that I am grateful for all the friends and mentors who are reading this - you helped me find my own view of myself and to recognize my own value, and that's where true confidence comes from. I can't wait to do the same for my new friend, and to help her realize just how amazing she really is.

And so, with that, below is a rundown of some fun options to fill your time this summer, although I hope you will also add one more activity to your itinerary - coming to visit me and to meet Maple! Luke and I are excited for him to meet as many people as possible (safely and separately, of course, but kids and dogs included). And we do have two fully-furnished guest suites now, so please let me know if you'd like to come over - you're welcome at 4 Dows Lane any time!

As always, previous digests can be found on my blog at If you have suggestions or would like to stop receiving these emails, just let me know.

Sending you hugs from afar,

NYC: The "Homecoming" Celebration
  • The Mayor's Fund to Advance New York is hosting a varied series of events as part of Homecoming NYC, celebrating this lull in the pandemic with outdoor events highlighting some of the many things that make NYC so special. You can see the full lineup here, but I'm including some highlights below:
  • The It's Time for Hip-Hop in NYC Summer 2021 series features four free concerts in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx next week, with the star-studded line-up including artists like George Clinton, Kool Moe Dee, Grandmaster Melle Mel, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Mobb Deep, Too $hort (I swear that's not just my stage name - I recommend "Bossy" with Kelis if you don't know his work), and even C&C Music Factory.
  • Rooftop Films is hosting a different free, outdoor film screening each day across NYC; see here for films and locations.
  • On Saturday, August 21, at 5pm, Homecoming Week culminates in a huge concert in Central Park, We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert. Reserved seats are quite expensive, but general admission (standing only) is free. You must provide proof of vaccination to attend.
  • The NYC Math Festival was yesterday, but MoMath has ongoing activities and events throughout the year - put your skills to the test and pick up some new ones, along with the whole family!
  • The Public's Mobile Unit is putting on performances around NYC as part of their Summer of Joy program, featuring the National Black Theatre, a Shakespearean troupe, and artist Malik Work; see here for locations and details.
  • NYCxDESIGN has curated five self-guided tours of the NYC boroughs, intended to introduce you to the creative side of some of our local neighborhoods.
  • TIL: Puppet theater is still a thing, and there are festivals for it. The Clemente is hosting an exhibit on puppet theater through the end of September, so if you're looking for a new way to pass the time, head over and check it out. But I can't promise that there are no strings attached. Da-dum, tch!
  • The Shed, at Hudson Yards, has an outdoor exhibit of AR art, The Looking Glass, open through August 29. From Thursday through Sunday each weekend in August, you'll also get treated to food trucks and Flexn dance classes!
  • Head over to Randall's Island next Saturday for an outdoor dance class - you can learn about the history and significance (as well as the steps) of the Wolosodon dance, with live drummers accompanying the dancers.
  • The PBS Short Film Festival 2021 has concluded, but you can still stream all entries here.
  • Alvin Ailey is a dance legend - and now a star on the big screen, as well. A new documentary, Ailey, debuted in NYC a few weeks ago, but it's now available in theaters across the country. Check here for locations.
  • Looking to escape the city? You can catch an outdoor dance performance of The Hikers at Storm King (a huge sculpture park near West Point) on Friday, August 20, or Saturday, August 21.
  • The BAAND Together performance series at Lincoln Center has an amazing lineup slated for Saturday, August 21, featuring the NYCB, the ABT, Alvin Ailey, Ballet Hispanico, and Dance Theatre of Harlem.
  • Ever been curious about the schooner moored at the South Street Seaport? It's once again open to the public to go on board for timed entry every weekend through October.
  • Ever wanted to be part of a Shakespearean insult battle? Now's your chance! Join the battle on August 22 in Queens, followed by a performance by a Shakespearean troupe.
  • El Museo del Barrio has an exhibit open right now, Estamos Bien - La Trienal 20/21 (through late September), featuring contemporary art from over 40 artists from the US and Puerto Rico.
Fun for everyone
  • Football is back! Happy preseason, everyone!
  • When's the last time you wished upon a star? Well, find yourself a dark spot and look up, and you just might get lucky! Check out the Perseids meteor shower through August 24.
  • Christina Tosi, the creative force behind Milk Bar, has a new show on Netflix called Bake Squad, and one of the cast members has the title "Pastry Illusionist" - need I say more? Incidentally, Milk Bar also now has pints of ice cream available at Whole Foods, in four flavors: Cereal Milk, Birthday, Milk Bar Pie, and Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow.
  • The NY Renaissance Faire is back, every weekend through October 3rd, in Tuxedo, NY.
  • Need to smile? Check out these humorous wildlife photos.
Treat your taste buds
  • Looking for a new way to chill this summer? Check out this recipe for halo-halo, a Filipino version of shaved ice that you can make yourself at home.
  • The Boulder JCC has some virtual cooking classes coming up (I plan to join both):
  • There aren't currently any new events scheduled but in case you missed them, you can see previous episodes of the Downtown Alliance's Dine Around Downtown series here, including recipes and demos from the chefs at Keste Pizza, Harry's, Fraunces Tavern, and more.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Sam's Quarantine Digest #52: May 19, 2021

Hi all,

I am once again a little late - it's been another crazy and exciting week around here! Not only did Luke and I get our first car on Friday, but our new puppy was also born! So about eight weeks from now, we will have a beautiful, snuggly bundle of joy in our new house. That said, I hate missing deadlines, so I will be shifting the Digest to a biweekly schedule to give myself a bit of breathing room, especially now that we are starting - slowly but surely - to regain little snippets of freedom here and there, or at least to relax into our routines a little more as the weather improves, the days get longer and brighter, and the world gets a little healthier and stronger.

I will resume our regularly-scheduled programming in my next email. However, I have a very important message for all of you today. As I mentioned last week, today is The Resolution Project’s annual day of giving, Giving Amplified. You can check out the exciting events for the day (including a discussion with Sheryl WuDunn, one of my personal heroes) here - I'll be dialed into nearly all of them and I hope you'll join me! In addition to that Q&A, another highlight for me will be a spotlight on mentoring where we hear from some of the Resolution Fellows about those who have helped them get to where they are today - you have all heard me talk about the importance of mentoring and role models in my own life, and I will be listening raptly to these stories as well.

Resolution, which funds, mentors, and supports undergraduate students so they can start their own social ventures, is very important to me. As I mentioned last week, I've been involved with Resolution for over a decade, since February 2010. I used to run a nonprofit myself, and I'd always told Resolution's founders that I couldn't join the team because I didn't feel comfortable asking for money for another organization while I worked at one myself. So the very day that I announced I was leaving to go to Google, Oliver responded and said, "So you'll join us now, right?!" And I am so grateful that I did! I've been a member of the Resolution Leadership Council ever since, and I've been able to watch this incredible organization grow, both in numbers and in impact, inspiring an entire generation of young, community-minded leaders along the way. Resolution Fellows have started social ventures ranging from community market gardens to help provide economic security for women in rural Uganda to digging clean water wells in Haiti to developing hydroponic farms that use bird feeders to create fertilization systems for crops - and that's just a sampling of the ventures whose names start with "A"! Resolution has supported hundreds of Fellows and ventures across the world since I've been involved, and I couldn't be prouder to be a part of this amazing organization!

I hope you will join me today in supporting The Resolution Project! You can contribute through the Resolution website here, or through my Facebook fundraiser here. An anonymous donor has also committed to matching all gifts today, up to $75,000, so your donation may be doubled! And please don't forget to take advantage of any matching programs your employer may offer in order to have the greatest possible impact with your donation today.

I'll leave you with some fun facts about Resolution:
  • There are over 540 Resolution Fellows around the world, working in 82 countries on issues like climate change, gender equality, and access to water.
  • More than 148,000 people have gained access to clean drinking water because of the efforts of Resolution Fellows.
  • In 2020, Resolution launched an emergency relief fund to help 79 Fellows across 27 countries handle unexpected expenses brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • In the last two years, Resolution has opened three innovation hubs in Kenya, Singapore, and Rwanda.
  • 35% of Fellows are working on addressing Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality Education. Thanks to these Fellows, more than 76,000 children have gained access to an improved quality of education.
  • 19% of Fellows are working on addressing Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender Equality, resulting in over 97,000 women and girls supported through empowerment initiatives.

Thank you so much!

As always, previous digests can be found on my blog at If you have suggestions or would like to stop receiving these emails, just let me know.


Sunday, May 9, 2021

Sam's Quarantine Digest #51: May 9, 2021

Hi all,

Today is Mother's Day.  (Love you, Mom!)  My mom has always been my best friend, my closest confidant, my biggest cheerleader, and my most trusted advisor.  So today's Digest is dedicated to her.

As many of you know, I've been a big fan and active supporter of The Resolution Project for a very long time now.  For over a decade, I've been a member of the Resolution Leadership Council, and many of you have probably heard my pitch before for getting involved (if you haven't, or if you need a refresher, stay tuned for next week's Digest).  May 19th marks this year's Giving Amplified, The Resolution Project's annual day of giving.  This year, the Resolution community is highlighting our mentors and those who have helped us become the people we are today.  Please join me by visiting and submitting a story about your First Believer - your superhero, the person who helped you become the person you are today.

I am fortunate enough to have many people who fit this description for me.  From my family, who have been there from Day One; to my bosses, mentors, teachers, and champions along the way who have taught me everything I know and challenged me to do more and do better; to my friends and colleagues and mentees who have all changed me in ways big and small and given me the energy to keep going along my path - there have been so many people who have come in and out of my life and have truly made me who I am today.  (If you're receiving this email, you're one of them!)  There's Congresswoman Lowey, who gave me my first real job and then gave me more and more responsibilities and convinced me that I could achieve anything I dreamed up.  There are Steve Stoute and Mary J. Blige, who trusted me to build something incredible alongside them and believed that I could learn anything, accomplish anything, and gave me the opportunity to prove just that.  There are Ken, and Ted, and Matt, and Iris, and so many other Google attorneys who trained me up from a kid with no legal experience to a budding lawyer, and who helped me take the leap of faith to go to law school.  There are my law school professors who coaxed my inner academic out of its shell and helped me publish two articles in one month.  There are Fred and Jason and Michael, who found me worthy to sit alongside them and find my own voice.  There are my Gunderson colleagues, who helped me through some of the toughest days of my life and taught me so much in such a short period of time. And there's my new boss, David, who saw that I was a perfect fit for my current role long before I did (he was right).  And that's just the tip of the iceberg!

But most of all, and before all the rest of you, there was, and is, and always will be my mom.  She knows me completely, and she loves me just the way I am.  Sometimes she laughs at me, sometimes she shakes her head at me, sometimes she tells me I'm wrong.  But she loves me and she believes in me.  Everything I have ever accomplished in my whole life, my mom was there.  Every time, she knew I would succeed before I did.  With every challenge I've faced, she knew what I struggled with, she knew my doubts, she knew the decisions I made along the way, and she knew what I really thought about it in the moment.  She helped me pick myself up after every failure, she advised me on every difficult decision, and she taught me to love myself.  Not only did she believe in me, but she taught me to believe in me, too.  And maybe that's what a real First Believer does - they teach us how to join them in that belief, and how to grow up into the person we can be.  Mom, I love you so much!  There are no words adequate to describe how grateful I am to have been born your daughter.  Thank you for believing in me!

As always, previous digests can be found on my blog at  If you have suggestions or would like to stop receiving these emails, just let me know.


Entertainment and Education

  • If you're as captivated by the beauty of spring as I am, check out this webinar on Wednesday on how to level up your garden photography game (no fancy camera equipment necessary).
  • Microsoft and Verizon are teaming up for a panel discussing emerging accessible technologies that are built to make a social impact and are designed for users across a spectrum of different identities, ethnicities, and abilities. Tune in on May 13 for Mind the Gap: Talking Impact, Identity, & Accessibility, featuring Heather Dowdy, Sr. Program Manager of AI & Accessibility at Microsoft and Margaux Joffe, Manager of Accessibility & Corporate Social Responsibility at Verizon.
  • Miss the ballet? Me too. This summer, check out ABT Across America for an opportunity to see an outdoor performance in your city - the ABT will be going on a good old-fashioned road trip, with outdoor shows, family activities, fitness classes, and more offered at each stop along their journey.
  • Ever wanted to be a fly on the wall in the Oval Office? Check out this interactive guide to the art adorning those fascinating walls and the stories behind each piece.
  • I'm in a New York state of mind, and you can be, too. Headspace is now offering free meditation resources for all New Yorkers - just check out their page for New Yorkers here.
  • My dog-in-law, Taku, was featured on Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet yesterday. It's not really a good thing to be an animal featured on that show (Dr. Oakley is, well, a vet, and if you need her help and it's exciting enough to be on TV, that's not great). However, I'll give a spoiler alert here and say that this story has a happy ending. My mother-in-law was on the show, too (Happy Mother's Day, Bonnie!), and she'll be giving Taku some extra snuggles for all of us. Another spoiler alert: He's a very good boy.

The best way to a mom's heart is...

  • Recipe of the Week: Icebox Cake. My mom's favorite cake (ok, maybe one of a few) is Icebox Cake. You know, the one made from Nabisco's Famous Chocolate Wafers and tastes like one giant, squishy, delicious Oreo? You can make this in any shape - it's traditionally log-shaped, but you can build any shape you'd like, and I once made it in a heart-shaped pan for my mom. More good news? You only need five ingredients (and one is optional)! Start by combining 5 cups heavy whipping cream, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract in a large bowl and use a stand mixer or an electric beater to beat just until stiff peaks form. Spread a layer of chocolate wafers along the bottom of whatever pan you're using (or make a freeform shape on a cookie sheet). Spread a 1/4"-thick layer of the whipped cream over the wafers. Add another layer of wafers, then another layer of whipped cream, and so on until you have about 1 cup of whipped cream left so that you can spread it across the top of the cake. If desired, top off with chocolate shavings (I use a microplane or cheese grater and a bar of semisweet baking chocolate). If you want a more decorative look, you can use white chocolate and you can even make multicolored confetti by melting the white chocolate, stirring in some food coloring, and freezing it back into a gratable form. Refrigerate at least overnight; ideally, about 24 hours. Serve to someone you love; bonus points if you bring two forks. Love you, Mom!

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Sam's Weekly Quarantine Digest #50: May 2, 2021

Hi all,

This week's Quarantine Digest marks the 50th edition!'s late.  Two weeks late.  So today, I'm thinking about forgiveness for ourselves.  Sometimes, life throws us curveballs.  Sometimes, we have commitments that preclude us from doing other things we want to do.  And sometimes, we just plain get overwhelmed by our to-do list.  And that's ok.  It's completely normal, and most of the time, the person who's most upset by your failures

Particularly as women, we're used to hearing that we should apologize less.  And I do believe that - in the right circumstances.  I do think we should apologize to other people when we screw up and it affects someone else, or when we do something wrong.  However, as my own harshest critic all my life, I do also believe that we should stop being so hard on ourselves and criticizing ourselves, or getting so frustrated when we fail to meet our own internal promises.  I can't even count the number of times I've started apologizing to people and had them brush it off and assure me that they were not upset at my delay, or that they hadn't even noticed it because they'd been so busy themselves, nor the number of times other people have apologized to me and called themselves a "terrible friend" or started pouring out excuses for a slow response to an email or a text, where my own reaction was simply pure delight at hearing from them!

So yes, I'm late in sending this out.  But because of that, it's full of even more wonderful tidbits than it otherwise would have been.  I have no great excuses for the delay this time.  I've simply been busy with other things - things that make me happy, things that stress me out, things that simply need to get done.  In the past three weeks, life happened - I've been working hard to build my new life with Luke in our new home, I've been working hard at my new job, and I've been working hard at trying to carve out time to relax and spend time (virtually or otherwise) with my family and friends (and sometimes just by myself).  And so, with that: To those of you who eagerly await this email each week, I do apologize for making you wait.  However, I've already forgiven myself, and I hope you will as well!

As always, previous digests can be found on my blog at  If you have suggestions or would like to stop receiving these emails, just let me know.


Keeping Yourself Busy

  • Want to catch up on this year's Best Picture nominees from the Oscars? Check out this article laying out where you can watch each one.
  • Hoping to travel within the country, but missing traipsing through the European countryside ogling castles? Well, turns out we have a few of those stateside, too. All of these US castles are available for stays via AirBnB!
  • Own a grill for the first time, or looking to up your game this summer? Check out this guide to grilling, courtesy of Thrillist and Boar's Head.
  • If you missed last week's meteor shower, you've got another chance this week! Although we're actually nearly midway between the viewings of Halley's Comet (last seen in 1986 and not expected again until 2061), this week's meteor shower is actually debris from the comet. Check out the details here.
  • Governors Island is reopening to the public on June 12. Through October 31st, visitors can view the current season of art exhibits, including commissioned works by internationally renowned artists Meg Webster and Onyedika Chuke and a participatory sculpture installation by Muna Malik.
  • The Public Theater has two shows available to stream right now: One is an audio production called Shadow/Land, a drama set amid the ongoing devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the first of a 10-play cycle examining the ongoing effects of disaster, evacuation, displacement, and urban renewal in and around New Orleans following Katrina. The other is a bilingual audio play called Romeo Y Julieta, featuring Lupita Nyong'o as Julieta and Juan Castano as Romeo.
  • LMCC has launched this year's SU-CASA programs, which features artists and art organizations collaborating to offer free, remote creative aging projects for Manhattan's older adults.
  • Did you know that New York has a wolf conservation center? Me either. But it does, and it's full of webcams!
  • The Legoland Discovery Center in Yonkers has reopened!
  • Last chance to order a LovePop card in time for Mother's Day! Don't forget to check out their amazing full-sized paper-flower bouquets as well.
  • Want to try something new for your next virtual game night? Check out this list of multiplayer game apps and websites.

Keeping Yourself Hungry
  • Bored of ordering from the same 10 neighborhood restaurants on Seamless for the past year? Check out this list of 78 new restaurants that have opened in NYC during the pandemic.
  • It's strawberry season! Check out this list of 30 different recipes featuring one of this season's most beloved fruits.
  • Dining Around Downtown is back! You can sign up for a free cooking class with the chefs from some of the best restaurants in lower Manhattan, although donations to the chefs' charities of choice are encouraged! This week is the executive chef of Fulton, and past episodes are linked to here.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Sam's Weekly Quarantine Digest #49: April 11, 2021

 Hi all,

I am officially a suburbanite now.  We've been in the house for about 7 weeks, and each day I look around and feel so grateful that all these pieces are finally clicking into place!  In the past few weeks, I've leased a Subaru, put together rocking chairs for the front porch, planted tomato seedlings, and declared war on the woodpecker that has identified the chimney in our bedroom as the best "singing-post" to drum on to attract a mate (at 6am).  Instead of sirens and neighbors' bass beats, the sounds that interrupt my meetings are cranky birds, the Chicken Dance blasting from the elementary school soccer field nearby, and (only once, thankfully) a squirrel that climbed down my office chimney mid-day and began screaming (it made it out ok).  My weekends are spent making trips to Home Depot or the grocery store, picking out towel bars, or raking up leaves in the yard.  We even piled into the car yesterday and had our first real in-person visit, playing games and running relay races in the yard with two of our closest friends and their kids - I cried when we hugged good-bye at the end because I'd been missing hugs (and friends) so much!

And then, today, I discovered Costco.  Ok, so I've been there before, but I think I can count the number of times on my fingers.  I remember my first trip with Petra in high school, when I (naturally) wandered into the chocolate aisle and then walked around the rest of the store clutching my finds in my arms as though someone would try to steal them from me, while wondering who was ever able to get those items from the top shelves (answer: no one).  Then there were the times in college that Mary drove me there to get chips and sodas for our full-dorm parties, and one or two trips more recently with Jess and Anthony to get supplies for backyard barbecues (obviously including the two-pack of jumbo Nutella jars to take home with me).  But I've never shopped there for my own home before.  And it's intimidating!  I'll be honest: I feel a little guilty - do I really need that box of Cornflakes that's fully the size of my entire torso?  Unlikely.  Will I really eat the entire Dutch oven's worth of shrimp scampi before it goes bad?  TBD.  But mostly, I found the entire experience to be magical.  Being able to plan ahead in a way I've never had space for before is so satisfying!  And capping off the experience with a gigantic $1.50 hot dog combo in a front-seat picnic was such a treat!

I don't have any deep life lessons to share from my trip to Costco today - I'm just plain happy.  Perhaps the lesson is to keep your eyes on the prize - know what you want, and keep working toward that until your dreams come true.  I've wanted this day so desperately for so long, and it feels like every single struggle has been worth it to reach this moment, in this exact position in life, as exactly who I've become along the way.

As always, previous digests can be found on my blog at  If you have suggestions or would like to stop receiving these emails, just let me know.


Fun & Games
  • In March 2021, 28-year-old Linjie Deng, a Chinese conceptual artist, was attacked in the NYC subway while being referred to as "yellow."  He decided right then and there to reclaim that Asian slur and started working on three pieces featuring yellow as the main color.  This art exhibit intended to combat Asian hate, titled Asian Art SPA, features those works and some of his others; you can see it at Carlton Fine Arts Ltd. at 543 Madison Avenue through May 24.
  • Iconic Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama has taken over the New York Botanical Garden with her whimsical pumpkins and flower sculptures, plus one of her popular infinity rooms.  I'm not sure what will be the most startling aspect - going to a public place, being surrounded by so much beauty after being confined to the four walls of our homes for the past year, or the sculptures themselves, which you'll stumble upon as you walk through the gardens, just as you would a beautiful, attention-grabbing flower.
  • Coney Island reopened this weekend, including six new kids' rides!
  • Works & Process is a street dance project filmed at Lincoln Center as part of The Black Dancing Bodies Project, an ongoing documentary effort to represent Black women in street and club dance culture (including street and club dance, hip-hop, house dance, Waacking, and Lite Feet) through a series of sessions that include photography and interviews. Check it out here and catch the third premiere of the series next Sunday at 7:30pm.
  • Although it likely won't be ready for the summer rush, the Brooklyn Bridge will be getting a two-way bike lane this year!
  • Miss comedy clubsThis one in Brooklyn is now offering outdoor shows daily.
  • Not sure if his dream will come true, but one of NYC's mayoral candidates has proposed a series of pop-up pools across the city (and its waterways).
  • If you haven't seen it already, this video has been circulating lately, showing the New York City waterfront in the 1930s.  The film came from the Prelinger Archive, but it was enhanced and colorized with the help of AI.
  • The Brooklyn Public Library is offering outdoor "whispering libraries" at 10 locations across Brooklyn this spring and summer.  Each branch will hide speakers outside and play music, poetry, oral histories, podcast excerpts, and spoken literature up to five times each day, and each will feature customized playlists reflecting the neighborhoods they serve.

Recipe of the Week: Everything Bagel Cookies
  • NOTE: This is an experiment.  You will be putting garlic and onions in a cookie.  If that makes you say "ew," a) be more open to trying new things, but b) this probably isn't the right recipe for you.  It is time-intensive and legitimately hard work.  But I think it's delicious.  Also, Rosie and Caitlin, I dedicate this to you.
  • Add 1.5 cups flour, 1 tsp baking soda, and 1/4 tsp salt to a bowl; whisk gently to mix.  Beat 1/2 cup softened butter on high speed until creamy, about 1 minute.  On medium speed, mix in 3/4 cup light brown sugar and 1/4 cup granulated sugar until combined.  Beat in 1 egg (room temp), 1 tbsp milk, and 1.5 tsp vanilla extract.  Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients; stir on low until a soft, sticky dough forms, then stir in 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (chips are optional).  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the freezer.
  • While dough is chilling, combine 4 oz cream cheese (softened), 2 tbsp butter (softened or even slightly melted), 1 tsp vanilla, and 1-2 cups powdered sugar and mix until thick and creamy (it should spread a little in the bowl, but it shouldn't be liquidy - if it is, add more powdered sugar; if it's too thick, add a few drops of milk or vanilla at a time).  Freeze for a couple of hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Pour some everything bagel seasoning into a small bowl.  Scoop 1 heaping tbsp dough into your palm and flatten it out.  Use a teaspoon or small melon baller to scoop a small ball of cream cheese filling (maybe 1/2 tsp, or the size of a hazelnut), or maybe a macadamia nut for a bigger scoop of dough.  Seal up the dough around it, and roll lightly in your hands until smooth and round.  Roll each ball in the everything bagel seasoning; press gently into the seasoning if it doesn't stick right away.  Place two inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.  Repeat with remaining dough.  Bake for 10-11 minutes, until just set (and not shiny) - the tops may not brown, but the bottom should.  If they don't spread and stay very dome-shaped, press them down lightly with the bottom of a glass right when they come out of the oven.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Sam's Weekly Quarantine Digest #48: April 5, 2021

 Hi all,

Last night, I was sad that I was sending out the Digest late this week, but this morning, I found out that it was fate.  Today, the Supreme Court finally ruled on Google v. Oracle, the landmark copyright case that I mentioned back in October, and now I get to talk about it.  This case and I started at Google around the same time back in 2010, right when I was starting my legal career.  It sparked a decade of learning and helped me discover my passion for copyright law.  And today, after 10+ years of waiting and uncertainty and multiple illogical rulings by the Federal Circuit, the Supreme Court finally got it right and probably saved the Internet as we know it!  (Ok, so I feel pretty strongly about this one!).  I'm going to try to provide a high-level (yet still unavoidably lengthy) explanation of the issues in this case.

First, a little background: Google v. Oracle is rooted in the creation of the Android operating system and Google's use of "declaring code" from Java.  Java was, at the time, the coding language for this type of software - it completely dominated the desktop coding market.  Declaring code is essentially just the names used to identify certain functions of a software program - for example, if you want to add two things together, you could call that function "addition," or you could call it "banana" or "gazebo" or anything else you'd like.  Coders everywhere had already learned the names that Java had assigned to the various functions of its software.  When Android's coders decided to create their mobile platform, they faced a quandary: use the same names that nearly every developer was already familiar with, given Java's market dominance, or hope that those same developers would decide to give some unknown new start-up (Android) a chance and willingly invest hours of their own time learning a new language in order to do so - in other words, hope that programmers would learn that "gazebo" in Android means the same function as "banana" in Java.  (This example is 100% made up; any resemblance to real names is unintentional).  Google (or rather, Android, which was at the time an independent start-up) chose the former; however, they only used the declaring code (the names of the functions), and they wrote the "implementing code" (the code that actually implements, or carries out, the function) from scratch.  During the oral arguments in October, Breyer was especially swayed by the notion that Java's declaring code was like the QWERTY layout of a keyboard - there were plenty of other ways to design a keyboard at the beginning, but once every computer user on the planet had learned to type, it would have been nearly impossible for a newcomer to try to enter the market with a different layout, because no one would ever bother to learn it and everyone would continue to buy the QWERTY ones.  It's a pretty good analogy...)

From a legal standpoint, this case was about two things: 1) whether APIs (or specifically, here, the bits of declaring code that were copied) are copyrightable, and 2) whether using declaring code in order to make other software programs interoperable is a sufficient basis for fair use.  In other words, IF Oracle (Java) should be granted a copyright monopoly over the declaring code (question #1), should Google (Android) have been obligated to pay Oracle for the convenience of using "banana" over "gazebo" and taking advantage of coders' familiarity with those names (question #2)?  SCOTUS declined to answer the first question (this is normal and expected, and likely because the justices in the majority didn't agree on that point), but they decided in Google's favor on the second.  And in the process, Justice Breyer, who wrote the majority opinion here, a) took a pretty novel approach to the fair use analysis and each of its four factors (intriguing); b) referred to a hypothetical software engineer as "she" (woo-hoo!); and c) directly contradicted one of the most famous and oft-cited lines in legal history (boo; see below for details).*

So what does this mean for us?  If you're a software engineer, or if you work at a tech company, or if you ever use the Internet, the answer is probably "not much."  However, this is a good thing - this is a little like me telling you that a meteor almost hit the Earth and destroyed it, but that the governments of the world secretly banded together and blew it up before the moment of impact (yes, I'm citing Armageddon).  You can just go on with your normal life, but you should probably take a second to thank your lucky stars that such a devastating crisis was averted.  And that's sorta what happened here, IMHO - the Internet and the entire software and start-up industries almost died this year, but the crisis was averted.  Yes, I'm being a bit dramatic, but trust me - this decision is a BFD.

If you're a fellow IP or tech lawyer, this means even more for us.  I think we'll spend years reading different interpretations of the reasoning used in this opinion, and of Breyer's approach to each of the four fair use factors (the fourth factor analysis was bonkers, but also kind of awesome, amirite?).  I think we'll see future opinions that apply fair use in new and novel ways, and I think we'll see an expansion of the doctrine.  In many ways, I'm in favor of that.  I also think we'll see more judges focusing on incentivist arguments (if you actually read my AI paper, you'll know that I'm a big fan of those) and deciding, first and foremost, if the decision being made in a case at bar aligns with the main purposes of copyright law - not only to incentivize the creation of a particular work by allowing the creator to profit from it and recoup the costs of creating it, but also to increase the overall number of works being created by allowing others to create new works.  We'll be forced to actually decide, little by little, how to thread the needle between the necessary act of granting monopoly rights over a work to its author and allowing other potential creators to continue to create.  And last but not least, I think we'll finally displace the infamous SCOTUS shovel with references to "el dinosaurio," and we'll hear more about QWERTY keyboards than we ever imagined possible.

Regardless, this is a tremendous, watershed moment for copyright law, for start-ups, and for the Internet (and, clearly, for me).  As someone who not only spent the formative years of my legal life at Google, but has also been steeped in copyright academia for several years and went on to work in the start-up world, this victory is unbelievably sweet for me.  I want to take a moment to congratulate the entire Google team (both those who are still there, and those of us who are part of the diaspora of alumni) - this has been a tremendous effort over a very long time, and the people who have been leading the charge are my heroes and mentors and have truly shaped copyright law forevermore.  I also want to thank my teammates at Google who first taught me what any of this meant, my professors and classmates who spent hours discussing (and arguing about) this case during law school, and everyone along the way who has let me prattle at them for hours at a time about fair use and declaring code and why the Federal Circuit is bonkers (Luke and Mom, I'm especially looking at you here).  I, for one, will sleep a little easier tonight knowing that justice was served!

As always, previous digests can be found on my blog at  If you have suggestions or would like to stop receiving these emails, just let me know.


*The quote referenced above is from Judge Learned Hand (an extremely well-respected judge from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in the early 1900s): "[N]o plagiarist can excuse the wrong by showing how much of his work he did not pirate." Sheldon v. Metro-Goldwyn Pictures Corporation, 81 F.2d 49 (2d Cir. 1936).  Breyer at a few points said precisely the opposite, highlighting the many lines of implementing code that Google did not copy, as though that explained everything.  I respectfully disagree with him on that point, but he reached the right result nonetheless!

Fun & Games
  • A college friend of mine, Kyle Nasser, is a brilliant jazz musician, and he just shared a project that he's been working on during the quarantine, called Triple Blind.  Without live performances, jazz music, too, had to adapt to a virtual world, and this wonderful album is the result!  All sales go to Project Corazon, so you can listen to amazing music and help change the world all in one go.
  • I don't usually wade into the waters of TV recommendations, but I just binge-watched an entire season of Ginny & Georgia on Netflix today, and it was fantastic!  If you liked Little Fires Everywhere or Pretty Little Liars, this is your next favorite show.
  • Kyle Abraham, an unbelievable, up-and-coming choreographer (and dancer) for the NYCB, has a new piece premiering on April 8th.  His first piece for the NYCB, The Runaway, is one of my favorite pieces ever, featuring not only exciting choreography and inspired and unique costumes, but also music by James Blake, Jay-Z, and Kanye West.  This latest piece, When We Fell, is his third for NYCB and was created with 8 NYCB dancers during a 3-week Covid residency bubble that was subsequently filmed at Lincoln Center.
  • Have you ever considered training to become a ballet teacher?  The ABT offers teacher training, and their next round kicks off this summer (virtually).  Check out the details here.
  • Ok, I realize that the boat is no longer stuck.  But I forgot to include this link last week, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I like that the boat [was] stuck, and this article absolutely accurately summed up why.
  • Mind Body Social is offering a number of free streaming workouts and wellness videos in celebration of Miami Beach Pride, from yoga to a "firefighter workout."  Pick the one that fits your interests best, and get moving!
  • So this is weird (and spot-on).  Never thought that the biggest riddle of 2021 just might be figuring out how to dress myself again.
  • Need a new virtual escape?  How about taking a tour of the White House?
  • The 21st Annual Mercy College International Film Festival (virtual, of course) starts tomorrow and runs through Friday.  Tune in at 6:30pm each night on Filmocracy for speaker introductions and feature films from across the globe.
Cooking Classes and Other Yummy News
  • Jew-ish Cook-Along: This cook-along, hosted by Billy Harris, will take place on May 1.  I participated in a fried chicken cook-along with Tyler Florence last May that is still one of the highlights of the quarantine for me (and the impetus to create an Instagram account), so I'm excited for this one!
  • Vaccinated?  You're eligible for a free Krispy Kreme donut every single day this year!  Be sure to laminate your vaccination card, since you'll be wanting to flash it daily!
  • 92Y has an incredible slate of cooking classes coming up this spring, spanning many regions and cuisines, all with amazing instructors.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Sam's Weekly Quarantine Digest #47, March 28, 2021

 Hi all,

Tonight is the second night of Passover, and the second seder (the festive meals that begin this Jewish holiday).  The Haggadah - the book that tells the story of Passover, and which we read at the seders - includes a line near the beginning that reads "Let anyone who is hungry, come in and eat..."

In normal times, I would invite many of you to join me and my family for our seders - over the years, many of my friends have joined us, from my closest friends to new acquaintances from my first semesters at Harvard and NYU to colleagues from the whole arc of my career.  My family's seders are something I've always enjoyed, and something I've been proud to share with the people in my life.

I've decided to continue that tradition in these decidedly abnormal times as well - although we can't invite you to come over and join in person (and, indeed, my family is scattered in our various homes again this year), we'd love for you to join our virtual version.  If you've never been to a seder but are curious, or if you have and enjoyed it, or if you don't even know what a seder is, or if your family isn't doing one this year and you miss it, please let me know and I would be more than happy to share the Zoom link with you.  Although I now lead our seders these days, and I'll be the first to admit that I'm no match for my grandfather's confident theatrics and sonorous voice that are so much a part of my childhood memories, I do my best to stay true to our traditions.  We'd be thrilled to welcome anyone who would like to join us this evening.  We'll open the Zoom for hellos at 5:30pm EST, with the seder itself starting around 6pm.

As always, previous digests can be found on my blog at  If you have suggestions or would like to stop receiving these emails, just let me know.


Entertainment and Education
  • Ok, so we can't really fly to Paris for fun yet, and most of us still aren't up for trips to museums, but the Louvre just released its entire collection online!  Bon voyage!
  • Looking for a more structured guide to famous art?  Check out this online class on the art and history of Florence, courtesy of 92Y.
  • Is MasterClass not quite scratching your itch to learn new skills?  Check out this list of nine free courses being offered online by NYU - most are computer-related, but there's also one on Performance Studies.
  • For the baseball fans out there, 92Y is offering free online streaming of a literary performance of Don DeLillo's classic baseball novella Pafko at the Wall; it was performed in October 2019 by Billy Crudup, Zachary Levi, and Tony Shalhoub, and was followed by a discussion among writers Jennifer Egan and Rowan Ricardo Phillips and Harper's Magazine web editor Violet Lucca.  The video will be available here through Tuesday.
  • NJPAC has brought back the open mic - virtually, of course.  Check out the next performance on April 1.
  • If your kids are fans of How to Catch a Monster, be sure to catch this reading by the author!
  • Looking to inspire your kids with the stories of other amazing kids?  In the 1990s, when the ADA was stalling in Congress, activists organized a demonstration to show lawmakers how difficult it was for people with physical disabilities to move around in public spaces, and demonstrators shed their assistive devices like crutches and wheelchairs to crawl up the front steps of the U.S. Capitol.  This kids' book, All the Way to the Top, tells the true story of Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins, the youngest participant at 8 years old.
  • The New York Times Book Review is 125 years old!  Take a virtual tour through the history of the Book Review here.
  • SCOTUS is back!  The full list of cases being argued this week can be found here, but the highlight is probably the NCAA compensation case on Wednesday at 10am EST - you can listen to all the oral arguments on C-SPAN's website here.
  • Are you a coder?  Check out this game inside of a font!
  • Children of the '80s and '90s, rejoice!  Toys 'R' Us will be making a comeback this year, with new stores opening in time for the holiday season.
  • Have a vaccine appointment, but need transportation?  Curb is offering free transportation to vaccine appointments for all New Yorkers, via taxi or ambulette service.  See here for details.  Lyft and Uber are also offering free rides nationwide - see here for details on how to take them up on the offer.
  • I'm a little late on this for this year, but apparently, it's quite easy to create a custom Haggadah for your next seder at, with options to either download it as a PDF or order prints.  I will definitely be looking into this for next year!
Passover Recipes: One of my family's, plus a few from the internet that look delightful.
  • Matzah Brei (aka "fried matzah"): Break 2 sheets of matzah into 9 pieces each.  Place in a bowl, cover with water, and soak for about 20 seconds - you want it to soften a bit, but you don't want it to get waterlogged and start disintegrating!  Drain the water and add 1 egg (if you like it eggier, use 1 egg/sheet), and salt and pepper to taste.  Melt 1 tbsp butter in a saute pan over medium heat, wait until it froths and browns slightly (or not, if you're hungry), then add the matzah and cook, stirring occasionally, until the egg is thoroughly cooked (it will get less shiny as it cooks).  If you want to mix things up a bit and go savory, try adding some chopped rosemary, or some garlic and parmesan cheese.  If you want to go sweet, try some cinnamon sugar (only recommended for those with a serious sweet tooth, or for Day 8 when everything is starting to taste the same).
  • Passover Popovers
  • Martha Stewart's Toffee-Chocolate Matzah
  • Passover Macaroons

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Sam's Weekly Quarantine Digest #46, March 21, 2021

 Hi all,

Today was the second day of spring, and Mother Nature was showing off!  It was a beautiful day here in New York, and Luke and I spent it doing a bit of light gardening and gearing up for a number of home-improvement projects over the next few weeks and months.  It seems everyone is working on their homes - everywhere I turn, I see gardeners seeding lawns and people swarming Home Depot, and I hear carpenters hammering on roofs and even woodpeckers building their nests.

It's still Women's History Month, and perhaps the best tribute I can offer is a brief overview of my own women's history.  One of the pieces of art I am most looking forward to hanging on our walls is a piece of family history - my great-grandmother's apron.  Nanny, as she was called, is responsible for passing down nearly all of our family recipes, from our brisket (I think every Jewish family has its own secret recipe!) to our Passover matzah kugel to our Rosh Hashanah kreplach.  Although I never met her, I'm lucky enough to have been given her china (so I will actually be able to serve Nanny's dishes on Nanny's dishes), her rolling pin (clearly well-loved), and her pink skirt-apron.  I actually use the apron often, so my plan is to use a front-open shadowbox to allow me to both display it as art and easily grab it when I start baking.

When I think of my childhood memories of food, I picture my grandmother's French toast, baking cookies with my mom or making matzah brei or pancakes or her famous chicken cutlets, and that same family brisket cooked to perfection by my aunt.  I think of our family gathering around my parents' dining room table for the seder, with my mom magically making dozens of dishes appear, flawlessly, from the kitchen.  But when I think of the women in my family, food isn't the only thing that comes to mind.  I think of strength, and feistiness, and the freedom to speak our minds.  I think of my grandmother telling me I could be anything, do anything, dream of - and achieve - anything.  I think of how much I've always looked up to my cousin, Melissa, and how much my little cousins, Ava and Dylan, inspire me every day.  The women in my family (both those I've mentioned and the others who I'm thinking of) have made me who I am, and I am absolutely proud of that, and of all of them.  On my wedding day, I requested this photo - of me, my mom, and my paternal grandmother - and I think it speaks volumes about who I am and how I got to where I am today.  To the women of my family, thank you.  I love you.  To everyone else, happy Women's History Month!

As always, previous digests can be found on my blog at  If you have suggestions or would like to stop receiving these emails, just let me know.


The Vaccine
i've been trying to avoid giving advice on how to get the vaccine, since it varies so wildly from state to state, but here's what I know:
  • There is now an unofficial national waitlist called Dr. B that promises to match up people who are interested in getting the vaccine and clinics or distribution sites with leftover doses each day that will go to waste if not used.
  • Remember to check your state's eligibility criteria and guidance for making an appointment.
  • I've also heard of success calling local pharmacies and keeping an eye out for pop-up distribution sites.
  • I've also heard that some states are allowing people to volunteer for a few hours of volunteer work fielding calls and helping eligible people to get appointments (such as the elderly, who have largely struggled with the online appointment systems) in exchange for getting an appointment of their own.
  • Stay calm and patient - the rollout appears to go fairly smoothly in most areas of the country, and the speed is picking up as more and more of those who enthusiastically want the vaccine are getting it.  The numbers of cases, hospitalizations, deaths, and more are also dropping fairly quickly.  That doesn't mean we should let our guard down, but it is a reasonably hopeful sign!  Stay safe, stay cautious, and stay hopeful!
Passover and Easter
  • Passover begins next Saturday evening.  The quarantine is preventing us, for the second time in a row, from gathering together as a family for the seders.  However, that doesn't mean you have to forego the traditional seder feast.  Here are some options for delivery of either Passover meals or the fixings to make them yourself:
    • FreshDirect offers wonderful Passover dishes - they're absolutely delicious, easy to have delivered, easy to make, and even come with a run-of-show to keep you on track and simplify the art of juggling your entrees and sides and get everything on the table on time.
    • Check out this article about where to order delivery meals from for Passover in cities across the country.
    • If you live in London, Deliveroo has you covered!
    • Zabar's will deliver a seder meal for 6 (or 12).
    • Goldbelly has plenty of options for delivery of Passover treats, including this often-recommended option from Philly's Abe Fisher.
    • Days United offers holiday kits complete with crafts and baking projects, games, and holiday paraphernalia.
    • Kosher Box has a whole Passover menu to choose from for delivery.
    • J-Chef, a kosher meal kit company, has kosher-for-Passover selections in next week's boxes for subscribers.
    • Baldor's offers numerous Passover items, including pre-made items from iconic restaurants (even Hill Country is getting in on the action this year), as well as high-quality grocery items, and they'll even deliver full seder plates and entire festive meals.
    • Tune in for a Passover desserts cooking class tomorrow evening (7-8:30pm Mountain Time, $10/household), or a Virtual Women's Seder on Wednesday, both courtesy of the Boulder JCC.
  • For Easter meals, try these options:
    • Baldor's also has plenty of Easter options, including a meal from legendary caterer Abigail Kirsch - scroll down to the bottom half of this page to see the selection.
  • Struggling to envision a virtual seder, or to find the right groceries for your seder plate?  Here is some helpful advice from the Rabbinical Assembly, including items you can substitute for hard-to-find seder plate staples and resources for remote celebrations.   They have also made available a Haggadah supplement for the 2021 seders to commemorate the losses of the past year, and a free download of a Haggadah if you want to ensure that everyone around the Zoom table has the same text in front of them.
  • For Easter celebrations, try these tips for a virtual Easter Egg hunt, or these alternate activity ideas.
Recipes of the Week: In honor of Women's History Month!