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8 Culinary Content Network Stories to Read Right Now

8 Culinary Content Network Stories to Read Right Now

Keeping you up to date in the world of great food and folk

Recipes, articles, reviews, and more from the Culinary Content Network.

If you’re not familiar with The Daily Meal’s Culinary Content Network, you should be. With everything from recipes and food-while-traveling tips to hosting ideas, guidelines for what and what not to drink, and restaurant reviews and recommendations, the Culinary Content Network has it all.

Click here to see 8 must-read stories!

New recipes, articles, and reviews are promoted daily and we're bringing them to you in a variety of ways. They're always shared on the homepage (below features), on each channel page (Eat, Drink, Cook, Travel, and Entertain), and are also delivered via our newsletters straight to your inbox.

This week we’re highlighting some of our favorites (although there are so many), that may not have reached you via our other efforts of promotion. We’ve got (to name a few) advice on where to stay in Palm Springs, a recipe for Parmesan chicken nuggets, and a healthy juice recipe to start your week on the right foot.

Click through to the slideshow to find out more!

Tyler Sullivan is The Daily Meal's assistant editor. Follow her on Twitter @atylersullivan

Over the past two weeks, as millions of Americans started working from home and sheltering in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 across the country, King Arthur Flour’s website saw its highest traffic since the day before Thanksgiving. Bill Tine, King Arthur’s VP of marketing, told Eater’s Meghan McCarron that usually the site’s top post is a recipe for easy cheesecake. But since the pandemic hit, millions of people, homebound and bored, have flooded King Arthur’s servers in search of recipes for bread — more specifically, sourdough bread, in all of its glorious forms.

To those who are taking this quarantined time to get into baking bread, can I just say: welcome.

I started baking bread regularly at home a few years ago and have learned a few things along the way, namely that you need very little to make a loaf of bread that’ll feed many and please all. A mixture of flour, salt, water, and wild yeast will result in a delicious loaf, no matter how you do it, and while the process may feel intimidating at first, just remember: Humans have been doing this very thing for millennia. We just didn’t always have Instagram to make bread-making appear harder — and the resulting loaves more perfect — than it need be.

Begin with a good recipe

With that said, there is no shortage of sourdough recipes from which to choose: The best online recipes are Claire Saffitz’s guide for the New York Times, Sarah Owens’s table loaf recipe on Food52, and King Arthur’s artisan loaf recipe. If you’re interested in delving deeper into sourdough, books on the subject abound. For a comprehensive, all-encompassing guide, I recommend Owens’s Sourdough: Recipes for Rustic Fermented Breads, Sweets, Savories, and More, and if you’re looking for a more hearty, whole-wheat-leaning loaf, Parisian sourdough priestess Apollonia Poilâne’s Poilâne: The Secrets of the World-Famous Bread Bakery is a solid go-to. I’ve written up my own bread recipe here (an amalgam of a few recipes I’ve used over time) and made a basic, instructional video that leads you through the process at this link.

Make your starter

Guides in hand, the first thing that you’re going to need to make bread is a sourdough starter. A starter — also known as a levain, a mother, or a pre-ferment — is a lively mixture of flour and water combined with wild yeast and good bacteria captured from the air. It’s the ingredient that enables your sourdough bread to rise and what gives it its signature tangy flavor.

If you don’t have a starter right now, don’t worry. This King Arthur Flour recipe will teach you how to make your own at home, and though the slow process means you won’t be able to make bread right away (you’re waiting for your starter to come alive — you’ll start to see some activity after three days), you’ll get bragging rights for having made yours from scratch. Alternatively, Cook’s Illustrated’s Andrew Janjigian is teaching people how to make their own #quarantinystarter through his newsletter, and baker Lexie Smith has enlisted volunteers through her site Bread on Earth to send dried sourdough culture to interested parties around the world. You’ve got options!

All the Best & Most Shocking Celebrity Memoirs You Can Read Right Now

Tabloids, anonymous sources, and paparazzi aside, there’s only so much we can know about our favorite celebrities &mdash unless they decide to tell us more. After years (or decades) of having their stories told in the press, many celebs decide to set the story straight with a career-spanning memoir later on, reviewing highly-publicized incidents from their point of view and sharing intimate details only they could have known. So, no matter how much celebrity gossip you keep up on, memoirs are where the true secrets are revealed , and stars like Jessica Simpson, Demi Moore, and more have all made our jaws drop with their revelations in recent years.

To say that these celeb memoirs have rocked our world would be an understatement. From detailing sexual abuse or childhood abuse to opening up about struggles with addiction , rehab, or volatile relationships, these celebrities dug really, really deep, and even explained why they felt compelled to come forward. In short, most celebrities keenly remember a period of time in their lives when they felt lost, confused, and isolated &mdash and they hope that, by speaking out about their own experiences, they can be a symbol of hope and solidarity to those struggling now.

It’s unimaginably brave for these celebrities to have shared all they did, and we’re so grateful they took the time to put it all down on paper. Read on for a complete list of celebrity memoirs that showed us a whole new side to Hollywood, fame, and growing up in the spotlight.

Our mission at SheKnows is to empower and inspire women, and we only feature products we think you&rsquoll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale.

A version of this article was originally published in August 2020.

The 8 best Margaret Atwood books to read now

Margaret Atwood is somewhat of a literary giant. Best known for the 1985 dystopian novel, The Handmaid's Tale - which was subsequently developed into a hit series starring Elisabeth Moss - the Canadian writer has published multiple books and won multiple awards.

Although wide-ranging, her novels and poetry consistently explore themes such as gender, politics and climate change, often through a dystopian lens. But beyond The Handmaid's Tale and its 2019 follow up The Testaments, how well do you know Atwood's work?

Here, we've hand-picked eight of the best Margaret Atwood novels to read now.

An absolute classic and for a very good reason. Set in a repressive state where women's only purpose is to breed, and following the story of Offred, it's a compelling and chilling tale. Welcome to the Republic of Gilead.

The follow up to The Handmaid's Tale came 30 years on, so the hype around it couldn't have been any bigger. However, it lived up to expectations and Atwood delivered an equally brilliant sequel which deservedly won the Booker prize (along with Girl, Woman, Other author Bernardine Evaristo).

When protagonist Elaine Risley returns to Toronto, memories of her childhood haunt her as she's forced to face the 'friend' who bullied her for years.

Another of Atwood's book which has been adapted into a TV series, Alias Grace is based on the true story of a 19th century woman accused of murdering her employer, his housekeeper and mistress.

Winner of the Booker prize in 2000, The Blind Assassin is a multilayered and brilliant book that at its heart tells the story of two women and the lies they tell in order to keep their heads above water.

The first of the MaddAddam trilogy, this speculative fiction centres around Snowman and the post-apocalyptic world he lives in. Touching on themes of genetic experimentation and environmental disaster, there's a lot to unpack, but is as much an adventure romance story as it is anything else.

This one follows the journalist Rennie who travels on an assignment to a Caribbean island, where she subsequently gets caught up in a web of corruption.

Stan and Charmaine are a couple desperately trying to stay afloat in the midst of economic collapse - so when they see an advert for a 'social experiment' offering stable jobs and a home of their own, they sign up immediately.

Bestselling author of ɼrazy Rich Asians' shares 6 books you need to read next

Our editors independently selected these items because we think you will enjoy them and might like them at these prices. If you purchase something through our links, we may earn a commission. Pricing and availability are accurate as of publish time. Learn more about Shop TODAY.

During Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, TODAY is sharing the community’s history, pain, joy and what’s next for the AAPI movement. We will be publishing personal essays, stories, videos and specials throughout the entire month of May.

During the last year, if you've been juggling a changing work environment, remote learning with kids or anything else that life has thrown at you, reading a book might be the last thing you want to do or there just isn't enough time. But with summer and sun-filled beach trips in the horizon, potential reading days look brighter and breezier.

If you're not quite sure how to get back into the groove of reading (or you've already devoured Read with Jenna's latest book club pick), New York Times bestselling author Kevin Kwan can help with that. You might know Kwan as the author of the "Crazy Rich Asians" trilogy, whose first book was turned into a star-studded film in 2018.

Kwan joined the 3rd Hour of TODAY to talk some of his recommended reads, from a classic romance novel that inspired his most recent publication, "Sex & Vanity," to an astonishing read by an author Kwan says is one of the most original Asian American writers out there today.

4. HuffPost Asian Voices

HuffPost’s Asian Voices section lends this prominent media outlet’s unique brand of politics, culture, entertainment, and lifestyle coverage to stories affecting Asian Pacific Americans.

The section seamlessly blends in related content from other voices sections such as Black Voices, Queer Voices, and Latino Voices.

A Ranking of the Most Shocking Celebrity Tell-Alls, Ever

Between social media, interviews, and staged performances, we have plenty of chances to see our favorite (and not-so-favorite) stars when they’re purposely putting on a show for the world. But &mdash as we often have to remind ourselves &mdash there’s a lot going on behind the scenes of these celebrity worlds that we don’t know about, and that the stars themselves may not be so eager to reveal. Enter: the celebrity tell-all book, an explosive new publication of information long-rumored and finally confirmed, or bombshell revelations you hadn’t even thought to expect. With highly-awaited new tell-alls like Mary Trump’s Too Much and Never Enough and Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand’s Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family , the celebrity biography is coming back in a big way.

While celebrity memoirs offer an opportunity to stars to reveal a more personal side they’d kept out of the public eye, celebrity tell-alls often target those who deliberately keep their private lives private &mdash and thus, aren’t always given warm welcomes. When famously private Prince’s former wife Mayte Garcia published The Most Beautiful: My Life with Prince, which she called a love story, many considered it a betrayal of the musician’s own wishes.

At the same time, we have to admit that some stories worth telling will ruffle some feathers along the way. Christina Crawford’s staggering recounting of her abusive childhood with mother Joan Crawford , Mommie Dearest, was met with backlash from many of the late actress’s friends. Others, however, corroborated Christina’s accounts, and laud the bravery of her publishing the work.

What ties these celebrity tell-alls together? Shock, intrigue, and the secret lives behind the world’s most looked-at people. Take a look at the most shocking tell-alls of all time, right here.

Our mission at SheKnows is to empower and inspire women, and we only feature products we think you&rsquoll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale.

19 New Books to Read in September

E! Illustration

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Why are we so cheery, you may be asking? Well, It's the first of day of the month, which means fall is just around the corner. And for avid readers, there's nothing quite like cozying up with a book and getting lost in a new world for a few hours.

This September, we're recommending a slew of buzzed-about titles, including Elena Ferrante's first novel in five years, Mariah Carey's memoir and Jodi Picoult's latest tearjerker. Plus, we've included three cookbooks from beloved personalities to help inspire you in the kitchen.

Whether you prefer print, Audible or Kindle, they're all available at prices where you can stock up on several books to spend the dog days of summer with—or you could even try Kindle Unlimited. So grab a PSL (don't lie, we know you already started drinking them!), put on your summer sweaters and get lost in one of our picks.


Goldie Vance by Hope Larson and Brittney Williams

An all-ages mystery comic about a badass queer black teenage girl who solves mysteries at the Florida resort her dad manages. It&rsquos got a lot of retro, just about everyone in it is kind to each other, and most of the mysteries Goldie solves are more bizarre/intriguing that life-threatening. It&rsquos impossible to put down, and all the available volumes are on Hoopla.

Bingo Love by Tee Franklin

This short graphic novel is the love story you didn&rsquot know you needed: after decades apart, two queer women meet and fall (back) in love in their 60s. It&rsquos a beautiful celebration of queer love later in life, and the art is just gorgeous.

Phoebe and Her Unicorn by Dana Simpson

This is one of those rare, perfect comics that is beloved by kids and adults. Phoebe is just a regular kid until she accidentally hits a unicorn with a rock, resulting in a deep and lasting friendship withMarigold Heavenly Nostrils. This comic is snarky and hilarious and so tenderhearted and generous. If your kid is stuck at home, there are ten volumes on Hoopla. But beware: you are also going to get hooked.

Book Love by Debbie Tung

If you love books, it&rsquos hard not to fall in love with these comics. Tung&rsquos beautiful captures everything that&rsquos wonderful, cozy, and infuriating about the bookish life. If you&rsquore a reader, this one will resonate with you. And if you need something calming to read right now, this is your book: it&rsquos cozy and comforting and full of joy.

Janice Dean shares inspiring stories to 'Make Your Own Sunshine'

NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Man, oh, man, this is a story that begs for Jonathan Hunt, what is happening right now in Washington, D.C., where they are going to try to bloody get on with it. I'm talking about a $1.9 trillion stimulus plan that has been reduced now to reading it line by line, amid what seems to be a long and dragged-out process to get that stimulus ultimately voted on.

We are nowhere near that happening, but the drama will ensue. And this could last likely for days.

Welcome, everybody. I'm Neil Cavuto. And this is "Your World."

We're going to get the read from Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas on where this process is going and whether any Republican votes at all could be mustered for this.

In the meantime, let's go to Chad Pergram, the latest on what's happening right now.


Well, senators are staring at really late nights in an effort to finish this $1.9 trillion coronavirus bill. But GOP Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson just stretched things out. The Senate usually skips over the verbal reading of amendments. In the 19th century, they used to read everything out loud because there was only one copy.

But Johnson is requiring a Senate clerk read an entire 628-page amendment out loud.

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): I object.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The objection is heard. The clerk will continue the reading.

CLERK: Rural health care, Section 1003, pandemic program administration funds. Section 1004, funding for the USDA Office of Inspector General for oversight of COVID-19.

PERGRAM: So, this is going to take hours. This is what's called a substitute amendment.

That's basically an entirely new bill. The substitute swaps out the entire text of the bill. Johnson defended his move.

JOHNSON: I feel bad for the clerks that are going to have to read it. But it's just important.

So often, we rush these massive bills that are hundreds, if not thousands of pages' long.

PERGRAM: The Senate can't begin to date until the clerk finishes reading this amendment. That could bleed late into the night.

Now, some context here, Neil. "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," that's 870 pages. "The Blind Assassin" by Margaret Atwood is 637 pages. Just to get onto the bill, Vice President Harris had to break a 50/50 tie. So, they may need her to break the tie to pass the bill in the coming days -- Neil.

CAVUTO: So, it then has to go back to the House with these fixes, right? The House votes on that, then back. Explain that process.

Well, they have to get done reading this amendment first.

PERGRAM: Then they would have 20 hours of debate, then the vote-a-rama. And so we're looking at maybe the wee hours of Saturday morning, then to the House next week. And the House has to evaluate those changes.

That's going to be tough with only a four-vote margin in the House of Representatives.

CAVUTO: So, what you're saying is, if, coincidentally, you had a show that would start at 10:00 a.m. Eastern time at Saturday morning, it might be perfectly timed for this drama unfolding.

PERGRAM: I may be up all night Saturday night and joining you at 10:00 on Saturday morning as they wrap up this bill, Neil, absolutely.

CAVUTO: I can't think of a better opportunity.

Thank you very much, my friend, Chad Pergram.

All right, I want to go to Senator Tom Cotton all of this, the Arkansas Republican, on what he makes of it.

Man, oh, man, Senator, I don't understand these parliamentary rules and what happens. But this is going to drag out. But it seems like the conclusion is forgone here, right? I mean, it's going to go largely along party lines, and it's going to pass.

Do you see anything to stop that?

SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): Hey, Neil, it's good to be on with you, yes.

Yes, I got to say that the -- the Pelosi payoff, the Schumer shakedown, the 620 bill, the -- page bill, we're reading on the floor right now is not exactly a page-turner. I just left my office. And it sounds like they're still in the table of contents.

But what Senator Johnson did today and what Republican senators support is not just a procedural tactic. We only got a copy of this bill a couple of hours ago, and they wanted to move right into voting on it and trying to -- amendment.

So this is going to ensure that senators and the American public have a chance to read this legislation, so they can recognize that fewer than 10 percent of all the funds spent on this go to the coronavirus. Most of them don't even go this year.

So, you have got $350 billion for states, many of whom, like California, didn't even lose revenue last year, or $130 billion for schools, many of which refuse to reopen, almost all of which will not be spent in this school year.

That's why it's so unfortunate that Joe Biden and the Democrats decided to pass this party-line bill, because Republicans had shown last year we were willing to cooperate to pass bills that were actually targeted to the needs of the American people in the middle of this pandemic.

CAVUTO: You know, I know -- and to satisfy some moderate Democrats -- Joe Manchin comes to mind, Senator -- they wanted to tighten the restrictions around who gets these stimulus checks, these $1,400 stimulus checks.

But, in so doing, 12 million fewer Americans will receive them. And I thought at first, naive though I am, that that money would be savings here, but it's just channeled into something else, right? It doesn't change the overall package price tag.

COTTON: I think that's right, Neil.

Again, we're still reading the bill. But I think the Democrats are dead set on keeping the spending at $1.9 trillion, even though there's a lot of room for savings here.

On that specific provision, look, we passed multiple bills last year that sent out checks to families that were lower income, that lost income, and that were struggling to make ends meet. But we shouldn't be sending checks from taxpayers to families that are making more than $100,000 a year that lost no income whatsoever, that have the kind of jobs where you can work from home, you can work on a computer, you can work on a telephone.

That's why this legislation should be targeted to those people, like waiters and waitresses and bartenders and others, who have been so badly impacted by this pandemic.

CAVUTO: Do you know, Senator, is there any chance that any of your Republican colleagues would vote for this?

I know that Democrats then were working on Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, that there are some aspects of this she does like, would be beneficial to her state. Any sense that any Republican votes for this?

COTTON: I don't anticipate any Republican senators voting for the bill, Neil. In the House of Representatives, not a single Republican representative voted for it.

The Democrats could have gotten a lot of Republican votes. In fact, the bills we passed last year passed on average with more than 90 votes in the Senate. But they decided to go down this party-line path. That's regrettable. I suspect they're going to have to live on this party-line path.

Kamala Harris will be coming in several times in the days ahead to cast tiebreaking votes.

CAVUTO: You know, you mentioned the vice president, sir.

There had been talk among progressives, go ahead and overrule the parliamentarian and push this minimum wage $15 feature into the package. Now, that is unlikely. I don't think she can do that. But, leaving that aside, you and Senator Mitt Romney had come up with an alternative plan to raise the minimum wage to, I believe, $10 an hour over four years or something like that.

And I'm just wondering, what was the ultimate reception you got on that, because I think we will probably revisit this higher wage issue somewhere, right?

COTTON: Yes, Neil, they're not going to be able to put a $15-an-hour minimum wage in this legislation, partly because it's against the Senate rules, but partly because they don't have the Democratic votes for that either.

It's clear that there are not enough Democrats in the Congress that will support a $15-an-hour minimum wage. So, what Senator Romney and I propose is a $10-an-hour minimum wage that's phased in over time and indexed to inflation.

That would be a real wage increase in the minimum wage that was last increased in 2009. We pair it with E-Verify, the electronic verification system, so employers know that their job applicants are authorized to work in the country legally.

That's not just a horse trade or something Democrats like and Republicans like. Those are both tightly connected to our objective, which is higher wages for American workers.

CAVUTO: So, what happens on the wage front?

COTTON: I suspect we will revisit it in the months ahead, Neil.

There is some movement in both parties to increase the minimum wage. Senator Romney and I are working on that specific legislation with Senators Portman, Collins and Shelley Moore Capito. But, in addition, we have had other Republicans who have expressed interest in working with us on the issue.

We have had conversation with Democrats as well, some of the Democrats who think that $15 an hour as a nationwide standard may be a little bit too high. Ultimately, some of the more left-wing Democrats, though, are going to need to compromise and realize that $15 an hour just doesn't have the votes in the Congress, that we can find common ground on this issue if we focus on a wage that works for the entire country, and we pair it with the E-Verify system, make sure that those wage gains go to American workers.

CAVUTO: All right, Senator Cotton, very good seeing you. Thank you for taking the time, sir. Appreciate it.

CAVUTO: All right, Senator Tom Cotton.

All right, the corner of Wall and Broad, you're noticing that downfall in the Dow Jones industrials today, about 350 points. What if I told you it was double that, and it was all because the good news? Today, we learned that the economy is sort of firing on all cylinders here, by the way, the argument that many Republicans are using against such a generous stimulus package, we don't need it to be that generous.

That aside, we also crossed an important level today on interest rates. For example, 30-year fixed mortgage are now over 3 percent. That is a jarring number to people who are not used to seeing something like that. Now, I could go into great detail about how, when I got my first mortgage with my wife in the 1980s, we paid 13.5 and thought we were Nostradamuses, but I don't like to do that, even though I raise this story, my director says, about 2,000 times.

But it's the trend that is jarring a lot of folks, the fact that 10-year notes and 30-year bonds, all of those were backing up, and, and that the Federal Reserve chairman, Jerome Powell, was indicating today that he's OK with that, won't do anything to staunch the flow of that, had markets rattled, that he might be behind the curve, that maybe inflation is coming back.

Might have been overdone, and we were far our worse levels of the day, but inflation or, at the very least, higher rates do seem to be sticking around and could go still higher.

What's the conundrum for the markets is, how much longer? Because the better the economy looks, you could keep arguing the higher rates should go. We will be following that.

Also following developments in Alabama today. In case you thought that Alabama would follow the likes of Texas and Mississippi and totally loosen up restrictions and get rid of mask mandates, didn't happen -- after this.

CAVUTO: All right, not so fast, Alabama's governor making it clear that she is in no rush to lift mask restrictions and all the other things that you have been seeing popping up in other states like Mississippi and Texas.

The governor says that, for at least the next 30 days, those mask requirements will remain in effect. You have been seeing in a lot of states now a loosening of some of the restrictions here, but not dramatically enough in Alabama, or at least, as the governor sees it, to follow suit just yet.

Mike Tobin has more on all of this -- Mike.


Just because Texas and Mississippi lifted their mask mandates and opened up business, it doesn't mean that Alabama is playing along, at least not right away. Governor Kay Ivey said the Cotton State will expand what they call the Safer at Home order until the first part of April.

Some restrictions are easing, like nursing homes. The state will allow two people in for visits. Seating restrictions at restaurants are easing, but for now the masks will continue.

Governor Ivey says she wants to get past Easter, give more people time to get vaccinated and give businesses time to come up with their own policies on safety. But come April 9, the state will lift the mandate for masks.

GOV. KAY IVEY (R-AL): It will become a matter of personal responsibility and not a government mandate.

TOBIN: Now, the private sector is not necessarily in sync with the governors.

In Alabama, the nursing home association said they need to stick with a guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which was issued back in September. And when it comes to retailers, from Starbucks to Hyatt Hotels, Macy's, even some auto manufacturers, they have got their own policies related to masks and other safety protocols.

So, in line with what Governor Ivey said, you have the mandate moving away from government, and the private sector is policing itself -- Neil.

CAVUTO: Got it, my friend. Thank you, Mike Tobin in Chicago.

So, where do we stand right now in these states that are loosening up and whether there's any risk in all of that.

Dr. Rosie Chauhan joins us right now, rheumatologist by training, NIH, former fellow doctor.

Thank you very much for taking the time.

What do you make of the states that have moved to the degree they have, Doctor, particularly in the case of Texas? Next week at this time, virtually all restrictions will be lifted.

DR. ROSIE CHAUHAN, RHEUMATOLOGIST: I think it's very much wishful thinking, really. It is not based in reality, science or any kind of evidence.

And, most of all, it's actually against the tide. Most Americans believe that masks will help. That is actually the general thinking. All you have to do is drive down the street, when you see joggers -- jogging down the street, they're six feet apart. People avoid being too close to each other.

People are going out to restaurants, wearing masks, sitting outside, and they're quite happy doing all of that. So this, I don't know. It's pandering politics, but it's not based in science. And it's not good for anyone. It's a civic duty to wear masks.

CAVUTO: Doctor, a lot of businesses seem to agree with you, particularly in Texas, where we're already hearing that Kroger and Kohl's, Starbucks, Target, a host of others, even in those states, including Mississippi, which is similarly lifting restrictions, will still urge people wear masks and honor distancing provisions here.

What do you think of their response?

CHAUHAN: I think it's a very sensible one. It's based in caring for other people.

And even if you don't think it's a civic duty, and even if you don't care about anyone else, do you want to fly? Do you want to be able to go to a restaurant and eat? Do you want to be able to go to a shopping mall or grocery store, and basically be confident that you're not going to be catching all sorts of COVID variants from other people?

I mean, there's a lot of reasons to be wearing masks, even if you're not thinking of anyone else.

CAVUTO: Doctor, we are rolling out vaccines pretty fast and furious right now, at least three, others across the globe during the same year. It's picking up pace.

Are you optimistic, as is the president, that, by the end of May, every American adult who wants a vaccine dose will have them?

CHAUHAN: It's optimistic, I have to say.

If you look at the rates of vaccination for 100 people, globally speaking, I think that Israel is about over 50 percent, as were the Arab states, and then the U.K. slightly more than us at about 20. And we're at 8.

So we're -- that's today's rate. So, that's per 100 people. So, although we have stepped it up since January, and that's great news, right now, over 80 million people, Americans, have been vaccinated, and 20 percent have received the first dose, 8 percent have received the second dose, but -- if you go by the Pfizer vaccination and Moderna, the RNA vaccines.

But, at the end of the day, herd immunity requires that 80 percent of any population be vaccinated. So there's still ways to go. And now we have new variants. Next month, the Kent or the U.K. -- the other name for the U.K. B117 variant is the Kent variant. And that will probably be dominant next month.

And we don't know that the vaccinations that we're taking, we don't have enough data to say that these vaccinations will cover other variants, such as the Kent variant. And there are other variants here as well, like the Brazilian and the South African variant also.

CAVUTO: Do any of these drugs or vaccines that are out on the market, Doctor, address those variants?

I mean, the current RNA and the DNA vaccination address the regular COVID SARS virus, because the variants weren't out when these vaccinations were developed. Now, they can look at spike proteins and different science-based kind of data and kind of guess, make a best guess. We don't know for sure.

And this virus is not -- very key information about this is that this virus is not acting like a regular virus. Most viruses, if they want be endemic in an area, they become more contagious, so they infect more people, but they usually become less virulent, meaning they don't kill their host.

This virus is getting more contagious and more virulent. We know that because the variants of becoming more dangerous, and they are killing more people.

But the good news is that the regular vaccinations is working to a degree. I mean, all the drop in cases that we're seeing, I think Dr. Fauci is right, are multifactorial. But looking at the data that's coming out of Israel and the U.K., the elderly group that was vaccinated first about a couple of months ago, the rates of ICU admissions in that group has been shown to be reduced now.

So, that does show that -- indicate that the vaccines, regular vaccine, is working. But we need to prevent variants. And that's why public health measures, mainly masks, really do have to stay.

CAVUTO: Right. We shouldn't let down our guard.

Dr. Rosie Chauhan, thank you very, very much.

As the good doctor was wrapping up there, Connecticut now joining the states that are easing some COVID-19 restrictions, among them, that face coverings and that are going to be required. There is some flexibility in opening bars and allowing more folks in 11:00 p.m. closing time will remain in place for most events.

But large event venues will be able to open up as soon as next month. So, Connecticut the latest state to say, we are easing up, but not totally ending everything that was locked down.

CAVUTO: The administration says, we are not saying that every one from Texas and Mississippi are Neanderthals, just their leaders and this strategy on lifting restrictions.

I wonder what Texas Senator John Cornyn thinks of that -- after this.

CAVUTO: Do you think the president chose the right term there to refer to that as Neanderthal?

REP. HENRY CUELLAR (D-TX): Well, I gave you my answer.

I respectfully disagree with the governor.

CAVUTO: Not with the president?

CUELLAR: Again, the president is right on keeping the masks, but I would have used very different terms.

CAVUTO: All right, Democratic Congressman Cuellar.

The governor, that's one thing. The president of the United States, the Neanderthal comment, that's another thing. He would have used another word.

Jen Psaki dealing with this head on when meeting with reporters today, her explanation of the Neanderthal comment. Take a look.

QUESTION: How does comparing someone to a Neanderthal help convince them to change course and get on board with your public health message?

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The behavior of a Neanderthal, just to be very clear, the behavior of.

Look, I think the president, what we -- what everybody saw yesterday was a reflection of his frustration. He believes that, with more than half-a- million Americans lives lost, with families that continue to suffer, that it's imperative that people listen across the country, whether they live in a red state or blue state, to the guidance of public health experts.

CAVUTO: All right, to Senator John Cornyn of Texas right now.

That explanation, Senator, of the Neanderthal comment, that the president wasn't calling the Texans or those in Mississippi or their leaders Neanderthals, but Neanderthal thinking when it comes to dealing with this virus, what do you think?

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): Well, she was dissembling there.

Obviously, the president talked about thinking, a way of thinking, approach.

But, to me, this is a distraction, Neil. We need to learn how to manage risk in our lives. That's -- we do that every day. And we have learned a lot about how to be responsible in the midst of this pandemic, maintain social distancing, masking when you can't.

But we have come a long way since then, better treatments, vaccinations, which are the gold standard, that we need to encourage more people to get shots in arms.

I think Texans are able to take care of their own personal responsibility by dealing with this in a way they see fit, rather than just have a one- size-fits-all government mandate from Washington, D.C.

CAVUTO: I understand where you're coming from, Senator.

And -- but a number of businesses that have operations, stores in Texas are not rushing into this. Hyatt Hotels, CVS Health, Starbucks, Target, Kroger, Kohl's, Best Buy, they're all maintaining this demand that masks be worn in their respective stores, that people honor distancing provisions.

So, they are not heeding the governor's call. Do you think the governor went too far too soon?

CORNYN: I don't, because the fact of the matter is, as you point out, anybody who wants to wear a mask or is required to wear a mask in order to shop at a particular store or go to a particular hotel will do so.

This just means that, as more and more people get vaccinated, that we can begin to live our lives again.

I would just ask the question, when, if ever, would the president believe that masking is no longer required? I have yet to hear a definition from him of when that moment would occur. And so I think, as people hear some of these arbitrary rules, they see some of their leaders not living by their own advice, like Governor Newsom and others, they seem increasingly arbitrary.

You have got to wear a mask when you're riding in your car by yourself, or when you're outdoors jogging with plenty of space. I mean, some of this is not based on any science. It's based on government mandate for -- to conformity that doesn't make much sense.

CAVUTO: Senator, the back-and-forth on this notwithstanding, the stimulus measure being heatedly debated right now, actually read right now, I guess, on the floor of the Senate, how long do you think this drags on?

CORNYN: Well, I think it's going to go on several days.

I feel strongly and I would say my colleagues feel strongly that, if you're going to waste $1.9 trillion on a whole laundry list of non-COVID-related spending, the American people need to know about it.

Our Democratic friends believe that they can just move this through in the middle of the night, and that the American people will not pay attention and they will not be held accountable.

Some of the worst stuff, as you know, has already fallen out of the bill, the $15 mandate for minimum wage, which would destroy 2.4 million jobs, the tunnel in Nancy Pelosi's California, the bridge that Senator Schumer said he didn't even know about, that he had to read about in the newspaper that would have gone from New York to Canada. Fortunately, those have begun to fall out.

But there's a whole lot more reckless and non-COVID-related spending there. And we intend to point it all out.

CAVUTO: Now, I know you're a no-vote, as things stand. There was talk that Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, your Republican colleague, might be a yes-vote.

Do you see any Republicans voting for this yourself?

And, in fact, any Republican effort to try to make this bipartisan has been uniformly resisted, including the offer of 10 Republicans over at the White House just three or four weeks ago, where they came up with a $600 billion bipartisan bill that was targeted at COVID-19 relief.

And President Biden politely gave them the Heisman. They're not interested. They want to make this a partisan bill, which is a dramatic departure from the five bills that we passed last year, including as recently as December.

And oh, by the way, the money we have appropriated hasn't even been spent yet. And yet the Democrats want to jam this through on a party-line vote. I think it's really reckless and regrettable.

CAVUTO: Senator John Cornyn, thank you, sir, very much for taking the time. I appreciate it.

CAVUTO: All right, in the meantime, we're talking about the $1.9 trillion stimulus plan.

But some of these plans are backing up planes at a busy airport, because infrastructure, as the good senator was reminding us, is being teed up next.

A crucial member of this drive to get that done will be joining us, John Garamendi, the Democrat from California, on what he wants to see in that and the prospect of bipartisan support for that -- after this.

CAVUTO: All right, so stimulus is just the latest.

There will be more, including an infrastructure package, we're told, the president conducting a bipartisan group meeting at the White House today on infrastructure, and, beyond that, a Build Back Better plan.

A key participant in that meeting joins us right now, California Democratic Congressman John Garamendi.

Congressman, very good to see you.


CAVUTO: How did the meeting go?

GARAMENDI: It was outstanding.

The president was absolutely clear he's moving -- once the rescue bill is completed, he's moving on to a very significant infrastructure bill, talked about every conceivable element, from bridges to rail, highways, airports, all the things that we need to do to build a modern America.

And he couched all of that in terms of resiliency, what we need to do to prepare for the changes that are occurring in the environment and, for us in California, what we need to do to prepare for earthquakes and the like, as we build our infrastructure.

CAVUTO: Sounds very expensive. Is it?

GARAMENDI: Oh, yes, it's going to be expensive.

But what are we going to do? Are we going to be a third-rate country where we can't go from here to there, where our energy system breaks down, as we saw in Texas or in California?

No, we have to build a modern infrastructure, one that takes into account the fact that the climate is changing, that the sea level is rising, that our ports need to be rebuilt, that we need rural broadband.

CAVUTO: All right, no, I get that.

I guess, when you said it's going to be very expensive.

CAVUTO: . I mean, are we talking many trillions of dollars, Congressman?

GARAMENDI: Well, if one were to look at what the engineering associations say, yes, it's going to stack up into the trillions. I don't know about many trillions, but it's going to be up there.

The reality is that, if we do it, we will create jobs, and we will have an economy that will be competitive around the world. So, these are investments that we -- have to be made. And, in most every case, these are investments, not for one year, but these are multidecade investments.

And, in fact, investments that were made in the '60s are now, what, 60, 70, 80 years old. We need to rebuild America. And when we do it, we need to, as the president says, build back better.

One of the things that I was really pleased about in this meeting is that my Republican colleagues were willing to talk about how we're going to pay for it. And that's going to take a lot of discussion.

CAVUTO: And how are we? How are we? Can you tell me that, Congressman? What are some of the ideas both sides were talking about?

GARAMENDI: Well, we do know that the excise tax for gasoline has not been raised for two decades, actually a little longer than that, and that we do know that, if we go to electric vehicles and hybrids in the West, that a whole lot of people are not going to be paying.

And so we need to look at vehicle miles driven. Both of those things were discussed. And one of our Republican colleagues put forth the notion of a carbon tax that would be used to finance infrastructure.

So, these were on the table really early, early in the discussion. We do know that, last year, the House put out an infrastructure package that will be the template. We invited the Republicans to participate last year. Some did, but not enough did. This year, I think we're going to start off with a bipartisan approach, try to develop in the Transportation Infrastructure Committee a bipartisan answer to this large issue that the president wants done.

He wants an infrastructure bill that covers all of the things that America needs to do, research facilities, schools, roads, streets, bridges, ports, airports. Yes, it's going to be money, but think of the number of people that are going to be working.

And on the third day of office, he issued an executive order that says your American taxpayer dollars are going to be used to buy American-made products. So important. We're talking about bringing this home.

CAVUTO: No, I understand that.

But did anyone in -- given the sheer size of this.

CAVUTO: . did anyone talks about, besides raising revenue to pay for it, about maybe prioritizing funds and taking monies from other areas? If this is going to be a priority, can we deprioritize other spending? Did that ever come up? Or is this just adding on to all of that?

GARAMENDI: Well, there's always an ongoing discussion about where to spend the money.

We certainly see this in the military. The military wants more. Well, they have more. And I'm on the Armed Services Committee. And I do know that there needs to be more spending in the military on some things, and not on others.

The question always comes up about other programs. We do know that we need to spend money on education. If you don't have the best educated work force in the world, you will not be competitive.

So, yes, there are questions. How do you spend that money? Where do you spend it? Those are the kind of discussions that must take place.

GARAMENDI: And I would expect you to call me back here and say, OK, where are you going to cut, Garamendi?

CAVUTO: All right, I will do just that.

CAVUTO: All right, Congressman, thank you very, very much.

Congressman Garamendi on all of that.

CAVUTO: You might notice that half the Capitol was open today, not the House side. There was concerns about some violence or threats. We don't have a lot of the details, but we do know that Capitol Police are very worried.

CAVUTO: You know, technically, the House was not in session today. The Senate was.

All we know is because of a possible plot -- I'm reading verbatim here -- to breach the Capitol. That's all we know.

Jennifer Griffin, our Pentagon correspondent, on what she has heard since and the presence of troops still in the Capitol and maybe for a while.


Well, that threat has not materialized, as you can see outside the Capitol today, but FOX News has exclusively obtained a draft copy of the U.S. Capitol security recommendations made by retired Lieutenant General Russel Honore, who House Speaker Nancy Pelosi handpicked to lead a six-week nonpartisan security review in the wake of the January 6 riot.

Among the 33 pages of recommendations is to establish a full-time quick reaction force at the U.S. Capitol that will cost up to $130 million per year. The report lists three options for deploying U.S. troops, use existing federal law enforcement entities, put them under the command of the D.C. National Guard, or U.S. military police from Guard elements across the U.S. on rotations of three to six months, or reestablishing a military police battalion who live in or near the city year-round perpetually on active duty.

The draft report says this is needed because the U.S. Capitol Police were understaffed, insufficiently equipped, and poorly trained to protect the Capitol when -- quote -- "violently attacked by a large mob."

The report says the decision-making process on January 6 was too slow. One recommendation is for the Capitol Police chief to be able to call out the National Guard in an emergency.

The report says U.S. Capitol Police must also hire 884 more officers, noting the Capitol Police last year put in a whopping 720,000 hours in overtime. This also -- there's also a discussion about fencing around the Capitol. There is a recommendation for retractable fencing being needed. Other recommendations include canine retirements are needed -- quote -- "Aging dogs are a problem. Consider reestablishing a mounted horse unit."

All of this comes, Neil, as U.S. Capitol Police have asked the National Guard to stay in D.C. for at least two more months. That decision now rests with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and the Army -- back to you.

CAVUTO: Another couple of months. Wow.

Jennifer, thank you very much, Jennifer Griffin, the latest on that.

All right, meanwhile, the soap opera around New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. The pile-on continues. But before there was a pile-on, there was just one person. She works here. Her job was to cover the weather. But she encountered the storm, and now she's unleashed it. And now she has a book out. And now she's here.

CAVUTO: Could I just start by saying, you know what I hate about Janice Dean? She's so damn positive.

CAVUTO: She's so proactive. She doesn't whine. She's very much like that Mary Tyler Moore character, when Lou Grant comes in and says, "You got spunk, Mary." And he adds, "I hate spunk."

And that's Janice in a nutshell. You know the story about her from the weather and everything here. You know she's always smiling and upbeat. What you might know is, she deals with multiple sclerosis, and always happy and positive force with that. That alone ticks me off.

CAVUTO: Then the tragedy that she had to deal with her mother-in-law and her father-in-law dying in a New York nursing home, and taking that battle on, with no less than the governor of the state, who was a rock star when she was first raising that.

Long before there was this pile-on of the governor, the pile consisted of just my friend and my business sister Janice Dean, out with a book today, "Make Your Own Sunshine: Inspiring Stories of People Who Find Light in Dark Times."

She has found that and the ultimate darkness a year ago, as all of this was coming crashing down, losing both of her husband's parents in this needless tragedy. She's with us now.

JANICE DEAN, FOX NEWS METEOROLOGIST: Don't make me cry, Neil. Don't make me cry.

CAVUTO: Oh, you don't get me started, young lady.

CAVUTO: In all seriousness, what made you write this? It's a very uplifting book.

For people who aren't familiar, I don't want to give it away, but you tell a lot of very uplifting stories often that you were exposed to just going through and dealing with the pandemic. And they -- they're very, very -- they're very emotionally uplifting.

But what got you doing this?

DEAN: I feel like this book was meant to be, not only because I wanted to put these wonderful stories about people being kind to others and spreading sunshine, because it helped me through this really dark chapter in my life with my family.

As you mentioned, we lost my husband's mother-in-law and father-in-law. I wrote a lot of this book during the pandemic. I conducted a lot of these interviews when we were going through this grieving process.

And it helped me. It brought sunshine into my life, talking to these strangers every day and hearing about how they overcame challenges, and came out on the other side wanting to be better people.

CAVUTO: You know what I liked about it out, though, Janice, all kidding aside, is you touch on just what it's like, the humanity we share.

We have political differences between us. There are psychological differences. We have different upbringings. I love the story about the dad who always wrote a napkin note for his daughter as he was battling cancer.

I particularly liked the guy who secretly buys coffee for everyone on the line behind him. When I get on the line at coffee, I'm still waiting. Is that the dude? Maybe he can pick up my tab.

CAVUTO: But I have always -- they're there. And there are legions of those stories, and people don't realize that.

And I know that, if you read this book, you're going to feel inspired to do good things for other people. I think the point is, we have to look for it. We have to be open to kindness and spreading sunshine.

I will tell you, when I was writing this book, I would take walks with my oldest son, Matthew, and we would spend time together. And he would say: "What's the interview that you did today, mom?"

So, it brought me closer to my family. And there is -- there is a moral to the story. And that is, we are all connected. And you really have to look for the sunshine.

CAVUTO: Your husband, Sean, who I met I think once, he sounds like a wonderful guy.

I know you were supposed to have a big 50th birthday extravaganza. And I guess you were going to go to Las Vegas, but, instead, he kind of brought Las Vegas to you.

DEAN: Yes, big 50th birthday. I was planning to go to Vegas with my closest girlfriends. And we were going to whoop it up. I had my sparkly dress waiting.

But then the pandemic happened. An, of course, we were quarantined. So my wonderful, thoughtful, amazing husband, who I still don't know if I deserve, but I'm so grateful, he brought Vegas to us and made my kitchen and living room into a casino, with a Vegas backdrop, and roulette table, and cards and balloons all over the wall.

And then he had a parade, a car parade where my friends and family surprised me and their cars and honked and sang and cheered.

DEAN: It was really the best birthday I have ever had.

CAVUTO: I really hate him the more I hear those stories, because he makes every husband look worthless.

CAVUTO: I love the story when he was -- you were both helping your son Theodore learn how to ride a bike. And I liked it. He said you will never unlearn learning this whole thing.

So, through it all, you guys stuck together and got there. That's a good message through the pandemic, because this might be going on a while. We're optimistic with vaccines, but the stories that you tell in your book are timeless in that sense, but it also is a reminder this ain't done.

And I will tell you, I found more stories about people trying to do good things for others during the pandemic, when we were all trying to socially distant -- distance and not be close to one another. I found that this brought me in some ways closer to friends and family than I ever have been before.

CAVUTO: Yes, I love the Tim Tebow story too.

But the one thing I will say -- and I have always joked with you about this, Janice -- you deal with multiple sclerosis, as do I. And you never listen to what I have said. Janice, play the victim. Get out of work with it. Build sympathy and support.

You refuse to listen to my advice. And it's really ticking me off. And now another bestseller-to-be, I have no doubt. But I will tell you, the stories are just uplifting. You made a puddle out of me reading it, because I -- some of them are just real tearjerkers.

But how are you feeling? How are you holding up yourself with all of this?

As you know, being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, every day is a gift. And I know you like to say that you try to get out of the chores at home and saying to your wife, I can't take out the garbage. I have M.S.

DEAN: I have used that with the cooking. I don't cook.

DEAN: So -- but it -- I do not cook. That is -- my husband will tell you that.

But it will -- it does remind you that every day is precious, and it is a gift.

DEAN: And I am grateful, thankful and blessed.

CAVUTO: OK. We are blessed to have and just to know you, Janice Dean.

The book is out. It's a tearjerker.

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