Miss Ginsu: About/Bio


Miss Ginsu, Meet... Ginsu

Any longtime readers may remember I had a spot of trouble last year with a fellow who wasn't keen on my use of the name Miss Ginsu.

As it turned out, one of the execs at Quikut, the company who owns the Ginsu name saved the day, and this little food blog lived on. Yay!

And now, suprise, surprise... that very same executive just sent over an actual set of Ginsu knives for me to check out. I'm a field tester. Woo!

Ginsu Knives

It's a set of 12 (the ones you see above, plus a bunch more steak knives) and it looks like this in the box.

Ginsu Chikara Knives

My standard set of knives are heavy German-style Wustof ones (they were the standard-issue knife at school), and I have one Kai Shun Japanese pairing knife.

That said, as long as it's sharp, I'm not opposed to using any knife out there.

I'm most interested in function, and after using the chef's knife and pairing knife fairly heavily over the weekend, I can attest to the fact that they do seem sharp and durable.

So here were the initial comments from friends and coworkers on the Chikara set.
"Wow... they kind of look like Japanese knives, but they're heavy and sharpened on both sides like the German knives. It's like the axis powers joined in cutlery."

"They're better than I expected."

"These are Ginsu? Have you tried them out on a tin can yet?"

"Huh. They're actually pretty nice. Nicer than I thought they'd be. I like the wood block. It's fancy."

So there you have it. Sharp knives, nice heft, German-style blades with Japanese styling and about a third of the price of what you'd pay for the Wustof ones.

Anyway, I'll keep using them for a bit and check in again after a while to let you know how it goes.

Happy chopping,
Miss Ginsu

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A Request and a Little Somethin'

Gotta take care of a little business today, so I come to you with a request and a reward, if you will.

First off, I'm trying to decide what to do with blog content around these parts this year, so if you get just a moment, hit the little poll at the left side of my site and let me know what you'd like to see more often around these parts.

I based the suggestions off of some of the most popular posts last year, but if you have other ideas, I'm all ears (and pigtails).

And just so you're able to make an educated vote, you can click one of the links below for an example post to illustrate what I mean by the following...

  • More recipes!
  • More videos!
  • More product comparisons!
  • More Dear Miss Ginsu!
  • More graphs, charts and infographics!

  • And secondly, the afore-mentioned treat: I have five tiny Bring the Pain pins to give away out of my swag shop, like so:

    Totally not actual size...

    If you want one, just drop a note to my gmail (missginsu), and I'll mail one over to you. And remember... I only have five, so this is one of those first-come, first-served kind of deals.

    And whether you win or not, whether you comment or not and whether you vote or not, here's a sincere thanks for reading!

    Miss Ginsu

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    What to Buy For the Eater

    After getting a few nifty gastronomy-centric gifts for my birthday this year, I realized another Miss Ginsu gift guide might be in order.

    Thus, I give you: What to Buy for the Eater

    The basic philosophy is this: if you already know your recipient loves food, all you have to do is just select one of the secondary characteristics listed below and voila... they're gift-ified! (And since most of the stuff here costs less than $30, you shouldn't have to smash the piggybank to make 'em smile.)

    The Coolest Temporary Tattoos

    Does your foodie have a sense of humor?

    Food Lovers' Tattoos

    As Seattle's home of the goofy, Archie McPhee has always been a rich source of gifts for foodies, thanks to clever classics like the toast clock and the freeloader fork. And in keeping with our bacon-saturated times, there's even an entire page of bacon items.

    But the recent addition of temporary tattoos for food lovers may be my favorite thing yet. All done in the retro "Sailor Jerry" school of 'tats, these sweet slicks are tempting arm candy... no commitment required.


    Handmade Mesh Produce Bags

    Is your foodie a farmer's market farmers' market fiend or co-op junkie?

    Mesh Produce Bags

    Ooo! I know just the thing...

    I bought a pack of reusable mesh produce bags off Etsy.com in the early spring, and I've been enjoying them all summer long.

    They're cheap, too, so consider including a nice market tote bag. (And no. I'm not ashamed to recommend my own.)

    These little guys are great because they're light, see-through, easy to open, they help you avoid collecting excess plastic... and they really do make you the envy of the farmers' market. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten envious looks and remarks on the lines of, "Oh! Those are so cool! Where'd you get them?"

    Though the supplier I bought mine from is currently pursuing other things (i.e. has a life) there's lots of other folks who are selling them now in lots of pretty colors.


    Do-It-Yourself Cheese

    Is your foodie the hands-on/DIY type?

    Ricki's Cheese-Making Kit

    I saw Ricki Carroll's sweet little Mozzarella and Ricotta Kit at Grand Central Market and immediately knew I needed to look her up.

    As it turns out, Ricki's the "Cheese Queen" of the interweb, and does a lot of cheese-making education.

    Her kit seems like a really fun, accessible way to introduce food lovers — especially younger ones — to the pleasures of cheese-making.

    Then again, if the easy-cheesy mozzarella kit seems a bit elementary for your advanced DIY-er, consider a kit for making homemade soda, wine or beer or maybe even a mustard-making kit.


    Supremely Cute Salt & Pepper Shakers

    Is your foodie a museum-lover? Possibly even... artsy?

    Hugging S&P Shakers

    The food geeks who are also design geeks are powerless in the face of designware from the MOMA shop.

    A little caveat, since I realize any gourmand worth his or her, ahem... salt uses a pepper grinder instead of a pepper shaker for that freshly-ground goodness. I'm a sucker for the cute. And this Hugging Salt & Pepper set has the real cute. Oh! I am helpless in the face of its cuteness.

    But if you know your gift recipient is way too sophisticated to be buffaloed by cuteness... you should probably go for the supercool Index Chopping Boards instead.


    One For the Road

    Is your foodie sentimental?


    Consider a food gift that acknowledges a taste of reminiscence.

    For those with a sweet tooth, Oldtimecandy and NostalgicCandy both feature retro packs that coordinate to the era of your recipient's youth.

    Homesick former New Yorkers might appreciate things like the Frrozen Hot Chocolate from Serendipity 3, a classic deli-style lunch with the pastrami sandwich kit from Zingerman's or the ceramic version of NYC's ubiquitous We Are Happy To Serve You paper cup.


    Yum on the Run

    Is your foodie active? Maybe even... sporty?

    Happy campers (or boaters, or hikers, or picnickers) will love something practical (and cool-looking) for their alfresco dining.

    REI has fun stuff in general, but I really like their Light My Fire Meal Kit, which comes with a compact set of two plates, a lidded cup, a crazy spoon/fork utensil, a little waterproof box (for berries?) and a colander/cutting board.

    Pretty colors (a whole range of 'em), recyclable, no metal to freak out the TSA staff at the airport... and it floats.

    For the bean-worshipers, REI also features a nifty French Press Commuter Mug, which comes in a variety of colors and serves as a combo coffee press, travel mug and coffee caddy. Pretty slick.

    Miss Ginsu

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    Another Dose of Pain

    Okay, I'm only doing this for you folks, so don't say I never did nothin' for ya.

    A while back I made a couple of new designs for the Swag Shop and there was some insistence in the comments that I make a tote-bag suitable versions.

    Who am I to turn down a tote-hungry public?

    But as it turned out, the initial design was just not up to snuff for that kind of thing. So I got me a book and learned how to make vector graphics. I sweated. I slaved. I gritted my teeth... and here we are.

    So there you have it. Bring the Pain tote bags. Great for bringing home the bread. Or the bacon. Or whatever you prefer to put in your tote bags. I'm not judgmental.

    Two Sizes:
    Big (13.5 deep by 15 wide)
    Bigger (15.5 deep x 18.5 wide)

    Back to your regularly scheduled food blog tomorrow!

    Miss Ginsu

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    Bring the Pain

    One of my dear friends noted that it's been forever since I updated the site Swag Shop. And she's right, of course.

    So today, we play with bread punnery. Because honestly, there's nothing funnier than an angry baguette. Well, almost nothing. An angry dinner roll is pretty funny, too.

    Bring the Pain
    Le pain? Oh it's already been brung.

    And because an angry baguette and company just weren't enough... I whipped up a pack of mean little dinner rolls for you.

    Bring the Pain
    Watch out! Those buns are tough!

    Find angry baguettes and dinner rolls, not to mention culinary-minded bunnies, coffee-thoughtful fishes and little ninja MissGinsu wielding her scary ninja powers on buttons, totes, tees and all that kind of stuff in the Swag Shop.

    And tomorrow, we'll put down the puns and get back to the regularly scheduled food blog.


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    I Drink Your Milkshake

    Have you watched Daniel Day-Lewis gnawing the scenery in There Will Be Blood yet?

    Incredible stuff. Amazing sound design. Amazing cinematography... and Daniel Plainview becomes a terrifying, indelible character for the ages.

    And though the film is absolutely not for children (or even many adults, I'd wager)... the obligatory "I Drink Your Milkshake" bib really is:

    Pick up a bib for your hippest baby friend and a T-shirt for your deranged foster father. Let 'em know you drink it up.

    Find the bib, the t-shirt (and so much more...) in Miss Ginsu's T-Shirt Shop

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    A Whole Lotta Clams...

    Four years ago, Pim Techamuanvivit (of the food blog, Chez Pim) had a simple idea: organize food bloggers help raise money for those going hungry.

    This year, her annual Menu for Hope campaign continued extending that idea. Menu for Hope 4 involved dozens of food bloggers who sponsored some truly impressive prizes, including luxe meals at hungrily-sought hot-spots, weekend stays in lovely locales and unique opportunities to meet with heavies in the food industry.

    The Menu for Hope 4 total donation for the UN World Food Programme: $91,188.00

    That's double last year's amount... and imagine what next year will bring! I can't help but see Pim's MFH as a truly inspirational demonstration of the power of initiative and determined passion.

    Chef Bunny Tote

    Though it's quite humble by comparison to some of the offerings, I truly hope Ms. Jennifer Fishman will enjoy her winnings from here at Chez Ginsu: a natural cotton chef-bunny tote bag with an array of aromatic spice blends.

    Thanks so much to everyone who donated to the cause and to the ever-classy Adam Kuban (of A Hamburger Today, Serious Eats and Slice) for rounding up the wily Northeast-region food bloggers.

    I'm already looking forward to seeing how MFH grows. Meanwhile, go check Pim's site to see if you've won anything.

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    There's still time to win!

    The Menu for Hope campaign/raffle has already raised more than $83,000 for the U.N. World Food Programme, and hundreds of donors are eyeing the really wonderful prizes on offer from bloggers around the world.

    Pim has extended this event through the weekend, and some of the prizes have precious few bids so far... so your chances of winning are greatly increased.

    One such prize is my own offering, the very cute (and very useful) Chef Bunny Natural Canvas Eco-Tote, complete with a special Five-Pack Spice Blend set.

    Each chance to win is just $10. Simply use code UE28 in the "notes" section when you make your donation. But be quick about it... this thing wraps up soon!

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    Menu for Hope 2007

    As many who read food blogs know, Pim Techamuanvivit of Chez Pim has once again organized the annual Menu for Hope campaign for December 10-21, 2007.

    In case you're not familiar with the concept, Menu for Hope an online raffle in which food bloggers from around the globe stop writing about food for a few minutes and focus, instead, on those who are going without.

    To participate, simply buy one or (hopefully) more virtual raffle tickets for a chance at the great prizes available (see instructions, below). Tickets are priced at $10 each, and bidders may buy multiple tickets for each prize to increase the chances of winning. (Not that I'd be suggesting generous donations or anything.)

    Proceeds go to the U.N. World Food Programme, which seeks to fight hunger worldwide, and the donations format is extremely effective: last year's Menu for Hope raised an eye-popping $62,925.

    Chef Bunny Tote
    Use Prize Code UE28 for your chance to win!

    For my part, I'm offering a Chef Bunny Natural Cotton Eco-Tote from my design shop.

    Chef Bunny arrives ready to leap into culinary action with a savory starter: Five aromatic spice blends custom-made by your own sassy spice girl (that'd be me). We're looking to beat last year's total this year ($100,000 anyone?), so spread the word!

    If you're interested in buying into the raffle, here's what you need to do:

    1. Choose a prize or prizes of your choice from the Menu for Hope

    2. Go to the donation site at http://www.firstgiving.com/menuforhope4 and make your donation(s).

    3. Please specify which prize you'd like in the Personal Message section in the donation form when confirming your donation. You must write-in how many tickets per prize. Use prize code: UE28 for a chance at the Chef Bunny Tote & Spices.

    Many, many thanks in advance for donating, and good luck!

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    Dinner Goes Sci-Fi

    The Food Loop
    Oh, no! Cap'in! It's got the FISH!

    I know, I know... You thought the future of food came in pill form, like the ones they popped on the Jetsons. All your nutritional needs met in one tiny, utilitarian package. No joy. No flavor. No chewing. No socializing. Just three squares a day condensed into hard, gray pills.

    Granted, you don't have your flying car or your robot maid, but aren't you glad you were so very wrong about that food thing? (For the sake of mental peace I'm setting those disturbing national trends toward Jamba Juice, Vitamin Water and Power Bar meal replacements off to the side, of course.)

    But lo! Yesterday, a sharp-eyed friend sent me a link to the real deal in space-age dining: the food loop. Yes, the future is here and it comes in the form of epic oven battles between your roast and this wacky pink trussing tool. Place your bets, gather 'round the oven, and watch the gripping death match.

    While you're at it, raise a toast to the decidedly old fashioned "meal."

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