A warm family tradition: lentil soup

Lentil soup

Different cultures have different holiday traditions. On New Year’s Day, our family always prepares lentils, or “little coins,” for the family meal.  The lentil is an annual plant in the legume family with a variety of colors, including yellow, red, brown and black, and is a great way to start ...

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2014 BMW 328i Gran Turismo: A sporty car that can handle the snow

2014 BMW 328i GT

The snow was falling steadily in Waterbury, Conn., and we were wondering whether the BMW 328i that was to be delivered that morning would be able to navigate treacherous roads that afternoon. The last 3 Series we’d driven had rear-wheel drive. And the last sporty German rear-drive car we’d ...

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Encouraging good manners; Accidental breakage; Birthday customs

Q.  My kids are 5 and 7. We try to have them practice good table manners at home, but sometimes get a little relaxed about it. We’re all invited to stay with friends for an upcoming weekend and I’m worried about their eating habits. Any fast tips we can practice before we go?   A. ... Read More

A three-year-old’s manners; An ill friend; Difficult guests

Q.  Is my three-year-old too young to be expected to shake hands when meeting someone?   A.  She is a little young to understand this on her own, but since many adults do expect it, you can help her become comfortable with the gesture. Because this is a skill that comes with repeated ...

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Introductions; Airplane bins; Baby gifts

Q.  I’m in my 40s and in a committed relationship with a woman, also in her 40s. How do I refer to her when introducing her? “Girlfriend” just seems ridiculous at our ages.   A.  You do not need to identify people by title, occupation or relationship when you introduce them. Simply say her ...

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Holiday questions and answers

Q.  I just started a new job and don’t know what to do about office gifts for the holidays. Should I give everyone gifts, or what?   A.  You have two choices. The first is to do nothing and see what the office holiday culture is so you know for next year. It would be... Read More

Reciprocation; Introductions; Exiting a conversation

Q.  I’ve been invited to a cookie exchange. How does this work?   A.  Guests are invited to bake and take to the party a prescribed number of cookies, usually at least three dozen, arranged on a plate. They are put on a table or counter. When the hostess suggests it’s time, guests take ...

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