Snacks to Help You Tri Harder

If you’re a longtime reader, you may have noticed I’ve posted more infrequently lately. There’s a reason for that: In order to fulfill a personal New Year’s Resolution this year, I’m training for my very first triathlon — a sprint tri in Central Park that takes place next month. Now, maybe some people can complete an Ironman event in their sleep, but if you’d known me when I was a sprout, you’d know what a big deal even a sprint-length triathlon is for me.

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Making the Best Amateur Cookbook Ever.
Making the Best Amateur Cookbook Ever.

“I think I need more,” she said, with only the slightest trace of sheepish guilt in her expression. “If I give you money, can you see if they have more?” Tomorrow is my CSA pick-up day. But today, my coworker, a fellow local food devotee, is hitting me up. She’s shoving money in my hands. For vegetables? Nah. For fruit? Nope. She wants cookbooks . Cookbooks produced by CSA volunteers, no less.

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Dear Miss Ginsu: My Soup is Bland.

Dear Miss Ginsu, I need help with my bean soup. It’s bland. I’ve already added the salt. What am I doing wrong? -Desperately Seeking Flavor Dear DSF, Bland soup is so disappointing. I feel your pain. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) I’m not psychic. Without reading the recipe you used or tasting the soup myself, it’s difficult to know what to tell you to add. That said, I can offer some general help.

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Resolution #4: Keep it Low & Slow

I’ve learned a lot about healthful eating recently from J, who’s interested in the topic for the sake of intellectual curiosity and athletic performance and also my brother Dan, who was diagnosed with diabetes last year. The most interesting thing I’ve learned is that although their goals are different, their methods are almost identical . Even though J wants to maximize his performance and Dan is looking to stay healthy, they’ve both adopted the same philosophy on diet and exercise.

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Resolution #2: Rearrange the Plate

In culinary school, we did a lot of plate drawings. The elements were always different, but the formula was invariable: Protein, Veg, Starch. Protein, Veg, Starch. J recently started trying to drop weight to qualify for a lower weight division at tournaments, and he suggested that we drop the starch sector from our plates. “Just double the vegetables and put the meat on the side.” At the time, this statement was revolutionary, and I must admit, not terribly welcome.

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Resolution #1: Better Brown Bagging

Get to (or stay at) a healthy weight. Enjoy variety. Save money. Control what goes into your body. Feel more organized. These are just a few of the many tasty benefits wrapped up in the resolution to pack more delicious lunches to take to work. Truth is, I’ve known all the terrific reasons to pack lunch for quite some time, but I’ve never quite been able to put the plan in action.

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New Year’s Wellness Resolutions

Some people hate resolutions. I think they loathe setting themselves up for failure or feeling pressured to perform or something of that nature. I look at New Year’s resolutions as a great time to stop and hit the reset button. Our national custom of resolution creation is a reminder that it’s occasionally important to look across the landscape of one’s life and work on some upgrades. What’s bad about that?

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Dear Miss Ginsu: Poisoned by Bay Leaves?

Dear Miss Ginsu, I have a culinary/biology question. I made black bean soup yesterday — the kind where you blend the beans into a purée. I took out the bay leaf, blended the beans and finished the soup. Then remembered I actually had two bay leaves in the pot. Today I was in, um, intestinal distress, hot flashes, dizzy, etc. Could the bay leaf be the culprit? — Bad Belly

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Dear Miss Ginsu: I Need A Brine for Pickling Green Beans
Recipes Dear Miss Ginsu: I Need A Brine for Pickling Green Beans

Dear Miss Ginsu, We have a huge bean harvest — got any recipes for pickled beans? Yours, — Swimming in ‘em Dear Swimmer, Oh, how I loove pickled green beans! They’re so very tasty. And texture-wise, I think I may even prefer them to pickled cucumbers. In fact, I hope there are still some CSA or farmers’ market beans on the way. Now if I can only keep from boiling and eating them straight away, I’m inspired to get some into jars.

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Dear Miss Ginsu: Bitter Tomato Sauce?

Dear Miss Ginsu, Ok, I figure if anyone knows the answer to this, it’s you. Spaghetti sauce: aside from adding copious amounts of sugar — how does one keep homemade sauce from being sour/bitter? I’m assuming this comes from a combination of the tomato sauce and bell peppers? Not sure how to counteract this flavor without turning it into “candied” red sauce. Yours, Bittersweet Dear BS, Cooking all the elements of the process long and slow is a sure-fire way to increase the natural sugars.

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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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