A new town

A whole new town sprung up where there were fields & parking lots not long ago. It is called “the Buro” and it is a mixed use development. Mixed use is good. For many years after WWII zoning rules discouraged or disallowed the mixing of residential, commercial or industrial. This sounded like a good idea, but it is not how people really like to live.

Espen told us about this place. I had been up there maybe a couple years ago when I dropped off my car for service at Honda dealer. I had no place to go, so I just walked around and walked up where Boro is now. I saw construction but didn’t pay much attention.

Whole Foods is one of the anchors. Being inexpensive is not one of the store’s traits, but it is very pleasant with high quality food.

But the thing that interested me (and Espen Matel, which is why he mentioned it) is that they have beer on tap a few places around the store. You get a card and then tap as much as you want.

I am surprised at the flowering of beer culture in the USA. Tapping a beer on a Sunday morning and then freely walking around a store with it while shopping is strange.

I recently finished a book called “Over the Rhine”. This is a history of a German section of Cincinnati, Ohio. Like Milwaukee, St Louis and thousands of other towns in middle America, there where big and dynamic German presence in the 19th Century. The native Americans – the Yankees – often did not like them. For one thing, they came in large numbers and kind of took over. For another, they drank a lot of beer.

There was a strong temperance movement among the native Americans at that time and the beer drinking ways of the Germans was just another reason to dislike them.

Prohibition was a progressive American nativist project. To a large extent, it was aimed at immigrants from Germany, Italy or Eastern Europe, with their love of wine and beer. Prohibition hit these communities hard. (For reference, there is another good book about these times called “Last Call.”) Proponents of prohibition wanted to eliminate the influence of beer and wine and if it took out the culture of the Germans and Italians, that was a side benefit.

But we have now had our vindication. Beer is now firmly ensconced in the American mainstream, even more firmly today than it was when I was young. I just like beer. I no longer drink beer to get drunk, I just like the idea of it and I am glad that I am in tune with the culture around me, at least in this case. We live in a golden age of beer. Savor it; all good things must end and it is the curse of men that they forget.

My first picture shows a pineapple slicer. Pealing a pineapple hard. Brazilian Portuguese even has this idiom – “descascar o abacaxi”, peel the pineapple, to describe a tricky and unpleasant task. This machine just does it. Next is the doughnut shop. They have wonderful crullers. After that is me taping into the beer and finally is the street scene outside.

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