Design

Four Fun Things

white tiger

Oh my gosh, have you seen the new movie White Tiger? I watched it on Sunday and cannot stop thinking about the story of a young man in India who becomes a driver for a very rich family and tries to climb out of poverty. The star, Adarsh Gourav, is a master at conveying subtle emotions — yearning, shame, gratitude, rage — with the smallest arch of an eyebrow or tilt of his head. Here’s the trailer, but I’d actually recommend skipping it and going straight into the movie without knowing the compelling twists.

Edith Zimmerman drinking sober

I’ve also been thinking a lot about drinking lately, as I’ve been having my fair share of white wine during this here global pandemic. My First Year Sober is a stream-of-consciousness graphic article by Edith Zimmerman about when she stopped drinking.

Joanna Goddard and Lucy Kalanithi

This Sunday is my twin sister and my birthday (42, baby!), and the boys keep asking what kind of cake I’d like. My favorite for years has been flourless chocolate, along with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. What’s yours?

salad dressing tip by Jenny Rosenstrach

Our beloved food columnist Jenny Rosenstrach served up a brilliant cooking tip on her new newsletter (totally worth subscribing). “A Public Service Announcement for cooks like me, who for decades have ignored the advice to season dry lettuce with salt and pepper before tossing it with vinaigrette: Season your dry lettuce! I know, you’re all ‘There’s already salt and pepper in the dressing!’ (that’s what I said) but trust me: It’s one of those super tiny things that makes such a big difference. Like each bite is almost sparkly.”

P.S. More fun things, and “why I decided to stop drinking — and how it changed my life.”

  1. Nanaka says...

    I also watched White Tiger yesterday evening, and it was really surprising. I made the “mistake” to watch the trailer (before I read this article, ha), and thought I knew any surprise turn this would take. Nope :o) It was a good movie and left me with a whole deal to think about…

    That being said: Happy Birthday!!! =D

    My favorite cake will always and forever be a Tarte aux Citrons topped with meringue. I made one for Christmas, then had so many lemons left that I made 2 more entering January. Best way to start the year!

  2. Allison says...

    My forever birthday cake is a spice cake with lemon icing. I love chocolate cakes but somehow when my birthday rolls around this is always the one I want. I turned 40 last February and forever will I tease younger friends as they approach 40 that they have no idea how crazy things get after you turn 40!

    • Em says...

      Hi Allison! If you see this, would you possibly be open to sharing your spice cake/lemon icing recipe? That sounds like my dream birthday cake!! Thank you so much

    • Allison says...

      Spice Cake
      Makes two round 9″ layer cakes or about 16 cupcakes.

      In a large bowl, mix all at once:
      2 c flour
      1 c sugar
      1/2 c soft butter
      1/2 tsp each: cloves, nutmeg (grate fresh!) and salt
      1 tsp cinnamon
      1/4 each: tsp allspice, baking soda
      1/4 c molasses (fancy-grade)
      1/2 c milk

      Grating the nutmeg fresh makes a big difference and it only takes half a minute on a microplane. (Seriously, I thought this step was going to be fiddly and annoying, but it grates up so fluffy that you don’t need to do much to get your 1/2 tsp!) If you’re using electric beaters, beat for just 2 minutes until it comes together. If you overmix, the cake will turn out dry.

      Stir in:
      2 tsp baking powder

      Beat in:
      2 eggs
      1/3 c milk

      Beat batter for another 2 minutes or less, until just combined, then pour into your pans. Grease and flour the cake tins.

      Bake at 375°F (190°C) for 25-30 minutes.

      For the icing, I blend about 1/4 cup butter with 1 1/2 – 2 cups icing sugar, the juice of half a lemon and the zest of 2 lemons.

    • Em says...

      Allison, thank you!!! I am so excited to try this. It sounds brilliant. I really appreciate your reply. Happy birthday this month, and all the best :-)

  3. J says...

    Happy birthday Joanna (and Lucy)! Thanks for letting us be a part of your life and for creating this community xo

  4. Caitlin says...

    Happy Birthday, Jo!!! 🌟🎉💟

    I haven’t drank in years (first it was to help get rid of Lyme disease) and now I just don’t want to. Not many people understand! But I have a pretty great life and alcohol doesn’t serve me at all. I totally recommend the book The Sober Lush: A Hedonist’s Guide to Living a Decadent, Adventurous, Soulful Life–Alcohol Free

  5. Joanna, we’re birthday buddies! Happy birthday to us on Sunday :) I was also feeling stumped about what I wanted for my birthday cake. I’ve been craving classic sweets lately, like chocolate chip cookies, but I also wanted to feel adventurous for my birthday dessert. So my husband and I are going to try making a COOKIE DOUGH CAKE!! So excited! More importantly, I have an appointment to get my Covid vaccine on Sunday, so that’s the real birthday treat :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Yum!!! And huge congrats on the vaccine!

  6. D says...

    I have been questioning my drinking for a few years with dry periods off and on. My husband and I are taking 6 months off and we’re feeling great. I might not go back!

    One thing I read that punched me in the gut was “Stop saying drugs and alcohol. Alcohol is a drug. Just say drugs.” Phew!

  7. Maywyn says...

    Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday!

  8. Lindsay says...

    Joanna, thank you for your openness about evaluating your relationship with alcohol. My hunch is if you’re questioning it, it is worth exploring! I stopped drinking 2 years ago (for the most part – I don’t identify as “sober” and have had a few sips of a drink on maybe 3 occasions). So much about my life has improved. There are tons of great resources out there (and in the comments on this post!). I recommend the EDIT podcast (they don’t put out new episodes, but the archives are great) – the hosts identify as “gray area drinkers” and explore what that means. The IG account @re_filled also has beautiful content (she is one of the cohosts of the EDIT podcast). I just happened to listen to another great podcast episode (Raise Your Hand, Say Yes, Episode 351 about the host’s sobriety journey). xoxo

  9. Stephanie says...

    The book The White Tiger is very good. I look forward to watching the movie. I spent some time working in India about 20 years ago. I found the book to feel very true to life there.

    • George says...

      Yes, I would also highly recommend the book too. I can remember exactly where I was when reading it (Brazil in Feb 2013) which is always a sign of a memorable read!

  10. Jennifer O. says...

    My birthday was a couple weeks ago. I don’t usually have birthday cake unless I make it myself (or I get a special dessert at a birthday dinner with friends pre-Covid). This year I’m with my parents for a few months and my grandmother insisted on ordering me a cake and so I had to choose. Caramel cake all the way!

  11. I must be the 100th person to comment this? But every time you post a picture of you and your sister Lucy as children I am AMAZED at how identical you look to Toby and Anton! Toby is exactly you and Anton is exactly Lucy!!! It blows my mind again and again. Genetics are crazy. Are you sure you even needed Alex to make those little dumplings? Just kidding, I see a little bit of Alex in both of them, but I think a lot of that is hearing your stories of the 3 of them.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “Are you sure you even needed Alex to make those little dumplings?” hahaha xo

  12. jane says...

    I watched White Tiger last night. I do love that he went the altruistic and empowering route in the end but ultimately it wasn’t for me. I greatly preferred Slumdog Millionaire as a rags to riches tale. I felt it embraced all the same concepts while being far more uplifting and just a better crafted film.

    • Lisa says...

      I loved the movie, precisely because of its more brutal take and lower gloss. It really reminded me of traveling through India in the 1980s, the lack of structure, all of it. And it broke my heart in a good way. But, that said, my guess is that many people will feel as you did Jane, and it’s wonderful that we can see both kinds of movies and learn from them.

  13. jdp says...

    happy birthday joanna and lucy!

  14. jane says...

    I’ve never been able to handle cocktails but I’ve cut out the automatic 5pm glass of wine or craft beer in favor of only when I really feel like one which is surprisingly not that often. Maybe once a month. It does feel better and fortunately is effortless.

  15. Rustt says...

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOANNA & LUCY!!!
    🤗 xx
    Joanna, thank you for your openness and commitment in creating this wonderful snd safe space for us.
    It is helping me through THE most challenging time in my life!
    Mmmwaaah! ❤

  16. Kari T. says...

    Hi Juliet, I’m a little scared too, I think it’s ok to pass on the movie :). I need all the comedies these days.

  17. Mrs. P says...

    This is such a great idea! I’m definitely going to try this, thank you!

  18. Agnès says...

    So; we watched The white tiger yesterday night, after your recommendation ;-) As mexicans, we saw soo many common things with Mexico, and that’s quite fascinating; very hard to explain though. I like that it’s a bit surreal, a bit Tarantinesque even; like it is very hard to relate to the characters because they are true characters, like clichés, but it works very well, it is funny and deep and weird. i really loved it thank you for the recommendation! I feel like I owe you one, but it’s a book; after months of being unable to read fiction I’m reading Circe, by Madeline Miller and absolutely loving it. happy week-end every one, birthdays, cakes, movies, books!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Thank you so much!!

    • K says...

      I just watched The White Tiger too and I think you describe what I feel! It made me feel twisty and uncomfortable, and I liked that! I basically didn’t predict a single thing… The characters are almost relatable but then take a much darker left turn and I really appreciate that challenge. It does feel more like Spanish magical realism films, and vaguely reminds me of Korean films as well…

  19. Emilie says...

    Happy birthday, Joanna and Lucy!! I love that photo of you two <3

    Fellow dry January participant here! I have never done it before, but after 9+ months of pandemic drinking (3-4 nights a week, and often a whole bottle of wine on a weekend) and even more over the holidays, my boyfriend and I both decided to do it. Definitely no weight loss for me (he says he has lost weight, but I think he is being generous, ha) but I think I am maybe sleeping a bit better? I certainly feel more clear headed some mornings.

    I wanted to comment on what a few quitters have said about "it is not as boring as you think!" This is my biggest reservation about embarking on a more permanent scaling back of drinking. I don't mean that getting drunk is exciting (far from it, especially the hangover part) but I have realized this month how much I love some of the cultural aspects of alcohol consumption: trying out new breweries (our city is a craft beer bonanza), a beer on the gondola down from the ski hill (when I'm not driving home), researching what kind of wine will best compliment the recipe I have decided to try out, popping champagne for my girlfriend who just chose a wedding dress… etc, etc.

    Throughout 2020, working from home, I really enjoyed leaving my desk behind for the day and having a glass of wine. Obviously these are not good reasons for drinking if you feel like the cons far outweigh these small rituals, but they are little excitements in my life that break up monotony. This month was totally fine and frankly easier than I thought it would be, but definitely more boring. I can't see myself replacing these little rituals with seltzer water or sparkling apple juice, but am heartened by readers who say quitting completely is its own kind of exciting and not boring at all! Cheers (no pun intended) to all of you :)

  20. carrie says...

    Don’t mess with a good tradition and stick with your chocolate cake! In case you want another on the side, or want to celebrate the day after too, I made the recipetineats whole orange cake for my husband’s birthday last month and it was amazing! Such bright citrus flavor!

  21. M says...

    I am pregnant and have been abstaining from alcohol during my pregnancy, and I had been mostly alcohol-free in the months before when I was trying to conceive. (I’d have a beer when I got my period – ha!) It hasn’t felt that difficult while I have this very clear-cut reason to abstain, but I’ve been thinking about what my approach will be once I’m no longer pregnant.

    I think the big turning point for me actually came before pregnancy, when I met my husband. I had been in a terrible relationship before him with a man who drank in very problematic ways… Not to blame him, but it really influenced my drinking habits, and also the stress of our relationship imploding also had me drinking even when my ex wasn’t around.

    My husband isn’t a teetotaler, but he’s totally indifferent to alcohol, and when we met I found myself telling friends how unusual it was to be on butterfly-inducing early dates without a drop of booze in sight! With him I rarely drink at home, unless we are having a dinner party (in the pre covid times), or if we are out to dinner. We also don’t keep much alcohol in the house, which makes it easier – sort of a line in the sand that it’s a special treat when out.

    This is not to say that our behavior around booze is totally controlled by others, but I absolutely have been influenced by the company I keep. I think I’ll go back to enjoying a beer on the weekends when the baby comes, but I feel really lucky that the heavy weeknight drinking I used to use as a coping mechanism is a thing of my past.

    • M says...

      PS – so intrigued by the salad salting tip! Will try tonight!

  22. Kay says...

    Happy birthday, I hope your day is lovely and full of cake. It is my birthday tomorrow and this year, instead of being disappointed yet again, I told my husband that I wanted a cake. I love to bake and have huge baking sessions each week because it makes me happy, I make cakes for all the family and others, but I never get a cake myself. My husband said that he didn’t know I wanted cake when I told him that I really wanted one. In my mind a birthday cake is absolutely just part of the day and is a necessity, I love eating and making cakes, and am amazed that he never even considered a cake for me. It will be a shop bought one but at least it will be cake.

    • Happy birthday, Kay, and Joanna also, this weekend!

      Kay, I wish you delicious cake this weekend. I’m glad you asked for what you wanted to have to celebrate. I too am the cake maker in our household and usually just make my own for my birthday.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you so much!

  23. We cut alcohol last August because we think it is one of the migraine triggers for my boyfriend. We also cut added sugar, and he cut caffeine. (I still have my one latte a day.) Anyhow, we didn’t drink much before then, but we did have to find a new way to make our drink feel celebratory for special occasions. Finally I started putting our water in these fancy silver rimmed and silver polka dotted glasses I inherited from my grandparents never used before. If I do that and use my silver chargers and napkin rings, it makes the meal feel special!

  24. Ashley says...

    Joanna, kudos on thinking more about your relationship with alcohol. Our society seems to frame drinking like: you’re either an alcoholic or a normal fun drinker. It’s certainly not a binary and I’m always glad to see people talking about the in-between. It seems to me drinking is a wide scale with lots of shades of grey and only you will really know if things need adjusting and when the right time to act is.

    Just a thought – when I quit drinking over 4 years ago now, I did my own version of a taper down. I highly recommend it if cold turkey seems too harsh. I used to have wine every night, so I started by going 1 night no wine for 1 week, then 2 nights no wine for 2 weeks, 3 nights no wine for 3 weeks, etc. They were consecutive evenings, like stringing together pearls. After I completed a month of 4 nights off alcohol each week, I noticed a brighter feeling inside myself – my mood was better, sleep was better, sobriety was in fact not the boring thing I thought it would be, sobriety was in fact more present and more colorful. The positive momentum motivated me to see the journey through to the end: sobriety. Now a days, I trust myself to have a rare glass of champagne at a wedding or say on new years, but I never finish the last sip. It’s a reminder to myself that I choose when to stop. It’s a choice, not a deprivation.

    • Denise says...

      Ashley I love this! I did a Sober October with two dear friends. One has subsequently realized she is an alcoholic and has started counseling and AA. My other friend and I have let the consumption creep back up, and we are not happy about it. It is a choice, and the best one!

  25. Nigerian Girl says...

    Happy Birthday, Joanna and Lucy. Enjoy!

  26. Amanda says...

    I quit drinking on the 4th of July- mid pandemic- after one too many family zoom calls that I didn’t remember finishing. My drinking had already escalated from a few nights a week to a bottle and a half of wine each night (and any other mini bottles or other liquor I had hidden just in case). I realized how much I was relying on it and that it was getting out of hand. So I quit cold turkey (not for everyone, but it was what I knew I needed to do) and haven’t regretted it one day. Sobriety is at least worth exploring if you’re reflecting on the amount of alcohol you’re drinking and/or your reliance upon it. And it’s not as bad (or as boring!) as it sounds. It’s actually very freeing and OMG the money I’ve been saving by sticking with water!

  27. TJ says...

    Happy birthday, Joanna! Thank you for this wonderful space. I am a smarter, kinder and more empathetic human from reading your posts.
    Off note this year marks seven years booze free. It has been one of the best things I ever did for ME! Initially, not wanting to draw attention to the fact I had decided to stop drinking I used the excuse that I was training for my first marathon to curb the questions until I felt more comfortable/open to discussing. Use whatever strategies you may need to get through those first days/months/events etc! For those starting out please know it does get easier and surround yourself with people who support your sobriety. Those who don’t usually drop off along away anyways!

  28. Christina says...

    Happiest Birthday to you both! Thank you for being a bright spark in a crazy world & creating this wonderful community. XO

  29. Meg says...

    Am I the only person who has not experienced wonderful sleep when not drinking? My husband and I decided to do dry January this year, and we’re both so happy to have done it and that it’s been far easier than expected. Even though I don’t plan to stop drinking, I think it’s good practice to have a check in with my alcohol intake.
    What I find so irritating though is that I’ve not noticed much. I thought it would be this revolutionary month, as we generally drink one or two glasses every single day, it it hasn’t been and I’m feeling a little slighted

    • Molly says...

      I feel the same way about our first dry January. I’d hoped to lose a few pounds and wake up a little brighter-eyed. I’m thinking my afternoon slump isn’t as bad as it normally is. I was about the same. 1-3 glasses 4-5 days/week. Anyway, I’m still glad I have done it and want to keep it going, maybe allowing for a drink or two on the weekend. I know this is much better for me even though I’m not feeling 100x better. For so many reasons, including the fact that my kids notice everything and I don’t want them to remember us drinking every night. And the money we’ll save!

    • Stacey says...

      omg, same here! Though for me it’s been “mostly dry January,” in that I’ve only had like three drinks total this month, instead of at least one a night, and to my great disappointment I haven’t noticed any positive physical changes. Still sleeping just as badly, still have headaches, etc. Ugh.

    • Court says...

      Meg- I was sleeping horrible after my nightly glass of wine. I never really have more than one, but I was having so much trouble falling asleep and I was having horrible night sweats. I didn’t quit drinking, but I did quit wine for the month of January and I might not look back…I read this article and have a tiny bit of a clean tequila a couple of nights a week with lime and soda and it’s wonderful. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeanettehurt/2019/07/30/after-being-told-to-stop-drinking-wine-woman-founds-tequila-company/?sh=1514d4e62217

    • Madeline says...

      About 14 months ago I limited my drinking to no more drinking at home. I read an article that mentioned that alcohol is literally poison, and every single time you have a sip your body is actively trying to get rid of it. That stuck with me. At the beginning I also thought I would immediately drop pounds and feel amazing right away, but it took at least 6 months. One day in the fall I got on the scale after a few months if not working out and not watching what I ate, and I had lost almost 15 pounds. Which I completely equate to cutting out alcohol. For months I thought every single night about having a glass of wine, but now I can’t even imagine going back to it! Sobriety is honestly one of the best choices I have ever made for myself.

  30. Denisa N says...

    Happy Birthday, Joanna and Lucy! ❤️
    Now I know what I’m doing this weekend: baking the Flourless Chocolate Cake and watching White Tiger! :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      <3 <3 <3

  31. Alex says...

    When my husband and I married (ten years and three kids ago) we made a tradition of making each other’s birthday cake. For the past five years he has made me Norwegian Strawberries & Cream Cake for my birthday. It’s a vanilla sponge layered with vanilla custard, strawberry jam, whipped cream, and fresh strawberries and it’s amazing. My birthday is smack in the middle of strawberry season and it ends up feeling like the season is celebrating me.

    • jdp says...

      omg i am literally salivating with…envy?

  32. K says...

    happy birthday Joanna and sister!!! I think wanting both flourless chocolate cake with ice cream and crispy salad is the definition of #adult

    my favorite cakes i’ve made the past year (for birthdays, holidays, and summer)

    –oreo icebox cake with macerated strawberries
    –golden oreo icebox cake
    –boxed yellow cake with mascarpone and macerated strawberry filling and warm raw sugar caramel sauce
    –boxed chocolate cake with pink salt and fresh blackberries and/or olive oil sauteed dates and warm vanilla sauce

  33. Harriet says...

    My younger brother is 5 months sober today after 16 years of a heavy alcohol and drug addition. It’s been an issue for me and my family most of my life. I’ve often struggled with how most people seem to be functioning alcoholics but it seems okay in society’s standards and I have to remind myself not everyone is going to do serious harm and damage like my brother did for so long.

  34. Marisa says...

    Happy Happy Birthday, Joanna!!!!! Hope you have a beautiful day full of love and sunshine!
    I’ve never had any problems drinking too much, thankfully. Now, if I had to give up my daily chocolate, THAT would be tough! I think people are tough on others who quit drinking because it makes them feel guilty about their own drinking? In any case, if only we didn’t care about what others said about us, life would be a lot easier! Definitely something I’m constantly working at :)

  35. L says...

    Happy happy birthday! Hope you’re weekend is lovely in all the ways that you need right now! Sending warm virtual hugs and so many thanks for all of your awesome-ness and this incredible space that you create for us to share. And also happy birthday to your amazing sister Lucy!
    I’m not sure what my favorite cake is but my husband requested the Smitten Kitchen red wine velvet cake for his bday a few weeks ago and it is seriously good, though maybe not in keeping with the sober-curious trend. It also looks really major and Insta-worthy even though I’m not on any social media. Anyway hope you get to eat some yummy things whether cheese or cake or both ;) xo

  36. Jean says...

    Highly recommend the book, Quit Like A Woman. I have never felt like I had a problem with alcohol — just a fun habit — but this book was totally eye-opening. I’m drinking far, far less and feel so much healthier! XO

    • Colleen says...

      Yes! I’m in the middle of this book and I’m blown away. Highly recommend for everyone but especially for those who want to reevaluate their relationship with alcohol.

  37. Hillary F. says...

    Happy birthday to my internet friend of 11 years. I hope you have the best day and a wonderful year. You are such a special person to so many of us and your work brings so many people so much joy and connection–it must be a wonderful feeling.

    Drinking was zapping my energy so my New Year’s Resolution was to only have alcohol on the weekends and my life is so much better. I don’t even have it on the weekends some times because I just feel so much brighter without it. I highly recommend it .

    oxox

  38. B... says...

    I have such a conflicted relationship with alcohol compared to many people. I don’t and have never had difficulties with consuming too much ETOH, I like wine and beer but I’m more likely to drink too much decaffeinated tea in a day than I am alcoholic drinks in a year. I think I had 2-3 glasses of wine and one chocolate martini in all of 2020.

    However, I see so many social media posts about being a “mom” and needing/being entitled to drinking wine, especially during the pandemic. And that’s what I’m conflicted about. I don’t want to be a party pooper and I’m not a teetotaler but I’m a psychologist and one of my sub-specialities is assessing children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and working with their families (often foster or adoptive). I work with parents on helping them better understand their child’s diagnosis and also on taking a strength-based and developmentally informed approach to supporting their child’s behavior, learning, social functioning, etc. We also educate parents/caregivers about their child’s risk for alcohol abuse once they’re older and how to educate their children about that risk with the goal of prevention. One of my favorite group of parents to work with are birthmothers of children with FASD. Some of whom have been sober for many years and others who have recently relapsed…but most of whom desperately love their children and feel crushing guilt. I don’t do substance abuse counseling…the focus of my work is their child. We sometimes have to postpone our treatment so the mother can seek inpatient care when they relapse. I try to maintain a work-life balance but I carry their struggle with me. Their bravery as they face each day with the hope and prayer of crawling into bed that night knowing they are another day sober.

    So I don’t find the posts to be funny, I don’t relate, and my mind and heart immediately go to all the parents struggling with alcoholism in a society that glorifies using alcohol as a way to cope…and to the children who have to cope with having a parent or caregiver whose alcohol consumption impacts the way that parent relates and interacts with their child throughout the day, week, and year. I also have no judgement of people enjoying alcohol occasionally and don’t want someone to feel judged for doing so…or judged for having an unhealthy relationship with alcohol because it is a medical condition that requires treatment, not a character flaw. I tell myself to lighten up and just enjoy the joke – but it feels so hypocritical and somewhat of a betrayal to the birthmothers and children with FASD whom I’ve worked with. But also as disingenuous to myself, because I’m not laughing and I actually have a heavy heart about seeing such a marked increase in the posts over the year. So I try to do my part in smaller and quieter ways…I don’t share, like, or repost those posts, I don’t make jokes to friends about “needing a glass of wine” or being entitled to a glass of wine or an alcoholic drink after a hard day/month/year, and when a friend makes one of those jokes to me I use it as a reminder to check in with friends and schedule time with them so we can actually connect rather than just sending a quick laughing emoji response.

    I view being mindful of our alcohol consumption as an act of self-compassion and love; and being mindful of the prevalence of high functioning alcoholism amongst our family, friends, and community as an act of compassion and love for others and their families. These are truly difficult times.

    • Molly says...

      Gosh I hear this. I myself have made the “mom needs a glass of wine or 3 tonight” though never on social media bc I don’t know who might see it that truly has a problem. Also, this year I have come to the place where I feel like alcohol has become more of a coping tool than celebratory tool, and it’s been since pregnancy (my youngest is 8!!) since I’ve gone a week without. It’s become such a habit to open a bottle of wine while cooking. And I keep meaning to take nights off but then it’s a draining day with homeschooling kids, etc…So I am doing “dry January” for the first time ever. I am grateful that I’m not addicted. It hasn’t been too difficult. But I do think our culture is really messed up when it comes to alcohol. I mean, messed up in so many other ways too. But the mommy drinking jokes just really hit me sourly too. Anyway, thank you for sharing your experience and for the wonderful work you do.

    • Beth says...

      Thank you for all the incredible work you are doing.

    • Sage says...

      Yep. Personally, I’m deeply disturbed and disgusted by “mommy wine culture.” I’ll be 4 years sober in March and have a 2 yr old; I’m so glad that I’ve never and will never give my kid the impression that his existence is something I need to drink to be able to cope with.

    • D Tiz says...

      Oh wow, thank you for this thoughtful and thought-provoking comment and your work. <³

    • Anon says...

      B, the first half of Quit Like a Woman goes into what she calls Big Alcohol and the intentional marketing it does toward women – especially mothers – and how we have absorbed it as the norm, and how we do the free marketing for them with those toxic memes. Once you read her book you will notice that the message of “mommy needs a glass of wine” are everywhere – TV, movies, social media. You won’t be able to unsee it.

    • Amy says...

      Thank you for saying this. I too worry about the casual alcohol dependency that many people have; I see the jokes and posts about moms needing to start the day with coffee and end it with wine etc, or that it was a “three drink day”.

      I do drink occasionally, but with a careful eye on drinking “to take the edge off”. It feels like a slippery slope for me, especially if my spouse is away for work and I’m solo parenting for weeks or months. If I ever feel like I “need” a drink, I remind myself I probably actually need sleep, or water, or some other form of self-care instead. Alcohol is unlikely to fix anything difficult or wrong in my life. So an alcoholic drink is generally something special/fun on a random evening 2-3 times a month.

      I’ve never been someone who enjoys being moderately tipsy, let alone drunk (I joke that I’m too type-A), so I’m sure that’s made it unfairly easy for me to keep things to a dull roar ;)

    • Nicki says...

      Thanks B, this resonates deeply with me. My mother is an alcoholic, as are several extended family members, so I am sensitive to the way in which alcohol and women are portrayed in the media, and the way which the image of the wine/cocktail-drinking mom is ingrained in our society. For example, how ubiquitous alcohol seems to be in Christmas gift guides and Mothers/Fathers Day gift guides. Having to remind people not to offer bottles of wine as hosting gifts to a household with an alcoholic.

      This is not a judgement of anyone who enjoys drinking alcohol. I drink relatively rarely, but I do appreciate a glass of wine with a special meal or a cocktail on a summer holiday.

      And despite having personally witnessed the heartbreak of addiction, I have absolutely fallen into the trap of parroting these lines of “I need/deserve a drink” as a reward/coping strategy myself, especially when I was younger and still trying to figure out how to be an adult and what is “normal” in our society. I don’t do so any more. I’d would like to think that’s a sign of increasing maturity – at 42, just like Joanna :)

      I think it helps to talk about this and just be more conscious that the problem exists, to gently shift this crazy narrative that unnecessarily glamorizes alcohol or stigmatizes those who don’t (or no longer) drink it. I try to do so, with my friends and family, and especially kids, and I’d like to think this is happening at many levels when I anecdotally compare attitudes to alcohol in my parents’ generation to that of mine (though reading your comment about noticing an increase in such messaging suggests that might be a tad optimistic?)

      Thanks Joanna for not always managing to have your finger on the pulse of important issues, and more importantly raising them thoughtfully and honestly, never shying away from being vulnerable. So grateful for this space you have created. Happy birthday.

  39. kirstin says...

    Happy birthday! I was excited about 42 – you know the meaning of life and all that, but I’m not really sure it was overly profound. I’m on the 5th Feb – but older than you (gah gah I’ll be 48 -that seems like I am entering a different age bracket somehow, and yeah I am freaking out for the first time ever). My husband always asks me to make a flourless chocolate cake for his birthday (I’ve found the best tip is that when you take the cake out of the oven but it is still in the tin, cover it with a clean tea towel until it cools). I can never decide what cake to eat. This year I am thinking of a vanilla ice cream cake and a ton of that chocolate sauce that goes hard (ice magic?) poured liberally over the top (or maybe frangelico). I’m in Australia so it’s the hottest time of year here. Do you make birthday resolutions? I tend to do this instead of New Year resolutions… this year I am returning to university so that when I turn 50 I can start working in a new profession, so my resolve is to study deeply and stop checking Facebook (except for the cat and dog and funny animals posts).

  40. jen says...

    Happiest Birthday wishes!!! If you want to try a awesome cake, go get the whipped berry cake at Cousin Johns in Park Slope. I loved it so much it was my wedding cake

  41. Sara says...

    Happy birthday, Joanna and Lucy!
    Can’t wait to check out White Tiger, thanks for the rec!
    What works for me when it comes to drinking ( ’cause I could def drink wine every night), is that I do not drink at all during my work week. I have to be strict about it or it doesn’t work. Then I allow myself to drink as much as I’d like on Friday and Saturday (and turns out, I end up drinking less than I would have if I drank freely all the time). Plus, you can splurge a little more on the wine.

  42. Kathryn says...

    Happy Birthday! I celebrated my 42nd last week, and my daughter made me the NYTimes Cooking Rainbow Sprinkle Cake. It was easy enough for her to make, and it turned out to be strangely satisfying, with perhaps the best frosting I have had on a white cake! It also tasted great the next day! Also, after a lot of early pandemic drinking, I mostly keep it to the weekends now. I find bubbly water to be a good switch in when I want something more festive during the week.

  43. Alison says...

    I want to echo all the heartfelt birthday wishes to you, Joanna. I am older than most of your readers but find something in almost every post that broadens my perspective or just entertains. CoJ is a real gift to all of us. And because you have created a type of magic, I would love to recommend In and Of Itself which involves different magic to all of you. We watched last night and thought it profound and moving. In case you need more street cred than I can give it (!), it is produced by Stephen Colbert and his wife and there are famous people in the film audience such as Bill Gates and Marina Abramovic and DeRay Mckesson. Happy Happy Birthday to you and Lucy, Joanna!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Thank you so much xoxoxo

  44. Meghan says...

    Favourite cake is angel food with custard, whipping cream and all the fruits. To be appropriately traditional, my mum has to make it using a box mix, canned custard, winter strawberries from California and canned mandarin oranges. Sounds disgusting, but it tastes like childhood.

  45. Katey says...

    Happy Birthday! My one dependable bright spot on the internet! What would I do without you.

    Yes! I love the inquiry into our drinking habits. I’ve been an abstainer for about two years, now. It is GREAT and a little hard sometimes. (For anyone trying to begin sobriety or whatever, it took me several years of yo-yoing to get to where I am. During those years I’d stop for a few months and then go back to daily wine, then feel unhealthy and stop again.)

    “Quite Like a Woman” by Holly Whitaker is gold. She refocuses our views on drinking. It is not about rock bottom. It isn’t about determining whether or not you’re an alcoholic, a term she avoids. It’s about how often alcohol prevents you from doing your best.

    I can get through every day without a drink. I’m not missing anything. In fact, I’m present for more than I was before. Also, her book really illuminates our culture’s obsession with alcohol. Watching TV I see how much characters drink without (m)any signs of drunkenness and it just doesn’t add up. Reading her stuff was a real eye-opener.

    I raise a glass of seltzer or kombucha or an Arnold Palmer to anyone exploring life without alcohol.

    • Mary W says...

      Thanks Katey. I quit drinking for about 10 months a couple of years ago. I’m drinking again and it’s really bothering me lately. I’m building up to quitting. 2.1.21 is a nice repetitive date. Thanks for the book recommendation.

    • Silver says...

      I feel shocked that I actually didn’t even notice Jo’s paragraph about drinking… but the tears that sprang to my eyes when I read your comment make me know that somehow I did that on purpose. I really appreciate it when people like you share your stories – I feel that you help break down my own opposition, slowly slowly slowly but surely none the less.

  46. Laura says...

    My husband’s birthday is Sunday too! He’s not a big fan because the weather’s always soo gloomy, and with the pandemic there is TRULY nothing to do and no money for a fancy gift. But we’ll have a special dinner and cake. I’m grateful to have a summer birthday because at least last year we could be outdoors and swim. Trying to convince him a winter hike can be just as nice!

  47. Allie says...

    Love that you are taking a closer look at your drinking, Jo. I’m doing the same and it is illuminating. I just finished and loved, loved, loved “Quit Like a Woman” by Holly Whitaker. It is incredible how much we’ve normalized heavy drinking in our culture, particularly among women. I’m sorting through all the layers!

  48. Kate says...

    I just gave up drinking “for the time being” last week! I definitely feel a little embarrassed and judged to admit I’m not drinking. But thanks to my daily journalling habit, I picked up on the fact I was having trouble sleeping and waking feeling very low and flat after having just one drink the evening before. No issues with hangovers or overconsumption but the fact that I am surviving a breakup AND a pandemic means I need all the mental health I can muster!

    I’ve definitely done Dry January (and invented Sober September) before and have even gone years without drinking (save for the occasional wine at Christmas). It’s not that I have a problem with alcohol at all, but I do recognize that it can be problematic in some ways.

    I was having a glass of wine while cooking each night right after work and when I gave it up I realized that I craved a drink the moment I closed my laptop. They have now gone, but to help them pass I went straight to the store and bought bitter little red Italian sodas and sparkling water which make a great dupe for a Negroni. As a red wine drinker it’s hard to find a sub but I’m enjoying watered down tart cherry juice. These drinks are delicious and still feel special! And the Heineken non-alcoholic beer is delicious. I think it’s just important to change the conversation and normalize NOT drinking for any and all reasons. I told myself I could only drink socially (with housemates and outdoors around the fire), so I am not deprived, but I have been perfectly content with my fun new drinks and they’re fun to introduce to friends!

    • Emma says...

      You might enjoy strongly steeped hibiscus tea as a good sub for red wine! Bold, fruity, a little floral, a little dry. If you have a hard time finding hibiscus tea (also called sorrel, I believe), most tea brands use hibiscus in their fruit-flavored teas, like Celestial Seasonings “Raspberry Zinger” tea. I’m a frequent red wine drinker, and I find hibiscus tea to be very similar.

  49. Anne Wynter says...

    Our whole family’s favorite cake is simple – vanilla cake with vanilla icing and as many rainbow sprinkles as possible.

  50. Sonia says...

    Happy birthday. Seeing the picture of you and your sister as little ones brings a smile to my face. I’m the mom of twin 2 year-old fraternal twin girls, and I was wondering if you would consider doing a series of posts about what it is like to grow up as a twin, the good and the bad. Perhaps you can get your sister to participate? My girls already have such an intense bond that I can see goes beyond anything I have experienced myself. I would like to understand their experience more and learn how to support them better- both as individuals and as a pair.

    • MM says...

      My twin sister and I are in our mid-30s and I feel so, so, so lucky to have this special bond! We’ve always been close. We went to separate colleges (which I think was a great time for us to really become independent without each other) and are now both in the same city. Being an aunt to her kiddos is the best. Some of the challenges – we are always known as “The Twins” ;) and we get compared all the time. “Oh ok she’s taller, you have a longer face, she’s got her hair done this way, etc. etc. etc.” It’s bizarre because people compare us to our faces.
      What’s funny, though, is watching people’s reactions when we’re out in public (pre-pandemic) – I don’t think it’s often that you see adult identical twins walking together ;)

      And happy early birthday, Joanna! XO

    • C says...

      MM, this reminds me of a pair of 90 something year old identical twin women walking around my hometown a good 15 years ago, in matching hats and arms linked. My mum and I still talk about them with a smile on our face. <3

  51. Cate says...

    I’ve been thinking a lot about drinking lately, too. I did a dry January and honestly I feel so good that I’m not sure I’ll start drinking again. I am holding the thought gently and not putting pressure on myself either way. While alcohol wasn’t ruining my life I’ve been starting to question why it is that “rock bottom” is the reason society gives us for quitting. My sleep has never been better, I am a more patient and present mom, and my covid induced depression is way more in check. Even though everyone talks about how great sobriety is, I truly cannot believe that abstaining from alcohol makes me feel this good. Before abstaining this month I had mostly contained my drinking to 1-2 drinks on the weekend for the past many months. Even that left me feeling tired and less patient than my baseline. Suddenly I’m like WHY would I willingly make myself feel less than great on the weekend? The precious, amazing, wonderful weekend? I want to feel amazing when I am with my family and that’s more intoxicating to me than a few fun, buzzy hours after the kids are in bed. There are also a lot of problem drinkers in my family and I don’t want to worry about whether that is something I am headed for and I absolutely don’t want that to be the blueprint I give my children for their own future relationships with alcohol.

    PS I think I read a suggestion to salt/pepper your lettuce from Samin Nosrat a few years ago and, yeah, it’s legit next level and should not be optional.

  52. I didn’t drink from January until September because I was pregnant, and I hate to admit how much I missed it! I’ve now committed to no more than two drinks per week though because contrary to what Big Alcohol would like us to believe .. it is *not* good for us!

  53. Allyson says...

    Anyone have some N/A beverage recommendations? I always look at the store and sometimes there is a nice N/A champagne or beer. But I miss the excitement of a proper grown up drink. The stuff I’ve tried from Amazon has just been pop or sparkling water in disguise.

    For no other reason than drinking absolutely wrecks me the next day, I haven’t had a drink since July. I like the festivity and flavor of a beer/wine/cocktail but don’t need the alcohol in my ripe old age of 34 (LOL).

    • DC says...

      Hi Allyson! I’ve been working my way through N/A cockails after doing a Sober September and Dry January. Ritual’s N/A gin is my new favorite for g&ts or a gin sour, and their N/A tequila + pineapple juice + a splash of seltzer is delicious too, though I haven’t tried a margarita yet. The brand Monday also has a great N/A gin. And Athletic Brewing’s N/A beers are great, but it sounds like you already have good options for those!

    • Colleen says...

      I *love* hunting for new ginger ales to try (if you’re into those flavors). So refreshing- I’m craving one now just typing about it!

    • Erin says...

      For my dry January, I’ve been enjoying a glass of club soda with a few drops of Dram’s bitters (especially the Palo Santo flavor) + a sprig of rosemary or a wedge of citrus, depending on the flavor. I also really enjoy their sparkling waters (especially the Black Cardamom flavor) for something a little more unique than a typical LaCroix. https://www.dramapothecary.com/product/dram-bitters-gift-set/

    • Kate says...

      I love Ghia! (I think it’s included in the link Annie posted below.) It’s a great sub for a strong, bitter, herbal aperitif and makes an excellent N/A spritz. I prefer to only drink on the weekends, so it’s nice to have a sub to make a Tuesday afternoon feel ~fancy~ without the Weds AM headache from a strong cocktail. I’ve tried other N/A subs and this one feels the most adult lol

    • Megs says...

      For Christmas this year, my husband made a cracked black pepper and cranberry syrup for a champagne cocktail (I believe he found the recipe from Saveur?) and we had extra left over and I started drinking it with sparkling water with a splash of lime. It was amazing – totally scratched that fancy-drink itch. You could do the same for any infused simple syrup, really – think of a flavor combo that sounds good and just add sparkling water/club soda!

    • Anonymous says...

      I made a cranberry-apple shrub around the holidays (https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/cranberry-apple-shrub-7993800) and have loved drinking it with club soda and wedge of lime. I also love the rituals of cocktails, so while it sometimes feels silly, I put it in a fancy glass and using one of those big square ice cubes. I’m not actively avoiding alcohol, but it’s been interesting to notice that my brain forgets after about 30 seconds that it’s not a “real” drink.

  54. B says...

    My birthday is today and my absolute favorite cake is a banana spice cake with seafoam frosting (only homemade by my mama of course) however a close second is the Orange Kiss Me cake (with either traditional cinnamon and sugar OR buttercream frosting) both are very delicious.

    I miss birthday dinner parties followed by lots of game playing, talking and homemade birthday cake! Soon, I feel it coming back soon!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      happy birthday! and that cake sounds DELICIOUS.

  55. joy says...

    I’m grateful to Jenny Rosenstrach for writing a couple of years ago about not drinking on weeknights. Her post made me decide to try the same, and while 2020 kind of blew that to pieces, I’m back at it for 2021, and feeling much better.

  56. Claire says...

    Happiest of birthdays to you, from another January baby.
    I love many different kinds of birthday cake, but one of my favorite treats is a home made fruit pie with fresh whipped cream.
    And thanks for the movie rec! I would like to reciprocate by recommending Ted Lasso (we LOVED it!) , and All Creatures Great and Small on PBS.

  57. EM says...

    You don’t have to have a “problem” with drinking to stop drinking. I think people think about drinking, and they figure as long as they’re not a literal alcoholic, it’s not a good enough excuse to give up alcohol. I think it’s literally insane that you can give up gluten, sugar, social media, staying up late, and so many other things that are, sometimes, less bad-for-you than alcohol, and you will not be stigmatized. But the minute you consider giving up alcohol, people want to judge. This is ridiculous. I don’t drink alcohol, and I love it. And it’s not because I ever had a problem with drinking too much alcohol, it’s just not for me. I never have to worry about driving, feeling hungover tomorrow, letting my guard down and ending up letting my kids watch too much TV (actually, these also all depend on protecting my sleep at least a little). It’s honestly just one less thing to worry about. If you’re thinking you want to give up alcohol, just do it. Try it. I think you’ll like it, and if your friends are worth having, they won’t judge you for it.

    • Diana says...

      FWIW I judge the HELL out of people who give up gluten just for the heck of it. :) But you are making an excellent point.

  58. Abigail says...

    I’ve just started “The unexpected joy of being sober” by Catherine Gray and I’m loving it.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      ooh thank you for the rec!

    • Meghan says...

      Agreed – great book! I’d also recommend the Sober Diaries by Clare Pooley and This Naked Mind by Annie Grace. I devoured those books when I stopped drinking and they were truly instrumental. I’ve been sober for over two years after questioning my drinking for years and I couldn’t be happier! I only wished I had done it sooner!
      Also, for those not seeing any results with dry January, you may just need to give it another month or two, you’ve basically gone through the hardest bit and will be returning to drinking before reaching the benefits yet….this Naked Mind has a free 90 day challenge you may enjoy.
      Anyway, so happy more and more people are questioning their relationship with alcohol.

  59. C says...

    I feel the same in regards to drinking! I was going through an alarming amount of red wine during the early months of the pandemic and it was definitely taking a toll. I’ve slowly cut back to 2-3 drinks per week and have noticed considerable improvement in my quality of sleep…plus the added benefit of not being hung over most mornings!

    Also found Spirited Away in LES – it’s a store dedicated to booze-free substitutes to wine, beer, and alcohol. (although I tried the wine alternative and found it a bit disappointing) https://www.spiritedaway.us/

    • jane says...

      What an amazing store name and concept! One of my favorite movies 💚

      Fav cake: steamed vegan chocolate

  60. Ames says...

    I just turned 32 and I’ve never had a drink in my life (literally not a sip!), but I’ve been seriously considering trying it lately. It feels like such a big “switch” to flip though, for a variety of reasons. Sobriety articles always make me wonder at how differently people move through the same world – I can’t imagine what it’s like to not be sober 24/7/365 while other people can hardly fathom my experiences.

    HBD, btw! xoxo

    • Jill says...

      I can relate to your never had a drink Ames I was a teenager in the 60s and Ive never smoked pot. Most people cannot fathom that either. Later in life now, I think about smoking it. But it would ruin everything, I think. I’m actually quite proud that I never did ANY kind of drug.
      Don’t start now Ames. Advice from someone a lot older than you. <3 It’s so ‘groovy’ to still be able to say I’ve never smoked pot. It really is. Ha!

    • Ames says...

      Jill, out of curiosity, what do you think it would ruin? I’m genuinely interested. I have a streak-oriented personality (like keeping my nails painted the same shade of red for 7 years straight) and it’s been healthy for me to learn that a change or a break in a behavior doesn’t negate prior patterns – for good or for bad.

    • Jill says...

      Hi Ames. I think I meant that it would ruin my pride after all these years about something that I feel I ‘accomplished’. And also, I can truthfully say I’ve never done drugs. If I were to try it, then someone asked me, I would tell the truth, and then I would be a hypocrite to my kids. I’ve always been strongly anti drugs. Still am.
      Does that make any sense?

    • Sarah says...

      My parents didn’t drink til I was 21. Now they both have a terrible relationship with alcohol that has deeply damaged our relationship. Some things aren’t work trying even as an adult.

    • Anne says...

      Hi Ames,
      I didn’t drink any alcohol until I was 25. My father and other relatives are alcoholics (father sober for years now) and it was something I was scared of and also not really interested. I used to have quite a controlling personality and never drinking and never smoking were part of that control for me. Allowing myself to try alcohol, taste it and enjoy it was a good thing for me. I don’t drink much at all, and forget about it generally. I have never really been drunk, like not remembering something, and very occasionally tipsy (something that I found to be a fun thing for me to experience). Trying wine and other drinks helped me to be less scared of alcohol, judge others less and enjoy life more – not because of the drinking but because I needed to break that control and fear of alcoholism. I have no worry that it is something I could get addicted to or just do too much, as it’s not at all my thing. I understand Jill’s comment on sticking with it but for me breaking one of the many rules I made for myself was a good thing – again not because I think alcohol is great (actually I still dislike it more than like it in taste and what it is). Good luck figuring out what is right for you!

  61. Joni says...

    If you want to see a chicken get butchered alive, you will enjoy watching “white tiger.”

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes but it’s so critical to the movie (truly!)

  62. a.n. says...

    i have been doing intermittent fasting 2-3 days a week for a little over a year, and have found that it has made non-drinking nights a lot easier and more non-negotiable. “it’s a fasting night! you always feel so great the next day” has been so much easier to tell myself than i imagined.

  63. a.n. says...

    am i going to cry watching White Tiger? am I going to go to bed heartbroken, or okay after it?! these are two questions i need to know before i turn it on :) i’m okay with crying during it, as long as I know I won’t be a liquid, snotty, puddley version of myself for too long after? anyone?

    • Madzie says...

      I think you’ll be ok. I think it leaves you wth meaty questions to wrestle with, rather than feeling truly heartsick. Definitely definitely worth a watch.

      I’ll add that my partner is Indian, and he really enjoyed it too. Within 10 minutes he was like- oh – people in India are going to HATE this (basically that these are issues people don’t talk about).

    • Rachel says...

      It reminded me of Parasite, if you’ve seen that.

    • K says...

      @Rachel, it also reminded me of Parasite! And Burning, and A Brighter Summer Day

    • Liz says...

      Madzie, I’m an American living in India at the mo and YES your husband is dead on. It seems to be either people of upper classes feeling like the ugly, hard, etc things haven’t been fairly portrayed OR people of lower castes who are offended by the portrayal of the lower castes in the movie, especially as it’s written by someone who is upper caste. It’s been very interesting to follow the discussions. I tend to agree more with the latter. Anyway, definitely interesting to watch and I’m always grateful for an opening to talk honestly about caste with my husband and family and friends here.

  64. Rachel says...

    Happy Birthday! My twin girls just turned one this month and love having tastes of mom and dad’s ice cream when we treat ourselves after dinner.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s so sweet!

  65. Kate says...

    I had no idea White Tiger became a movie! I read the book years ago but absolutely loved it! Thanks for keeping me in the loop, as always!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I just ordered the book!

  66. Kathy says...

    Try TLC-The Luckiest Club-book and meetings by Laura McKowan for sobriety support!

  67. Erin says...

    I just celebrated turning 39! My husband made me a coffee-toffee ice cream cake with chocolate ganache. It tasted like an almond roca and was delicious! <3

    Happy birthday!

    PS – This is the 2nd time *this week* I've been recommended to salt and massage salad lettuce. I'm definitely going to try it!

  68. Trisha says...

    Thanks for sharing the “First year sober”. I am just recently 2 years sober and I still relate to this. It was the best thing I have ever done. For myself first and foremost, but also for my 5 year old daughter. She sometimes asks me “Do other mommies drink?” That’s how ingrained alcohol is in my family and in our society in general. Getting sober was really hard, but I finally hit a wall and just did it. 2 years have changed so much, for the better. It gave me courage I did not even know I had. It was of course awkward at first, still is sometimes, but I know deep down that if I drink again, my life will be over. That sounds dramatic but it is true for me.
    Happy Early Birthday! I am a child so I love funfetti cake or my all time is just orange cake, ha, with orange icing of course. Thanks for all the great reads over the years <3

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      congratulations, Trisha. two years, that’s amazing. xo

    • Sarah says...

      I’m so very proud of you.

  69. MS says...

    Happy birthday!! :) Re: drinking, I drank a LOT of wine last year and had a very hard time trying to cut back. This month (at 46) I decided to do my very first Whole30 program, and it’s been pretty great. Not as difficult as I expected, and having a broader list of “rules” made it much easier to focus and follow the no-alcohol part of it; it just became one more thing on the list. I never thought I’d be the kind of person to do W30, but I feel amazing and super proud of myself. I won’t lie, definitely looking forward to a glass of wine this weekend, but I really hope and believe my mindset towards alcohol and certain foods has changed for good!

  70. M.F. says...

    Another fun thing making my week has been Bridgerton the musical. Two musically-inclined friends started writing these songs after seeing the show and it’s become a huge thing on TikTok/Instagram. The music is so catchy, the writers/composers are like 19 and 22 years old and so talented and inspiring, and they’re live streaming a lot of their work so you can watch as they write and compose. Tons of people are making their own renditions of the songs (including legit Broadway performers), creating dance routines and art to go along with it. It’s a whole thing! And I can’t get the songs out of my head! Highly recommend.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes!! it’s so good. love following Edith Zimmerman, Brooke Barker and Aminatou Sow.

  71. Mak says...

    I read The White Tiger last year without knowing anything about it, and it ended up being my favorite book I read all year. Can’t wait to watch the movie but also nervous…hoping it lives up to the book!

  72. Alex says...

    Happy Birthday – birthday twin! Mine is also this Sunday.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      happy birthday, Alex!!

  73. Sage says...

    Happy early birthday!! 42 – the answer to life, the universe, and everything.

    (In case anyone wants a very gentle nudge: I highly recommend sobriety. :) Nothing helped my mental health more than quitting alcohol.)

    • EPF says...

      I stopped drinking alcohol almost eight years ago. For me, the interest rate was just too high.

  74. Stephanie Zercher says...

    Oh my gosh! You and your sister look exactly like Toby and Anton!

  75. Lynea says...

    Reading Blackout after seeing it suggested on COJ made me realize a lot of dark realities about my own habits. The best thing I’ve learned since: find a mocktail you love, or start drinking your favorite juice, agua fresca, lemonade, etc. out of a wine/bar glass. This combo has helped me fill the desire for something special without feeling like I’m missing out. (Also helps you fly under the radar if you don’t want to talk about not drinking for any reason). Really curious about the “stream-of-consciousness graphic article” format, looking forward to reading.

  76. Sarah says...

    You’re exactly – & only – one week older than me. Fellow almost-42 yo from the upper Midwest who loves books and food 🙋‍♀️. I’ve read this blog for so many years that I feel like I “know” you and then laugh at myself, but this is so said so sincerely, like I would to a friend: Happy, happy birthday!! I hope you take the day to ignore the regular world and just get some downtime with your sweet family.

    Ps: My favorite cake is a chocolate sour cream cake with trickles of caramel and caramel crunch running through it. I’ve only had it twice, as my grandmother made it…& then lost the recipe. There’s also a cake in Scotland that has honey frosting on it that I think is called Victoria cake (??) & is spectacular. Alas, neither are possible so I’ll be having my other favorite dessert: chocolate chip cookies. 🍪

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Sarah, you are the sweetest!!!! We are so similar! Thank you so much xoxo

  77. Agnès says...

    Happy birthday Joanna! You’re such a star! we’re so lucky you’re here, we should all thank your parents! My cousin sends flowers to her mum on every birthday! I thought quarantine birthday would be terrible but I really enjoyed my birthday last april (47): breakfast in bed, a tiny lego flower and a book-mark made by my son. I read for the whole day, didn’t do a thing, we had champagne, and that was it. No pressure. Enjoy it and let’s hope it will never repeat. We love you.chocolate cake has been my favourite but 2 weeks ago I made a spice cake, with cardamome, cinnamon, ginger, almond milk it was so rich a beautiful!).

    • Claire says...

      YUM! Would you be willing to share that spice cake recipe, Agnes?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      aww, thank you :) :) :)

    • Agnès says...

      There you go Claire: mix 150gr einkorn wheat flour -petit épeautre- (or any flour you use for baking cakes), a teaspoon of baking powder (or levure if you’re a french reader), 100gr of brown sugar (or less), 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, 1 tablspoon of cardamom (the broken seeds), a bit of grated fresh ginger; in another bowl, mix 15 cl of almond or coconut milk with 150gr of melted ghee, mix with the dry ingredients and add 2 eggs. I add an apple or a pear (or 2, or both); 40 minutes in the oven, 180 C (th.6). I am sure it works with regular butter if you don’t use ghee (just started one month ago to use ghee and it’s sooo good, and healthier). I hope it helps. (sorry for the rough translation!) happy baking!

  78. Ramona says...

    Birthday pie for me…🥰. Happy 42 to you! 💐🧁🥂🍾

  79. Amy says...

    I loved White Tiger! So good. I just ordered the book from the library.

    Happy Birthday Joanna and Lucy!!!

  80. Thank you for “My First Year Sober,” Joanna! And for sharing your exploration. So needed these days. Even though I didn’t “have a problem” with drinking, giving it up pre-pandemic changed my entire life in just about every way. I’m deeply grateful for sobriety and thrilled that more and more people are exploring their drinking and getting sober curious.

    • Faith says...

      I quit drinking last year, too! [virtual fist bump] I didn’t think I had a problem with drinking until the first time I tried to take a break… and two days later, I was back in the wine section at Trader Joe’s. The first few months of sobriety were tough, marked with desperate consumption of weird mocktails and Heineken 0.0, but now my cravings are virtually gone. 2020 was brutal, but I did not wake up a single morning with a headache, or the shits, or that nauseating weight of regret. My sobriety is one of the best gifts I’ve ever given myself and my child—his mother is now a woman who is clear-eyed and vigilant, softened yet steeled, fully awake for the highs and lows.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “his mother is now a woman who is clear-eyed and vigilant, softened yet steeled, fully awake for the highs and lows” — that’s beautiful.

    • Faith, how beautiful. What a gift to yourself and your child – one of the greatest that you could possibly give him. Fist bump and deep bow.

  81. Kari T. says...

    I read White Tiger a few years ago, I had a hard time getting through it at times but it was so worth it. I still think about it so it clearly made an impact.

    • Juliet says...

      I was so affected by the book that I’m scared to watch the movie!