My Big Fat Granola Epiphany
Recipes My Big Fat Granola Epiphany

Sometimes, I’m just rolling along with my life and I’m suddenly hit upside the head with the realization I’ve been doing something completely silly for years. Case in point: Granola. Why have I been buying granola? I feel like such a dope for having paid Kellogg’s to make a substandard version of it for me. And speaking of big American companies, granola actually is a very American invention. By now, granola has made its way into health food stores across the world, but interestingly, it was invented in a little town in western New York as a health food for a sanitarium.

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Waves of Orange, Fluttering, and A Tangerine-Frisee Salad
Recipes Waves of Orange, Fluttering, and A Tangerine-Frisee Salad

NYC restaurants are on a saffron kick these days, all aswirl with excitement over Jeanne-Claude and Christo’s miles of billowing fabric. I went today, and indeed… in just the right beam of sunlight, I could see the saffron. It’s not that I don’t love saffron. Truth is, I’m just mad about saffron. (heh…) But what I saw was tangerine. Miles and miles of tangerine. Flattened Clementines strung up in sheets.

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Avocados, Lawyers and A Delicious, Chunky Guacamole
Food facts Recipes Avocados, Lawyers and A Delicious, Chunky Guacamole

Testicles, avocados and lawyers. This is why I’m in love with etymology: “The history of avocado takes us back to the Aztecs and their language, Nahuatl, which contained the word ahuacatl meaning both ‘fruit of the avocado tree’ and ‘testicle.’ The word ahuacatl was compounded with others, as in ahuacamolli, meaning ‘avocado soup or sauce,’ from which the Spanish-Mexican word guacamole derives. “In trying to pronounce ahuacatl, the Spanish who found the fruit and its Nahuatl name in Mexico came up with aguacate, but other Spanish speakers substituted the form avocado for the Nahuatl word because ahuacatl sounded like the early Spanish word avocado (now abogado), meaning ‘lawyer.

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Cookin' with the Democrats and Tip O’Neill’s Beer Roast
Recipes Cookin' with the Democrats and Tip O’Neill’s Beer Roast

Politics and food. Strange bedfellows? More like awkward dancing partners who never quite get the rhythm down. I picked up “What’s Cookin' With the Democrats” in a little used bookstore in Southern Minnesota, and this 1992-era political time capsule has given me years of dorky pleasure, although I haven’t actually cooked anything from it. Offering up recipies and mug shots of “Senators, Representatives, Governors and other Prominent Democrats who generously share their favorite recipes with America’s Homemakers” we can stare in wide-eyed wonder at how socially retarded this piece comes off for the supposedly progressive political party… this was, after all, the early ’90s.

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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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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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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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Horchata = Cold Comfort
Recipes Horchata = Cold Comfort

The cool, damp spring screeches to a sudden halt with a day so muggy it’s like walking around in someone’s mouth. And of course the air conditioner is out of service. Under these circumstances, I can’t think, I can’t focus and I feel so sweaty and gritty I want to peel my skin off. But a cool, sweet liquid hovers in my mind with a shimmering promise of sweet refreshment. Ahh, Horchata.

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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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