Miss Ginsu: About/Bio


Battle of the Busy Waters

My friend's daughter calls sparkling mineral water "busy water" (a take on fizzy water, I believe).

It seems quite appropriate to me: bubbly water is liquid on the move. It's the busiest water you're going to find.

As much as I adore New York Tap, I also happen to be a big fan of the sparkling stuff. It replaces soda pop as a recreational beverage for me (no calories, no sugar, lotsa fizz!) and I like the way it settles my upset tummies.

Busy Water

Though busy water also causes me a bit of consternation. It comes in large, heavy glass bottles, and the stuff I've been drinking happens to be from the south of France. Quite a carbon load on that glass of fizz, if you see what I mean.

So J and I recently tested out a group of sparkling candidates from near and far in the hope of tracking down the best of the busy. There's a New York State candidate in here, one from Arkansas, a couple of locally bottled, the French stuff I've been drinking and the most famous Italian contender (just for good measure).

Meet the candidates:

Busy Water Battle

I wanted this tasting to run the gamut from the supremely thrifty and widely available (Canada Dry Seltzer Water) to the very elusive and expensive (Mountain Valley). From the local (Saratoga, NY) to the distant import (San Pellegrino Terme, Italy).

#6: I hadn't expected much from the Canada Dry Seltzer Water. After all, a sodium-free seltzer really couldn't be any match for a good mineral blend, but I threw it into the ring for its wide availability and populist appeal. Vigorously fizzy, but lacking in a pleasant personality, it rated last, thanks to a strange lingering aftertaste. I'll probably still drink it if I can find a slice of lime to throw in the glass.

#5: Initially excited to discover Saratoga, a local sparkling spring water bottled in gorgeous cobalt blue, I was taken aback by the large, vicious bubbles. Sharp and violent, this water actually irritated the tongue and throat with sharp high notes and a bitterness at the back of the mouth. A shame, too. It's local and it's lovely to look at... I just can't drink it.

#4: The Poland Spring Sparkling Water had a medium-low fizz and a flavor that was inoffensive, but nothing to write home about. It paled in comparison to the top three candidates.

#3: Perrier is the fizzy water I've been sipping for years, so I was surprised to put it in third place. It had large, vigorous bubbles and it flowed nicely across the tongue, but it had a flavor that struck me as a little citric, while J found it to be "almost acidic."

#2: Mountain Valley Sparkling Water is drawn up from Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas and artificially carbonated.

It has a very mellow fizz, tiny bubbles and a very soft, round mouthfeel. Sipping Mountain Valley, I was reminded of the way Mountain Dew differs from other, more highly carbonated sodas like 7UP.

It should also be noted that ounce for ounce, this was the most expensive water in the tasting. Even if it was the first-place winner, I wouldn't be able to justify the pricetag.

#1: Our overall winner turned out to be San Pellegrino.

With dainty bubbles, a very nice effervescence, a gentle, satisfying mouthfeel and flavor that tasted sprightly, but not too lively, this seemed to be the best-balanced of the bunch. The company claims that even the great Leonardo da Vinci was a fan.

Unfortunately, San Pellegrino is also the contender that comes from farthest away, so it doesn't help my carbon footprint issue in the least. Bummer.

Maybe I should just pick up one of those CO2 systems and start carbonating the New York tap water to suit my sparkling needs.

Yours in food and drink,
Miss Ginsu

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Food Quote Friday: George Carlin

"Ever wonder about those people who spend $2 apiece on those little bottles of Evian water? Try spelling Evian backward."

George Carlin

More cool, refreshing food quotes can be found within the food quote archive.

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Foodlink Roundup: 04.14.08

Cupcake's Link Roundup
Last week, Cupcake was, as surmised, in Bryant Park, Manhattan. Where in the world is Cupcake this week? Post a guess in the comments.

Cookie Monster: Is Me Really Monster?
McSweeney's takes a peek inside the mind of an addict.

Pacific Coast Salmon Fishing Shut Down
This year's low fish stocks mean bad news for salmon lovers.

This Is Just To Say
So long, and thanks for all the fish. One of my favorite food poems, re-imagined.

Ever Had a Nice Bottle of Greenpoint?
Garage bands, underground art scenes... and now, warehouse wine. (via WineHazard)

pintprice.com: the price of beer anywhere
A handy tool for comparing the true cost of living.

Carl Warner: Photographer
Click the orange box for the fantasy food photos. (Via MUG)

Who knew there were enough films and docs on food justice to fill up an annual fest?

Aqua Ban at NY Hot Spots
Bottled water, is like, sooo last year...

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Goal 1: Hydration

I love resolutions. In fact, I love 'em so much, I tend to make biannual resolutions, because sometimes the things I resolve in January make less sense six months later.

Thus, I'm embarking on seven days of healthy food resolutions this week.

Each goal will support good health with good food without wrecking one of my other goals: saving money so I can pay down my student loans.

Goal 1: Hydration

One of the cheapest, most sensible tips I've found for maintaining a healthy weight and a happy body is bizarrely simple: Stay hydrated.

There's so many compelling reasons to keep ample fluids in the body. When you drink enough water, you give yourself the gift of nourished skin, better breath, more energy, happy bowels and kidneys, easier digestion, more brainpower and very probably a decreased caloric intake (dehydrated people tend to snack).

There was a period in my life several years ago when I didn't drink water. Ever. I drank milk, juice, sodas, tea, cocoa, lemonade... anything but water. To be honest, straight-up water kind of bored me.

In retrospect, it's not surprising that I also had chapped lips, often felt dizzy and passed out in public places with concerning frequency. (They called an ambulance when I passed out in the Rainbow Foods checkout line.) My doctor took blood tests and did an EKG to try to figure out the fainting spells, but came to no conclusion.

At some point, I realized I'd never really paid any attention at all to that whole "drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day" rule. I gave it a shot (though I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that the experiment was more for the promised energy boost than anything else).

Suddenly, like the forgotten plant on the windowsill... water brought me back to life. Random headaches, swooning, dry skin, constipation and dry mouth? Gone. Turns out I had low blood pressure thanks to a mild, but chronic, dehydration.

I haven't had a dizzy spell since, and I now begin every list of annual resolutions with this one simple statement: Drink more water.

Washable Water Bottle
Your ally in the war on dehydration

There's a few easy ways to make this resolution stick.

1. Figure out how much you need.

Honestly, that whole six to eight glasses of water a day rule might not be right for you. If you exercise heavily, that's probably too little. If you drink a lot of other fluids, six to eight glasses might be too much. The proof is in the loo. Do Is your urine clear or pale yellow? You're probably doing fine. (Though it's important to note that B vitamins and some medications change the color of your fluids.)

2. Get yourself a water bottle you love (and a brush to keep it clean).

Most people are probably aware by now that disposable plastic water bottles are an environmental nightmare, so gift yourself a nice reusable water bottle. I've got a quart-sized Nalgene bottle on my desk at work and a smaller one that goes in my purse. Keep in mind that a bottle brush is key... nobody loves funky water.

3. Bored by water? Cut it with a little juice.

I mentioned this one a few months back in my post on workout foods, but somehow, it's even more valid in the winter. For some reason, I always think water tastes better in the summer. For the winter months, like to I hit my waterglass up with a wedge of lemon, lime or orange.

4. Take pride in your city tap water.

J was on the Staten Island Ferry recently when he overheard a young lady telling her friends, "Omigod, you guys... I am so broke. My parents didn't give me anything this week. You guys, I drank water... out of the water fountain!"

First, it's funny. Then, it's sad. I realize not every municipality has tasty water, but darn it, I really believe New York City has some of the finest water in the country. (In fact, Jeffrey Steingarten had a great chapter on this topic in his book, The Man Who Ate Everything.)

If your city water is horrible, then buy a tap filter and make it your civic duty to protest loudly, angrily and often. Bad city water needs to be an outrage, not a reason to give more money to Coke or Pepsi (Pepsi's Aquafina and Coke's Dasani bottled waters are processed from municipal taps).

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