Bezirk  in Berlin© – 42: February 11, 2013
Like fish and chips? Well, try this – instead of the normal white fish (such as cod), how about fresh salmon? And instead of Idaho potatoes, how about sweet potatoes? If you’d like to try these, go to the Luise-Dahlem biergarten then: http://www.luise-dahlem.de/
FEBRUARY 6, 2013
Today is William, the Wonder Cat’s 2nd birthday. To celebrate, I plan to feed him every time he begs for food. I fear that by the end of the day I shall have developed repetitive motion injury in the arm I use to feed him with.
A PECULIAR QUIRK OF GRAVITY
I understand gravity, at least in a general sense. I don’t understand the underlying physics, but I do understand that if I have something in my hand and I let go of it, there’s a pretty high statistical probability that it will end up on the floor (or at least it will fall down, rather than up or sideways). But there appear to be some qualities of gravity that apply to me in an atypical manner, at least when I’m eating. Under these circumstances, sometimes food substances – particularly those that have the potential to create stains – seem to be drawn towards my body (rather than towards the floor), particularly when I’m wearing something nice. I go through stain removers (which, in some cases work less well than others) at roughly the same rate that I go through laundry detergent. So, I encourage you to invest in a company that makes stain removers (and, upon my death, promptly divest yourself of these investments, as the stock price will most surely plummet).
THE PERFECT NAME
You know those trash bins that you see around renovation sites? Well, there’s one company that provides them around Berlin. The name of the company is “Sisyphus.” Pretty much nails it, don’t you think? Whenever you empty a trash bin, that just encourages folks to fill it right up again, doesn’t it?
WHEN TO BUY NEW SOCKS
When you can tell what color polish you have on your toenails without taking off your socks, it’s probably time to buy new socks.
Yep – it’s not a typo. I dropped a kernel of corn on the floor in the kitchen, and William the Wonder Cat was all over it like white on rice, which makes him, of course, a cornivore, doesn’t it?
FURTHER THOUGHTS ON CORN
You may recall a while back when I mentioned the name of a popular snack – Maiswürmer (which translates literally as “Corn Worms”)? Well, they’ve “enhanced” this product – now you can get chocolate-covered corn worms (as well as caramel-covered corn worms). Bet you can’t wait to try these!!
PIG TAIL CROQUETTES? REALLY??
You heard it here first, unless, of course, you also subscribe to this newsletter:
Meat is having a moment. As far as food trends go, offal is one of the most unlikely stars there ever was. And yet ever since the wild, unlikely success of British chef Fergus Henderson’s groundbreaking cookbook “The Whole Beast,” first published in 2004, the most deep-down, weird, and visceral inner bits of cow, pig, and sheep have shot up in culinary status and so-called “nose to tail” cuisine has taken the foodie world by storm. After all, as Henderson says, “If you’re going to kill the animal it seems only polite to use the whole thing.”
Gain a new appreciation for the culinary potential of the whole hog with this Sunday’s ”Schlachtfest” dinner at Mitte’s Pauly Saal restaurant. Chef, trained butcher, and pork aficionado Wolfgang Müller will be taking over the kitchen to prepare a lavish pig-themed dinner from his celebrated cookbook “Schwein,” planning a six-course menu that moves from a Blutwurstpizza amuse-bouche to horseradish-spiked tongue pralines, quiveringly tender pork belly, Bratwurst with a twist, and pig tail croquettes. Rest assured that the dessert course takes only inspiration—and not actual ingredients—from the pig.
Well, that last bit is a comforting thought, isn’t it?!!
SO, HOW MUCH DO YOU PAY FOR YOUR CAT’S TOYS?
How does $3,500 sound? For a single toy. Plastic (mostly). Well, apparently that’s what we pay for our cat toys. William the Wonder Cat was caught with Harvey’s digital hearing aid yesterday. Hard to guess who was in more trouble – William for playing with it or Harvey for leaving it somewhere that William could get to.
SOMETIMES YOU JUST HAVE TO DO STUFF YOUR OWN DAMNED SELF!
It is sooo exasperating, seeing something that desperately needs to be done, yet no one will step up to the plate and do it! That must have been what was running through William’s mind the other day. He finally realized that, not only was I not going to open a drawer in the kitchen and toss all my kitchen towels onto the floor, but it was likely that I didn’t have the slightest notion that this needed to be done. So, selfless feline that he is, he took it upon himself to do it for me! This, despite the fact that he has no thumbs and therefore the job was much more difficult for him than it would have been for me. Nonetheless, he was sufficiently resourceful and determined to take care of this chore completely on his own. I wonder if, having demonstrated what needs to be done, he will now expect me to get the message and take care of it the next time it needs doing (whenever that might be). LATER: Apparently this is something that requires being done at least once a day. Or, alternatively, it went without doing for so long that, in order to make up for this, it has to be done on a daily basis for awhile to catch up.
WHO SAYS YOU CAN’T TEACH AN OLD CAT NEW TRICKS!
Ms. Electra is almost 13 years old, or 69 in people years. She has always been quite precise in her dining requirements; specifically, she demands her breakfast at 6 a.m. and her dinner at 6 pm. Intermittent feedings are, of course, permitted. Nonetheless, even if one of those impromptu feedings occurs at 5:59 (a.m. or p.m.), this does not alter her 6:00 expectations. She has several techniques for reminding us what time it is. If one of us is sitting at the computer, we can expect one (if not both) of these things to occur: (1) She will climb up on a lap and fidget and fuss until we get her message; (2) she will climb onto the top of the printer, above which is hanging one of our masks – this one of South Pacific origin, trimmed in something that approaches hair – and proceed to make every effort to snatch it bald. But one of her most favorite tactics is to make herself barf – even on an empty tummy, she can hack up an amazing amount of slime. She prefers to barf on the carpets (because she just hates that splash-back when she barfs on hard surfaces). Sometimes she deigns to barf on the hardwood floor, which, under other circumstances, we would prefer. However, the hardwood floors in our 150+ year-old flat are composed of planks about a foot wide but with ¼-inch spaces separating them. This, of course, means that we have the opportunity to try to coax cat barf from between the boards if she targets the floors. Well, this is all to lay the groundwork for new behavior. She has taken her barfing repertoire to a new level, as it were. This morning I discovered barf on top of the china closet (the top of which is about 4 feet high), and subsequently discovered even more on the floor in front of the china closet. So, between William knocking everything off the top and Electra selecting it as a barfing platform, it would be unwise for us to continue it as a surface on which to display our various treasures (or rather, those that William hasn’t already destroyed). Sigh….
EVEN FELINES NEED VARIETY
You would think that creatures who spend at least 80% of their lives napping (reserving the remaining 20% for eating, grooming, visiting the litter box, and, of course, finding the perfect position for napping) would not need a lot of variety in their lives. But you’d be wrong about that. Apparently they DO need variety. Evidence to this was presented to us this morning. Electra normally naps on the green blanket on the left end of the sofa, while William prefers the burgundy blanket on the right end of the sofa. Imagine our surprise to find that they had traded places! Since they’re unconscious during this time, I’m at a loss to understand how this could possibly matter to either of them. But, apparently, it does.
 ‘Bezirk’ is German for ‘neighborhood.’