Miss Ginsu: About/Bio

 

She Slices, Dices... & Gets Slapped with a Cease & Desist

Golly! I never realized that such a mild (and frankly, nerdy) hobby as food blogging could be so edgy. So disquieting. So dangerous.

So... get this: I just got hate mail from Ed Valenti, who is apparently one of the marketing gurus who launched Ginsu Knives into the public eye back in the late '70s.

Here's the story, according to your friend and mine, the Internet:

The knife that is now sold under the "Ginsu" name was once a blade called "Quikut" — a mild-mannered utensil manufactured in Ohio to little fanfare.

In Japan, the hand can be used like a knife... but it can't cut a tomato!

Thanks to some fast-talking ad copy, a fabricated name and the services of a Japanese foreign exchange student who appeared in the ads, a classic commercial was launched out into TV-land. The campaign was a cheesy wonder and the U.S. post was inundated with "limited-time offer" shipments of razor-sharp Ginsu knives traveling to homes across America.

Dave Choppity-Chopping

NOW how much would you pay?

Of course, as a pop-culture reference, the word "Ginsu" was also a source of good laughs. Jerry Seinfeld, Weird Al Yankovic, Notorious B.I.G. and Nas have all made sharp-sharp Ginsu knife references in their works.

That's probably why one of my fellow cooks called me "Miss Ginsu" while observing my killa fresh-outta-cooking-school knife skills. Soon thereafter I started food blogging, and I used "Miss Ginsu" as my pen-name rather than the far-less-catchy real name that my parents gave me.

But that's not all!

Fast-forward to today, when I receive this fan letter in my Gmail inbox:
Please be advised that Ginsu is a registered trademark of the Berkshire Hathaway Company. You indicate a copyright after your name. Please provisde me with any copyrights you have obtained or a letter of permission to use the mark from BH....

Ed Valenti
Primedia,Inc
1775 Bald Hill Rd
Warwick,RI 02886
401 826 3600


I posted my very first food blog entry waaay back in May, 2004, and like most people who cook, eat and feel some strange need to share all that the internet, I've been blogging in obscurity ever since.

Do I make money from this site? Nope. Food blogging has been a four-year drain on my free time and my personal finances. Why do I do it? I love food. I love connecting with other people about food. I love all the things I discover about food as I travel and cook. And I love sharing that stuff.

So why does marketing guru and accomplished public speaker Ed Valenti care about harassing an obscure food blog?

Well, it all comes back to dollars. He doesn't own the word "Ginsu," nor my nickname, "Miss Ginsu," (I guess Berkshire Hathaway owns all that) but since Ed Valenti makes his money in lecture halls and marketing books about "Ginsu" concepts, it seems that he has his own business interests to protect.

...But this is a limited time offer, so call now!

So here's where you come in, dear reader. I'll probably have to change my name and my website pretty soon. I find it sad that crushing little food bloggers with legal power is sorta the way this country does business.

I used to blog as Miss Ginsu, and my blog was titled, "The Hedonista," but that got pretty confusing. People asked me, are you "The Hedonista" or Miss Ginsu? Understandable confusion.

These days, this site is about excitement and discovery and the way food discussion is relevant in nearly every aspect of our lives. I don't know if "The Hedonista" really encompasses that food exploration theme.

Anyone out there on the inter-webs have a good suggestion for a name replacement? I'll offer a T-shirt to the kind soul who comes up with a winner. Help a girl out and post in the comments. Thanks, y'all!

Labels: , ,

3.08.2008

12 Comments:

Blogger Eric Hazard said...

How about ****edvalenti.com? (The stars stand for a very naughty word).

Otherwise, I've always been partial to Blood Sausage Weekly.

3/09/2008  
Blogger MissGinsu said...

Ha! I think if people arrived at Blood Sausage Weekly and saw my pigtailed avatar, they'd be a little skeeved out. Might have to mess with the color scheme a bit...

3/09/2008  
Blogger Jessy and her dog Winnie said...

Wow. That dude is a jerk, picking on a food blogger. Mabe you could name it->

The food Blogger who got their name stolen by a big fat jerk.

or

You could change the spelling, and call yourself Miss Ginsoo

or

Chef G's culinary travels.

Hmm I'm not sure, I will keep thinking.

3/09/2008  
OpenID offthebroiler said...

No way. Don't give into pressure, that's your brand. If Burger King came to me and said "Off The Broiler" is one of their trademarks and intellectual property, I'd tell them to go to hell.

You can tell Mr. Valenti that your pen name is "MissGinsu" and not "Miss GINSU". I would go thru all your posts and adjust the spacing. There is no confusing your blog with the Ginsu trademark at all.

3/09/2008  
Blogger MissGinsu said...

Thanks, guys. I appreciate the support. :)

Maybe I will do that thing with the spacing as a stop-gap solution...

3/09/2008  
Blogger Jessy and her dog Winnie said...

Ooo! tell him that Ginsu is your last name!!! and that you are offended that he is such a pretentious idiot.

3/09/2008  
Blogger Brian Morris said...

I have sent an email to my friend in Oregon. He is an intellectual property attorney. We'll get to the bottom of this.

In the mean time email mr "d"-bag and ask him "What you rookin' at"

3/09/2008  
Blogger MissGinsu said...

Actually, I like that last one a lot, Jessy. Maybe I'll just get my name legally changed to Miss Ginsu. ;)

In the meantime, I've talked with a friend in the business who recommended I make it totally clear that I'm not affiliated with the holder of the registered trademark, so now I'm going to put this on all my pages:

"Ginsu® is a trademark of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. MissGinsu.com is in no way affiliated or endorsed by Berkshire Hathaway Inc. This website and its author have no connection to Berkshire Hathaway Inc. in any way. The views and opinions contained within this website belong L M Matz and do not represent the views of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. in any way."

Hopefully, that'll clear up any confusion...

3/09/2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And I always thought Miss Ginsu was part of the Ginsu knife family ....

Though seriously I can't imagine that there is any concern to them and it is kind of you to make the changes you suggest above. Good luck!

I'll be back to read regardless of the name. How about Miss Sharp Knife formerly named Ginsu?

3/10/2008  
Blogger spring said...

i suggest "chez stumpy" as the new name. catchy!

-the ex roomie

3/10/2008  
Blogger MissGinsu said...

Thanks, B! You rule.

Ex-Roomie: If that 3-legged pile of fur could cook, I'd have become a millionaire off youtube vids back in the "caturday" era. That said, the place *is* pretty much Chez Stumpy...

3/10/2008  
Blogger Adriana Velez said...

No, that's terrible news. What a bully! I hope your disclaimer keeps the non-foodie lawyers away.

3/11/2008  

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