Miss Ginsu: About/Bio

 

Recycled Bird (or Squirrel) Feeder

Correct me if I'm wrong, because I don't buy a lot of juice, but I believe this image is showing off a clever way to reuse an old plastic juice container.

Squirrel Modeling the Bird Feeder

Visiting in Minneapolis last weekend, mom and I stopped in at a roadside rest stop and found this little household recycling project swinging from the trees. (And come to think of it, that actually looks like an onion bag filled with suet in the background. Yet more great recycling. Go Minnesota DOT, go!)

Looks like all you'd need is a big plastic juice jug, a utility knife (to cut the flaps in the sides), a nail (to pierce a hole in the lid), a knotted piece of string (to push through the hole in the lid) a stick or dowel (to give the birds a perch) and a little premium bird seed.*

It's certainly not squirrel-proof, but with squirrels this charming, maybe you don't really want to repel them.

Squirrel Close-Up

As a kid, I remember using the canisters from orange juice concentrate to make pencil holders, but I'm a bit of out of the loop on the world of food packaging projects.

If you're so inclined, post in the comments if you've seen any other inventive recycling ideas lately.

In the meantime, I hope y'all had a delightful weekend!

Cheers,
Miss Ginsu

* And conveniently, we learned last week that buying premium bird seed lets credit card companies know that you're reliable and creditworthy.

Labels: , , , , ,

5.26.2009

I can haz cute now?

Had a terrific trip to upstate New York yesterday to tour Ronnybrook Farm and nearby Coach Farm.

I'll get into the dairy details and post some tasty video soon enough, but I wanted to get to the cream first: all the squishably adorable baby animals.

Behold, my friends... the cute.

Jersey Calf at Ronnybrook
A charming Jersey calf at Ronnybook Farm. Check out that little black tongue.

Newborn Dairy Cow at Ronnybrook Farm
Newborn dairy cow at Ronnybrook Farm. Those nose freckles are killing me.

O Hai. A wee little kid at Coach Farm
O hai... a wee little kid at Coach Farm.

A slightly older, cock-headed goat at Coach Farm
A slightly older, cock-headed goat at Coach Farm.

Yet another charming Alpine goat at Coach Farm
Yet another charming Alpine goat at Coach Farm.

Yours in love of cuteness,
Miss Ginsu

Labels: , , , , ,

5.09.2009

Italian Pecorino Cheese: A How-To Video

In my short career in video blogging, I've run through making fresh paneer cheese, watching the Salvatore Ricotta folks stuff cheese into cannoli and now, my latest clip documents the making of uber-traditional pecorino in the Italian countryside.

I'm afraid you'll start to believe I'm a bit cheese-obsessed. I assure you, the theme is entirely coincidental. I swear the next video will be about something other than cheese.

Meanwhile, I have to say, this is really my favorite clip yet, featuring some truly charming Italian sheep and goats I met in the mountains of Abruzzo while on a farm stay near Sora, Italy. They were excellent actors, all. Very cooperative.

Abruzzo, Italy

A very charming goat

Sheep stomach

You'll notice that, in making the cheese, the shepherd uses nothing more than milk in a big, black cauldron, a stick(!), some sheep's stomach and coarse salt. That's it. There's a campfire on hand for making ricotta, which is a byproduct of his pecorino processing.



Aside from the shepherd's snazzy threads, there's very little here that's any different from the way people have been making cheese for thousands of years.

Looks easy, no? But before you go and get yourself a herd of your own, know this: the shepherd and his wife get up before dawn every day to do this. Weekends. Holidays. Every day. There's no vacation from a herd of sheep and goats.

Meanwhile, I secreted a wheel of this very cheese back to the states in my luggage and am going to ask Anne Saxelby to nestle it in her cave to age for a bit. We'll see how it tastes after it's had a few months to rest.

Cheers, ya'll!

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

7.16.2008

A Final Treat from 1946

Golden Hamster on a Scale: If processed food is good for man, he will thrive.
A parting shot from Foods 1946

He will thrive! He will thrive!

Thanks, 1946... It's been great visiting you. So long, and thanks for all the fish.

Labels: , , ,

1.25.2008

Day 7: Pain, Protection and the Pomander

This post marks Day 7 of Miss Ginsu's 2007 Advent Calendar. To click into other days and other projects, use the calendar page to navigate.

Delightful to smell, dead easy to make and ubiquitous around the holidays, I'd grown up believing the clove-studded orange pomander was the one true thing.

Pomander Progress

As it turns out, pomanders weren't initially citrus-based at all. They were expensive aroma plus precious metals, cherished as the ancient things of queens and kings. The pomanders of old were fancy perfume carriers.

Apparently, the name comes from the French pomme dambre, i.e. "apple of amber." The amber to which they refer is actually the time-tested perfume agent ambergris. And you may, as I do, remember ambergris from your elementary-school cetacean studies as expensive whale vomit. (Darn it, don't you just love etymology?)

In any case, it seems our stinky European forebears used pomanders to ward off the personal and public effluvia that pervaded their stuffy lives. Back in the day, there was widespread belief that airborne funk carried plague, cholera, etc., so a sweet-smelling pomander was seen as a tool of protection.

Pomander Detail
Detail from a painting of an unknown lady holding a pomander on a chain. Pieter Janz. Pourbus

Somehow, pomanders became associated with the holidays. I have a hunch that's a function of the December citrus season connection.

Though our modern lives feature far less stench, I think we still appreciate little things that smell pretty.

Finished pomanders dry, shrink and make excellent holiday decorations. Keep in mind, too, that you can use whichever citrus you prefer or happen to have on hand. I think lemon or lime pomanders would be just as lively.

As I was pushing cloves into an orange recently, my fingers started to hurt a bit. I wimped out and only made a very basic pomander, figuring that fewer cloves gave it a clean and spartan look. Some people go the distance with their pomanders, pushing in dozens of cloves, devising complicated patterns, tying on ribbons and rolling the thing in a mixture of warm spices, like ground cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg and orris root — a natural preservative.

Later on, I did a little pomander research and realized that most people use a skewer or toothpick to poke holes in the orange before inserting the cloves. Ah, well... Bruised fingertips are a small price for such a merry scent.

J picked up my sparely poked pomander the next morning and compared it to Cenobite villain Pinhead of Clive Barker's Hellraiser series.

Pomander Pinhead
Maybe Clive Barker was really into pomanders...

Accurate maybe, but that's not exactly the look I was going for. So much for simple and clean. Maybe next time I'll use an intricate spiral pattern and spring for some ribbons.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

12.07.2007