Germany’s Hokkaido Kürbis Obsession: How Deutschland Fell in Love with a Japanese Squash

It’s hard to miss Hokkaido Squash season in Germany, with special menus and all the farmers’ markets and vegetable stands piled high with the popular red-orange “Hokkaido Squash.” Wait, hold on… Hokkaido? That’s a region in Japan. And all the squash and pumpkins are new-world vegetables, anyway. So how the heck did Germany make the Hokkaido pumpkin its own? Our food history on the Hokkaido Kürbis takes us back to the 1500s, when the Portugese brought south and central-American pumpkins back to Europe....

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Picnic-Ready Mustard Eggs: Cooking With the Devil
Recipes How to Picnic-Ready Mustard Eggs: Cooking With the Devil

I like to take deviled eggs to picnics. They’re delicious, impressive and actually easier to transport and assemble than you’d think. Read on, and I’ll show you how to do it. But first, I have a story that goes along with my deviled eggs and that’s about one of my more embarassing moments… On a Pennsylvania-based business trip for work, I met and interviewed an Amish family. We were hoping to bring their free-range eggs into our business, so we got a tour of the facilities before being invited to sit down for lunch in their home.

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Plantain Bread & The Wonder of Quick Loaves
Recipes Plantain Bread & The Wonder of Quick Loaves

For some reason, I especially love recipes that turn old or ugly fruit and vegetables from trash to treasure. It’s almost like getting something for free. Rubbery zucchini? Zucchini Bread! Black, squishy bananas? Banana Bread! Dented Eggplant? Make Baba Ganoush! Bruised apples or strawberries? Perfect for a quick fruit sauce. When we had two soft, black plantains that were surplus to requirements for our Cuban dinner, I assumed they’d be a good addition to a quick bread, and I was more than thrilled with the result.

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Pückler and the Neapolitans: A History of Three-Flavor Ice Cream
Food history Pückler and the Neapolitans: A History of Three-Flavor Ice Cream

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always thought of Neapolitan, the classic, three-layered Chocolate-Strawberry-Vanilla ice cream, as the refuge of the indecisive person. After all, why make a choice? Choosing is painful. By choosing the triple-combination of Neapolitan, or its somewhat fancier cousin, Spumoni, you get multiple options and no regret. Win! Having moved to Germany, I’ve noticed a different approach. The locals here seem to eliminate the pain of choosing by getting a standard two scoops with two different flavors on every cone and cup.

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The Blog is Back!
Food blogging The Blog is Back!

Hey! It’s been a while! Sooo… what have you been doing for the past 10 years or so? The …ahem… unique challenges of 2020 have given me (and probably you) some time to think. Personally, I’ve spent the time planting vegetables on the balcony and reflecting on food writing. I made my first website (about tomatoes, naturally) in 1998. For a while, I wrote about writing. And in 2004, when I started food blogging at Miss Ginsu (which was then The Hedonista) there really weren’t so many food blogs out there.

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Terrifyingly Tasty Treats for Halloween
Terrifyingly Tasty Treats for Halloween

The “halloweenies” you see here are adorable, but they really don’t even deserve a recipe. They’re just cocktail-size sausages artistically wrapped in thin slices of puff pastry with little black currant or peppercorn eyes… (some people use mustard dabs for eyes after they’re cooked). Bake in a moderately hot oven (375 F/190 C) about 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Halloween really snuck up on me this year, and that never happens.

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A (Modern) Jazz Age Cocktail:
Recipes Travel A (Modern) Jazz Age Cocktail:

“First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.” F. Scott Fitzgerald Say you find yourself standing on an uninhabited island among gaily costumed picnickers with a cocktail in your hand, a dance floor and orchestra before you, a pie contest to your left and the Dorothy Parker Society just behind you. Never fear. You’re probably not dreaming. You probably didn’t fall into a time warp.

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About Me

Miss Ginsu is a nom-nom-nom de plume of Leitha Matz, who worked at Tabla and FreshDirect in NYC, wrote about the food scene from 2004 to 2009 in Brooklyn and presently lives in Berlin. Occasionally seen on TV cooking segments, Leitha has also written for FreshDirect, contributed to Cee Cee Berlin, The Food52 Cookbook and has been interviewed/quoted in The Food Keeper as well as The Washington Times and Salon.

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