Hairpin Turns

My public open house was a great success to where there were people coming and going nearly the entire time.  I was surprised to find it overcast all day since the weather report called for it to be sunny.  In spite of the dreariness, I’m glad there was a good turn-out.

One of the groups in attendance were there long enough to where we talked about nearly everything from cooking to the present state of the town of Fertile.  The elderly gentleman mentioned that he was raised in that town, which created a name-dropping with me since I’m familiar with a number of families living there.

He spoke about how its demographics have changed due to nearly all the small vegetable farms in the area having sold out to big farmers and converted into row-crop lands.  He asked about the new bistro/cafe that opened last year called Cafe Mir.  He questioned whether it was going to make it, but I was quick to defend it by saying, “I’ve spoken to a number of people who’ve eaten there, and they all said the food was good and their prices reasonable.  It should afford some great views of the Winnebago River since it backs up to it.

The owner of that cafe happens to be the delightful free-spirit son of parents whom I’ve done business with over the years.  He also owns the bed and breakfast in Fertile as well. I’ve not been there since it was “Catherine’s” restaurant which didn’t make much of a go of it back a number of years ago.  It didn’t surprise me to hear it had closed its doors because I’d heard the owners weren’t the most popular folks.  As all business people know, you have to have a positive attitude, fair dealings, and above all, competitive pricing. Of course in these times, ambiance has a big hand in either making or breaking a consumer-oriented establishment.  Some day soon, I’ll have to take a short trip up to Cafe Mir for a meal. I’ll be sure to report back with my personal critique.

One of the young ladies at my open house talked about how she hated cooking.  I asked why.  Her answer was, “I hate cooking because it’s too much work.”  I couldn’t help but respond by saying, “Evidently you haven’t discovered the joy of cooking.”  I went on to say how nearly all the really good cooks have developed a great love of cooking.  I’m convinced the so-called “hatreds” of cooking is born out of fear of creating something not fit to be severed and then having to suffer a great embarrassment.

One of the people with her mentioned how he’s convinced home cooking is rapidly going out of style.  I couldn’t help but agree with him when seeing all the eateries we have in North Iowa, as well as finding all the more food in grocery stores that are ready to either do stove-tops or slid into a heated ovens.  That’s not even close to being called cooking.  It’s more like a waitress with kitchen privileges.  I do hope more people take the time to do some real honest to goodness home cooking, even if it’s just once or twice a week.  They owe themselves, along with their growing families, more healthy along with memorable eating experiences.

I couldn’t help but take a photo of some really old hairpins I found which are likely around 75 – 100 years old.  When looking at them, you’ll see why people back then would talk about winding roads with quick turns as being “hairpin turns”.  The ones above would’ve been used by women who put their long hair up in either braids or buns.  I doubt you can even buy new ones like these today.  Maybe they’ll return as a new craze for our young girls.  Sometimes styles do have a way of repeating themselves. I’m still praying for the day to arrive when “drop crotch” goes out of style.  Bon Appetit!

Joe Chodur

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