De' fliengde Vuogtlänn'r

Observations, rants, etc. from a guy who really gets around.


Storming The Beach

OK, somehow or another I got the idea that Bonfire's parents were headed to the beach, when in fact they're headed off to Lo$t Wage$ for a lockpickers convention. (Yeah, I can just imagine the pranks that crowd can pull!)

Anyway, it dredged up some long-forgotten memories of my own childhood when we used to go to the beach. (Yeah, they had beaches back then. Shut up.) I have vague memories of riding the ferry out to Tolchester beach on the Chesapeake Bay, but I couldn't find it on the map. Maybe I need a new map. The one thing I remember most about those trips was the Fizzies we took with us. It's amazing how long you can amuse a kid with something that's not much more than a flavored Alka-Selzter. (I wonder if they even make Fizzies anymore?)

My Dad used to take us to Lake Roland, way out Falls Road in north Baltimore. In fact, it's probably outside the city limits. I was back there a couple of years ago for a look around. Yeah, it's all changed. But I do have some fond memories of the times we spent with him there.

Another place he used to take us was Jones' Beach, somewhere on the Bay or one of its tributaries. And thereby hangs a tale.

One time that I vividly remember, his landlord had invited us to go with his family. Probably to Jones' Beach, although I can't be certain. But i am pretty sure. It was a popular place in some circles. Everyone brought food, and my Dad had made (ugh!!!) potato salad.

Now, my Dad was nothing if not persistent. I guess he must've really like potato salad when he was a kid, since they grow a lot of 'em in the Vogtland. And he was forever making various "different" kinds. ("But it's still potato salad, Dad!") And he never let me off the hook. I had to at least try some. Fortunately, I grew quite adept at "trying some" while managing to not actually ingest more than a couple of nanograms. And I had that look of disgust and revulsion down pretty cold, too. I could even shudder convincingly, although that didn't take much effort, seeing as how we were talking about (ugh!!!) potato salad.

But this one particular day, Dad insisted that I actually eat some of that vile stuff before I'd be allowed to go play in the water. ("This is different!" "But it's still potato salad, Dad!") So there I sat at the picnic table, wondering how to win this contest of wills. Then I had a flash of inspiration.

There was, unfortunately, no dog around on which I could foist this horrid concoction. But I was sitting at a picnic table on the sand(!). Sand that went down quite a ways before hitting bedrock. Hmmm.... So, very surreptitiously, I began to dig a shallow hole with my foot. No one noticed; they were all cavorting at the water's edge. They had all partaken of this gross mockery of food. They could go play, blissfully oblivious to the diabolical torture being foisted on Our Young Hero. Well, I'd show them! Slowly, so as not to arouse any suspicion, I would drop this witch's brew by the forkful into my little hole, covering each forkful with just enough sand to conceal it. (Where's the HazMat team when you really need 'em?)

After what seemed like days, I had finally disposed of it all and was allowed to go play. Ha! Suckers! Try to poison me, will you?

Years later, when I was in Germany, I had two years to enjoy all over again the foods my Dad had introduced me to as a kid. But no (ugh!!!) potato salad.

Until one fateful day.

We had gone to the university cafeteria to eat, a common practice for us. And i was hungry. Very hungry. It was a set lunch, no variations. And today they served... yes, that swill that I had successfully avoided for so many years.

Starvation drives people to extreme behaviors. Field mice, snakes, bugs, even cannibalism. And I was hungry. Very hungry. The hunger gnawed at my stomach like a beaver at a tree. I ate everything else, even the parsley (the most useless "vegetable" on the face of the Earth). I was even tempted to eat my napkin. Finally, realizing I had actually survived the stuff before and was a stronger man for it (maybe Nietzsche had a point?), I figured that if I held my nose and just snarfed it down as fast as I could, I might not notice the stomach-turning "taste". I braced myself and scooped up a forkful, trying to toss it past my taste buds and down my throat. It didn't work. I actually tasted the stuff. And it tasted.... good. Good?!?! What the...?

My whole world turned upside down. Everything I had ever believed in was called into question. The very fabric of the universe was in jeopardy. How could this be? Had I been kidnapped and brainwashed? Had aliens meddled with our food supply? I sat there in stunned silence.

It was later that I discovered that there are two basic ways of making potato salad: the way my Dad made it, and the way they made it in Stuttgart.

Just before I left, when I was in München, I was staying with a really nice family. The night before I left, they invited me for dinner. And what was on the menu? Uh-huh. I told them the Reader's Digest version of this and they laughed. Their daughter wrote down the recipe for me and I've been making it in a slightly modified version ever since. (The main modification being that I use a crockpot.)

I wonder what I'll have for dinner tomorrow?


Jahn's Industrial-Strength Potato Salad
(Whirled rites perserved; copycats persecuted;
patent pending; your mileage may vary.)

2 - 2½ lbs Potatos 1 Tbsp Minced Onion
1 Beef Bouillon cube 1 tsp Salt
1 cup white wine vinegar 1 tsp Pepper
3 Tbsp cooking oil 1 qt Water

Peel the raw potatoes and cut into small slices about half the size of a potato chip and about 1/8" thick. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a crock pot, and add in the potatoes. Let it cook on low for approximately 10-12 hours (or until most of the liquid is cooked off). Serve slightly warm.


At 07:22, Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Jahn, I went to the beach with my two sisters and brother in June. TF stayed home and worked, so we had our time together last weekend in Vegas at the convention. We had a great time.

You can make potato salad in the crock pot? What is your recipe?

At 02:32, Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Wow, that sounds interesting, I'm going to try it. Thanks, Jahn


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