so i promised to do more on pot au feu. and i know you know i love noodles, pasta, spaetzla, the doughy stuff. but tonight i went for potatoes. yes, i fondly recall my irish ancestors, not that i have any to think of, but seeing that i am german at heart, and even at times the italian husband, still, i think, there’s got to be kinship.
at sixteen my parents got tired of me and sent me off to britain, ostensibly to learn english. so i went. and arrived in london by train. pigeons dozed at victoria, it was a drab morning, a foggy day sinatra would say. rather than dogging behind my fellow students, i went to see a pub. i had heard about guinness, grandpa’s place back home served only hofbräu, but i thought when in rome, do as the greeks would have done, have a pint. they say ‘guinness is good for you’ and the bartender was really nice. right away he asked where i was from. my accent gave me away. tschermany, i said. fockin german, he said to the applause of his crew. but i had my pint and felt no remorse. i did think it rude though, it was after all my first guinness, my first bar and wasn’t i only minutes from home? he might have been kinder, considering my age, i wasn’t the one who bombed bloody fockin (i thought this short for foggy) london after all. (i learned about ‘bloody’ real quick then) and here comes the irish affiliation. i got tired of the brits, every place i went from aberdeen to london i got this epitaph. fockin german. so i hitched up to holyhead. i did like that name, and ferried to a place ‘twas called ‘donlarry’, except it was spelled dun laoghaire and turned out the harbour of dublin.
i’ve kept you, and not likely in suspense neither. but here is the connection, or as they say over there ‘the connexion’. no sooner had i lit into dublin, than i found (you guessed it) a pub. the keep greeted me like i was her only and long lost child. mate, she said, where might you hail from? (the odyssey, towards the end, i fancied, sotto voce) on my nod she cleared ‘cross the bar. no small feat in a skirt. she gave me a hug, more like a double fellini. i felt welcome. you bombed the shit out of bloody england. i wasn’t sure what to make of that, but i played along, i was sixteen, the war was over and what did i care? the irish made me feel home, then and since. hence tonight’s potatoes.
never mind that they were russian bananas. irish i felt tonight. and went to the store for a six pack of stout. the kind comes in a can, goes ‘pscht’ and makes your glass so foamy and glad. i mashed my potatoes and the onions in the fat of a juicy, nice new york strip. i had a salad, chicory in o&v. but as an aside, if you can call it that, i had me some guinness. did i think of that keep? you bet and i’ll sleep well. in the morning, if i wake and if any’s left, i’ll have that breakfast of champions.