Back in my horse-owning days, this would be heavy shedding season. You’d curry and curry and brush and brush, and still come away with a glove covered with hair after every pat. The ponies were the most fun; there was one retiree that lived in a back paddock at the barn where I boarded, and he woolied up like a stuffed animal. Even his hooves looked furry. That one required a shedding blade, sort of a serrated scraper, to help him take off his winter clothes.
Indiana’s climate is as prickly at this time of year as Michigan’s, and I always wondered why the horses would shed steadily, some starting as early as late January, through cold springs. It’s no mystery; it’s the light that triggers the cycle, not the temperature. Once the days lengthen, the hair starts to drop.
We’re having a cold spring here. The relentless chain of nor’easters is supposedly blocking the warm spring winds and allowing Canada to keep exporting its frigid garbage to my corner of the world. When I go out to walk Wendy in late afternoon, it’s usually in the mid to high 30s, and with the sun out, that’s not too bad. It’d be a gift in January, but in late March, it feels like I’m being robbed of something. And it’s all because of the light. We’re well into Daylight Saving, and I’d like to take a little bike ride from time to time, maybe sit in the back yard, but it’s so cold in the D. So I wrap up in sweaters that feel …wrong, somehow. I carried my suede purse the other day, and it, too, seemed wrong. Too soon for straw, but too late for suede.
I’m not freezing at the moment, but I will be at some point today, because that’s the way it’s been.
So now that it’s officially spring, start being spring, dammit.
You know what I’m going to do today? Not mention Him. Mainly because I found this story from the Washington Post so interesting. The premise: German food, as a restaurant business model, is dying:
All across the country, German restaurants are calling it quits. In Portland, Ore., Der Rheinlander closed after 53 years in 2016. Another Portland restaurant, the Berlin Inn, closed and reopened as the Brooklyn House, with a vegan and gluten-free menu of “European comfort food,” before closing again, permanently. Outside of Boulder, Colo., the Black Forest Restaurant closed last summer after 59 years. The Olde German Schnitzel House in Hickory, N.C., served its last sauerkraut in 2014, lasting 10 years. One of Nashville’s oldest restaurants, Gerst Haus, died last month after 62 years. That’s 10 years longer than the Chicago Brauhaus, which closed in December.
…German food’s decline “reflects the cultural mix of this country toward more Latin American, Asian and African American culture, and less of the mainstay Germanic culture that influenced this country for many decades,” said Arnim von Friedeburg, an importer of German foods and the founder of Germanfoods.org. “The cultural shift is going on, and German culture has to fight or compete to keep its relevance.”
My gene pool is at least somewhat German, but my mother was never much for German food. I had to move to Indiana to find its influence on the table; the column I wrote about my bafflement at first confronting noodles and potatoes on the same plate was one that got a ton of reader response. To you non-Hoosiers: Imagine a tub of mashed potatoes. Imagine a tub of chicken and noodles, likely thick homemade noodles, swimming in the customary yellow gravy. Now put a big pile of potatoes in the middle of your plate, and ladle the chicken and noodles over it. In Indiana, that’s good eatin’, and may well owe more to field-hand cuisine than Germany. My first memories of “German” in a dish’s description are only good when it’s sweets — German chocolate cake, Black Forest cake and…I think that’s it. German potato salad made me gag, and the various schnitzels and stews and so forth were simply mysteries. As my adult tastes broadened, I came to appreciate a little sauerkraut on a hot dog, but not much else. And now that I think of it, if you had to pick the one chocolate cake that a kid would refuse, it would be the German one.
But German restaurants were big when I was a kid, always a Haus of some sort, with maybe a hex sign out front (which is Pennsylvania Dutch, I know, but few customers were sticklers about that stuff). Frankenmuth, the locally famous tourist town in Michigan, has several places with waitresses in dirndls and waist-cinchers, serving “broasted” chicken by the coop-load to visitors, but I’d be willing to bet 90 percent of the customers are old.
There’s a place here in Detroit like the German restaurants of old. It survives, mainly on the strength of its floor show — they do singalongs periodically through the night, and it’s great fun, but the one time I was there we ordered apps and beer and not much else. When you want to tie on the carbo feedbag in Detroit, you head to a Polish place in Hamtramck. Where honestly, there’s not much difference in the cuisine.
OK, off to work today. Reading about leaks, but I said I wasn’t going to mention Him, so I won’t. Just remember DO NOT CONGRATULATE.