As many of my friends and family already know, my wonderful husband just had his 50th birthday.
He spent the day working, as he almost always does. He even had a “special” running at Art of the Needle, our tattoo shop, so he was more busy than usual. I offered to make what ever he wanted for dinner, he chose pizza and fried mushrooms. Not exactly the special dinner I was planning to make, but it was his request. When we lived in Grand Rapids, we would often stop at Rinaldi’s Pizza on the way home from work. We always got a few slices and a large serving of their fried mushrooms. This is how Dirk developed his love for Ranch dressing. I think Ranch is the one thing that Dirk truly misses from his days living in the US, other than family and friends of course.
Ranch dressing is not a “thing” here in Germany. We have to order it online and pay ridiculous amounts of money to have it imported. Or, when friends come to visit, they bring us a stash that we serve only for special occasions, like turning 50.
So, here in Germany, it is considered very poor form and bad luck to wish someone Happy Birthday before their actual birth date. Birthday parties are often given days after the actual birthday. Although, I am told, you can celebrate a Saturday birthday by beginning on Friday night and partying into Saturday. At Midnight it is acceptable to wish them a Happy Birthday, or Alles Gute zum Geburtstag.
The parties are often thrown at a bar, or hall, and are usually a catered event. Most have a keg or two, more if it is a large party. Often there is a DJ as well. They can cost anywhere from a few hundred Euro to several thousand Euro. For me as an American, they seem rather formal. The guest list is usually for close friends and family only. Unlike in America, where we often have a much more casual list for birthday parties.
Dirk kept his party small, and had a Yesterdog themed buffet. For those of you that are not from the Grand Rapids, Michigan area, Yesterdog is an iconic hotdog joint that many of us grew up with.( It was represented on the big screen as Dog Years in the movie American Pie.) Most of us from the area started out going there after sports games, then as we got older, after a night at the bar. It’s located in East Grand Rapids, Michigan and Dirk fell in love with the place when we lived in the area. He always made a stop after a night at the bar, and we often went on the weekends during the summers if we didn’t want to cook.
So, since we are now in Germany, and not Grand Rapids we couldn’t just get a bunch of hot dogs from Yesterdog, but we did have Zur Linde do their best with an homage to Yesterdog. They did a great job, and the food turned out great.
As an American, I am accustomed to people eating hot dogs with their hands. Germans like to use a fork and knife for everything, including hot dogs. Not sure why, but this makes me giggle when ever I see it. One of those differences in cultures, neither is right or wrong, just different and seems odd to the other culture. I ate my veggie dog with my hands, like the animal I am.
Happy Birthday, Dirk!!