Miss Ginsu: About/Bio

 

Tri Harder

If you're a longtime reader, you may have noticed I've posted more infrequently lately. There's a reason for that: In order to fulfill a personal New Year's Resolution this year, I'm training for my very first triathlon — a sprint tri in Central Park that takes place next month.

Now, maybe some people can complete an Ironman event in their sleep, but if you'd known me when I was a sprout, you'd know what a big deal even a sprint-length triathlon is for me. My high school class did not vote me "most likely to drop a lot of money on protein powder."

I was an arty kid. I couldn't even make it the one mile around the track for the Presidential Physical Fitness tests they administered every year in gym class. Just running a quarter mile made my lungs feel like they were burning.

But after college, a funny thing happened. I jogged a bit, and it wasn't so bad. No burning lungs. So I jogged a bit more. I thought I'd be the best I could be when I hit that long-awaited mile run, but it turns out I can now zip out for a 3.5-mile run before breakfast.

Chickpeas on the Run

So what made the difference? I credit two success factors: 1. Lack of judgement from gym teachers and classmates. 2. Not living with a smoker (Dad was a heavy smoker throughout most of my childhood).

And the best part? progress with running helped show that I wasn't athletically retarded (something I'd long believed). This year I enrolled in swim classes at the YMCA. And while I'm not a sleek dolphin in the water yet, I'm now proud to say I'm less of a sea cow.

A great benefit I've discovered about training for a triathlon is the diversity. If I have a blister from running, I can switch over to swimming. If my arms are sore from swimming, I can work on my biking. The built-in variety means I'm never bored. There's just so much to concentrate on.

That's also part of the downside of triathlon training. Even for a shorter-distance triathlon (like the sprint tri I'm working toward) there's a major time commitment to balance each aspect of the sport.

Aside from juggling the schedule to accommodate training, anyone attempting athletic events quickly finds that eating becomes a major planning factor. When do you eat? What do you eat? How much do you eat? In what form should you eat it? I must admit, I'm not really jazzed about eating (slurping?) those sugary little goo packets I see in sporting goods stores.

Additionally, many events start early. Should you wake up extra-early to eat so you have time to digest beforehand? When the event is long, as in the many hours involved in a marathon, how do you eat on the run (literally), without upsetting the tummy?

Luckily, those who work out tend to experiment and find their own solutions to these questions. And they're usually happy to share.

Dave's New Pizza Oven
Dave's New Pizza Oven

Just yesterday, I stopped by the Fort Greene Brooklyn Flea to chat with my friend Chef Dave Sclarow of Lunetta and Pizza Moto while he kneaded dough into crusts. (BTW, he's expanding into the Sunday Flea in Dumbo in a couple of weeks.)

He gave me a handy tip for even more simple smoothies: Instead of using an upright blender, use a big cup (or a mason jar) with a stick blender (aka "immersion blender"). Fast, easy and less laborious to clean up. Brilliant.

Smoothie in a Jar
Smoothie in a Jar

Dave offers this recipe for his workout smoothies: two ice cubes, half a banana, big scoop of peanut butter and soy milk. Sometimes he adds a little maple syrup if he wants it to be sweeter.

So today, I made my morning smoothie in a mason jar with a lid, and kept it cold in the fridge for my post-workout recovery drink. Slick.

One of his pizza-slingers mentioned that the sesame-seed & honey bars that are sometimes found in natural food stores make good workout snacks, too. A little protein. Some sugars. Easy to carry. A good option.

I've done posts on workout snacks before, but I'm always open to new tips and helpers. Drop 'em if you've got 'em!

Yours in good health,
Miss Ginsu

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7.12.2009

Food Horoscope: Pisces

Happy birth-month, Pisceans!

Pisces

Pisces, the fishes (February 19 to March 20)

Now, I'm merely a cook, and not an astrologer, but here's my advice for your foodcast:

This is probably a good year to let food help you develop your relationships.

I've got something in mind that I think will help you do this in two ways.

The sourdough loaf, leavened by naturally occurring wild yeasts, comes to us through a very ancient tradition that requires patience and consistent care... powerful virtues in an era that tends to pay more attention to haste and impermanence. Some sourdough starters have been carefully tended and passed down from baker to baker for tens or hundreds of years.

The practice of patience and consistency helps ensure that your sourdough starter survives, but these skills also helpful things to remember in tending one's friendships.

And both the starter and the products it makes are ideal for sharing, another powerful relationship builder. When you think back on some of your favorite meals, you're likely to find they were spent with people you love. As long as there have been people, people have shared their food, so this is a pretty old concept.

So my thought is this: a new friend to break bread, or gather together a group of old friends to join you for brunch. Conspire to launch projects and solve problems.

I'd post the sourdough particulars here, but Sharon Vail's supremely cool recipes and story here at NPR sum up just about everything I'd want to say on the topic. She uses her starter in pancakes, biscuits, loaves and even chocolate cake.

On the other hand, the impatient among you might consider purchasing a little sourdough community to get your starter started right.

So with that thought in mind, enjoy your birthday and happy eating!
Miss Ginsu

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3.02.2009

Food Quote Friday: Nigella Lawson



"I think we all live in a world that is so fast-paced, it's threatening and absolutely saturated with change and novelty and insecurity. Therefore, the ritual of cooking and feeding my family and friends, whoever drops in, is what makes me feel that I'm in a universe that is contained."

Nigella Lawson in escape magazine

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2.22.2008