There is something to be said about traveling, trying new things, and exploring new worlds. Dive right in, and dismiss all regrets. New York was a move I will always cherish, just as was the move away.
Today, I am writing to you re: my trip to Berne – ‘the furniture capital of Indiana’. Two Thursday afternoons ago, my friend’s parents picked me up from the airport in Dayton, Ohio. On the way home, we stopped in Chattanooga (otherwise known as Nooga), no not the one in Tennessee, for a bite to eat. In a tiny dive called Chatt Bar on SR49 (419.363.3999). The front just looks like your typical hole in the wall welcoming locals where you just might hear an interesting story or two. Inside, it’s pretty much the same deal, though less of a bar than a restaurant with some of the cheapest and best fried and home-cooked food out there. But we weren’t there for fried chicken or pie. We instead opted for a more delightful slice of American culture. Deep-fried pizza. That’s right. I have never experienced this before, so was pretty excited to try this crazy concoction. Choosing the basic sauce and cheese version, my mouth was ready to rumble. It arrived hot and bubbly inside, oozing as I sliced open the middle. Perfection with an icy cold glass of Coke. This type of genius doesn’t come around in every neck of the woods, so if you’re jonesin for something deliciously addictive, run don’t walk to Nooga, Ohio.
Not only is Berne, Indiana known for it’s strong and durable furnishings, but also for its Yoder’s, Yager’s, and Habegger’s – namely its Amish community. Due to the lack of time, the flu, and to my not being sure of their openness, I didn’t get as in-depth of information as I would have originally liked during my stay in Berne on the Amish foodways. However, I was able to try some of their culinary wonders. At least prepared by those in Grabill, Indiana at Das Nolt Family Dinner Haus (12530 Cuba Rd. – 260.466.4224). Now rumor has it that, although Amish-owned, the Amish no longer (or rarely) frequent this dining hotspot due to its usage of electricity, a big no-no in Amish culture. Well they might not be able to find a seat anyway. Despite raucous winds, diners poured into Das Nolt not too long after we arrived to devour a just-enough buffet of salad (bar), fried fish, chicken, ribs, mashed potatoes, veggies, and noodles. And of course the complimentary bread with homemade peanut butter. All products are government approved. Barbara, the owner, may even share with you a slice of her famous black, red, and white cake with thick coconut-studded frosting. If not, try a slice of the pie.
Research shows that these times they are a changin’. As technology advances, minds open, and the temptation of convenience beckons, traditions tend to loosen. Hence, the occasional use of electricity by some Amish. This fact was only heightened by the frequent ‘Amazing Grace’ ring tone of Barbara’s cell phone. Then of course, simplicity was reminded us as we pulled out of the gravel parking lot by the sight of smiling, laughing girls (bare-legged wearing dresses and no gloves) and boys (no gloves) playing outside in the wind and sliding down the giant mounds of snow-turned-ice as well as inside its hollowed-out niche. The perfect balance?
Though I did forget to eat the rest of my Snickers® Blizzard, and time ran out to taste the hog’s head cheese, my time in Berne was joyous, and I am grateful for such wonderful hosts. Thanks to you Paul and Judy for a wonderful few days. Next stop… Seattle.