Germany’s Hokkaido Kürbis Obsession: How Deutschland Fell in Love with a Japanese Squash
Recipes History 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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Eureka! The German-Russian Plum Kuchen
Food history Recipes Eureka! The German-Russian Plum Kuchen

Following the paths of history leads to a lot of strange endpoints. A group of people ends up halfway across the world, replanted in a strange location, and you wonder, why is there a population of Koreans in Kazakhstan? To this and many other Central Asian mysteries, my friend from Kazakhstan shrugs and simply says, “Stalin.” Unsurprisingly, when I went to find out why the Dakotas of North America are full of a population that identifies as “Germans from Russia,” the answer is partly Stalin.

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Day 4: Holiday Glühwein
Recipes Day 4: Holiday Glühwein

*This post marks Day 4 of Miss Ginsu’s 2008 Advent Calendar . Ever open up a bottle of wine and then wish you hadn’t bought it? It’s not corked or anything. It’s just… not your thing. The Germans have a thrifty and practical solution for this in the form of glühwein, which you might also know as Norwegian glögg or simply mulled wine. In fact, most wine-drinking cultures have some kind of mulled wine tradition, so I don’t wonder whether this recipe started with the need to do something with unsatisfactory vino.

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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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