Recipes Day 11: Herein We Go a Wassail-ing

*This post marks Day 11 of Miss Ginsu’s 2008 Advent Calendar. When I lived in Minneapolis, one of my friends organized annual holiday caroling. It was probably my favorite thing about the whole holiday season. We spent far more time “practicing” than caroling (you can accurately insert “goofing around” for the quoted material above), but it was good fun for all. We stuck to the classics, and Here We Go a-Wassailing was always on the list.

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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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Recipes Demystifying Mussels

Here’s a mystery: Mussels are cheap, tasty, plentiful, fast-cooking, low in mercury, a lean source of protein and a good way to get your omega-3 fatty acids. Early humans were big on ‘em. With all that to their credit, you might think they’d go like gangbusters. You’d think those little black shellfish would be flying out of fishmongers’ shops, so to speak. But no. You’d be wrong. Home cooks tend to shy away from cooking mussels.

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Food Quote Friday: William Butler Yeats

A Drinking Song Wine comes in at the mouth And love comes in at the eye; That’s all we shall know for truth Before we grow old and die. I lift the glass to my mouth, I look at you, and I sigh. — William Butler Yeats

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Bottle and brew for the bird (and you)

If you’re reading this in the US, you’re very likely celebrating Thanksgiving with a turkey. If you’ve heard this tune before, you may have noticed by now that the turkey can be a tricky dance partner. When the breast meat is done, the legs are overcooked. When the legs are perfect, the breast is raw.* A whole turkey takes up most of the oven for most of the day, leaving little room for side dishes or desserts.

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Your Cut-and-Paste Party

Dismal weather and long hours at work got you down? Haven’t seen the chums in a spell? Take a cue from the “The Worcester Letter Writer,” (the peerless 1879 edition, of course), and put together a little soiree with the help of one of their lively form letters. “My dear Lloyd. – Half a dozen good fellows, together with your humble servant, propose devoting a few hours on Wednesday >evening to a little social chit-chat, etc.

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Food Quote Friday: Nikos Kazantzakis

“How simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. All that is required to feel that here and now is happiness, is a simple heart.” — Nikos Kazantzakis (1883-1957) from Zorba the Greek

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A sweet moment in airport security

Okay… raise your tiny fist if you’ve had something taken from you at the airport gate. Yeah, me too. My water bottles, tweezers and little red Swiss Army Knives have all made it into the TSA refuse pile. Fellow foodies returning from far-flung feasts (the recent AAA estimate put this year’s holiday travel number at 37.2 million Americans traveling 50 or more miles from home) should appreciate this delicious moment relayed from the rim of the shiny silver TSA arch.

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Food Quote Friday: Homer

“Then all day long until sunset we sat dining on a bounty of meat and fine wine, and then we went to sleep on the beach.” -Homer (circa 8th Century BC) in the Odyssey

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Food Quote Friday: W. C. Fields

“Reminds me of my safari in Africa. Somebody forgot the corkscrew and for several days we had to live on nothing but food and water.” W. C. Fields (1880-1946)

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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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