Recipes My Bizarre Cookbook Collection: The Sesame Street Cookbook

Since its inception in 1969, Sesame Street has been hearty seed for fertile young minds. From phonics and mathematics to Spanish and music appreciation, I personally owe that program a huge debt. High up on the itemized receipt for that debt, I include “The Sesame Street Cookbook,” published in 1971 by Pat Tornborg. This fine cookbook — my first — introduced me to such approachable delights as Mr. Snuffle-upagus’ “Snuffle-Loaf in a Spaghetti Nest” and “Twiddle-Burgers” as well as culinary experiments, such as Oscar’s “Sardine and Orange Salad” and the Amazing Mumford’s “A La Peanut Butter Soup.

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Williamsburg’s Prettiest Apple Pie and the Discovery of the Hipster/Domesticity Link
Recipes Food blogging Williamsburg’s Prettiest Apple Pie and the Discovery of the Hipster/Domesticity Link

I’m waaay too uncool to be a hipster, but I imagine being one must be a lot of work. I mean, think about the time it takes to do all the trend-spotting, the look-innovating, the show-hopping (so you can be the first to be bored by any given up-and-coming band), the long nights of cheap-beer drinking and naturally, the “I’m so done with all the mainstream bullshit” attitude maintenance. Exhausting, right?

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Gazpacho redemption
Recipes Gazpacho redemption

Sadly, one of my favorite local joints recently charged me $6 for the pleasure of a cup of really poorly made gazpacho… gazpacho with far too much raw onion and nearly no spice or salt. The worst part was, it just tasted so flat and lifeless. It needed a shot of acid. It came with a little sprinkle of chives, but no cracker, no toast tip. Alas! I knew I would have been better off making it myself.

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Hot Fudge. Sundae Style. The Classic.
Recipes Hot Fudge. Sundae Style. The Classic.

You can take all the overcomplicated ice cream desserts: the multi-story towers of melting goo and wafer scaffolding. I’ll stick with my classic summer romance: the hot fudge sundae. Our old friend Hot Fudge has been around since 1906. Born at C.C. Browns, a Hollywood Boulevard ice cream parlor on in Los Angeles, it’s been iterated in multiple ways over the years as high and low cuisine. But that doesn’t make our dear old Hot Fudge a has-been… it’s an enduring favorite thanks to the interplay of contrasts: hot and cold.

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The Tomato Sandwich. Simple. Succulent. Summer-y
Recipes The Tomato Sandwich. Simple. Succulent. Summer-y

Anything you’re forced to eat over the sink or off the edge of the deck is a sign of a life well-lived. Case in point: the Summer Tomato Sandwich. My landlord leaves tomatoes and cucumbers on the ledge of my kitchen windowsill. A neighborhood blessing. These very welcome offerings arrive mysteriously, no fanfare, as if on the wings of fairies, so it seems appropriate that they should make their way into my meals in a whimsical, offhand fashion.

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The Coney Island Cooler: Refreshment to Sip on the Beach and Boardwalk
Recipes The Coney Island Cooler: Refreshment to Sip on the Beach and Boardwalk

What’s the deal with charging for beach access on the east coast? This is a concept that, as a midwestern foreigner, seems strange to me. Granted, it does cost something to comb the glass out of the sand and hire the lifeguards. Call me a socialist, but shouldn’t beach care fall under the umbrella of some form of government, like for instance, libraries? Like schools? Like health care… oh, not that… I mean… like road maintenance?

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The Farmers Market Salad: How to Savor the Moment.
Recipes The Farmers Market Salad: How to Savor the Moment.

In a culinary sense, there’s a lot to be said for spring – all the fresh new greens, zippy young ramps, asparagus sprouts, tangy rhubarb stalks, earthy morels, and a preponderance of peapods. Fall also has its high points. I can’t deny the appeal the apple season, the rich butternut squashes, the cool autumn mushrooms, fresh cranberry chutneys, and sweet potato pie. But for variety and straight-from-the-farmers-market freshness, you really can’t beat late July through early September.

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Recipes Mom’s Homemade Pizza: The Not-So Humble Pie.

Pizza. It’s ubiquitous, reliable, dependable. It’s earned a place beside your favorite pair of jeans, your oldest friend, those favorite CDs you upgraded from cassettes and now need to replace again. But don’t let familiarity breed contempt. I suspect one good pizza could change the world. Consider: Pizza as host. From soy-cheese and spinach to double pepperoni, corner slice to creme fraiche-and-caviar, pizza accommodates everyone. Mention your meeting features pizza and attendance doubles.

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Book Groups: More Than Just an Excuse for Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Recipes Book Groups: More Than Just an Excuse for Chocolate Zucchini Bread

I’ll advance the argument that even a bad book club is better than none at all for those of us who fancy themselves career students of the University of Life. (Anyone out there who’s on an academic track need not bother with this line of thought. Your profession is already a de facto specialized book club for your field of interest. Move along, nerds!) The thing is, what do we find as the most common frame of reference with most people in our lives?

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Easy Beet Salad: Learning the Beet
Recipes Easy Beet Salad: Learning the Beet

Did I ever tell you about the time I discovered beets? No? Well, it’s a fun story. I grew up in a beet-free home. Lotsa tomatoes, lotsa carrots. Dad just didn’t bang a drum for the beet. For that reason, I was a teenager before I discovered pickled beets at a potluck. They were amazing. I just couldn’t get enough. Sweet, earthy, rich! I must have downed a half-pound of pickled beets.

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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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