Friday, December 31, 2010

Time heals some wounds better than others.

Lunch with friends today at bd's Mongolian Grill, always fun and filling. Spring the extra for the all-you-can-conquer buffet, and if you leave there hungry it's your own fault.

Like many a Mongolian-style restaurant, there's a moderately Genghis-toned theme to the place, leading me to ask my dining companions how many hundreds of years they thought it takes, on average, to make a really extroverted genocidal conqueror into a cute'n'kitschy sales motif. I mean, when are we going to see Wacky Adolf's House of Schnitzel? And can you imagine what the kiddie menu would be like there?

47 comments:

theirritablearchitect said...

"... can you imagine what the kiddie menu would be like there?"

Brussel Sprouts and other assorted vegetables, if I'm to understand correctly.

Tam said...

No, it doesn't have to be historically accurate. I mean, I ginned up an awesome kung pao scallops dish today that I'm pretty sure the Golden Horde never enjoyed.

They'd need a kiddie mascot, like Kampfy the Uberhund, selling Blitzkrieg Burgers in "Schadenfreude Meals" with a little plastic toy inside, like a Stuka or a guard tower.

ViolentIndifference said...

I can't follow your act.


WV: unbletiz or unblitzkrieg

alath said...

If not a kitschy restaraunt theme, a deceased mass murderer can always become the darling of disagreeable intellectuals at the local university. Seems to work only for Communist-flavored mass murderers, though.

Jim said...

I'm pretty sure they'd be keen on expanding into the Czech place next door.

Jim

Dirt Sailor said...

I'd bet on Chairman Mao's House of Bao, or Pho Chi Minh first. The Diet section can be caled the POW special menu!
NAd I'd say around a thousand years.

WV: sodsmest, what happens when a troop of Mongols runs across your lawn.

Brigid said...

It was awesome. I forgot to ask if they have Mongrel Horde doggie bags so I could have brought a little something home for Barkley.

DirtCrashr said...

As IA mentioned, Schickelgruber had a thing for Teh Wedgie-tables, so Haus der Tofu...well, if you Google "Vienna Tofu" you'll find a lot already, sadly.

Discobobby said...

Down the road from where I work is Uncle Mao's Chinese Restaurant and take-out. No, I'm not kidding. I've never asked my Chinese co-workers how that goes over....

2yellowdogs said...

An even easier concept: Uncle Joe's House of Famine. It's a pretty light menu. I hear the Potemkin potatoes are awesome. And the Gulag grilled chicken is to die for. You just know the kiddies will have a great time playing in Lubyankaland.

Watch out for the Duranty burger, though. It's highly touted but a real let-down when you actually try it.

theirritablearchitect said...

Dirt got my joke.

(snicker)

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Well, Baltimore institution Polock Johnny's wouldn't appreciate Wacky-A's intrusion on HIS turf come Septembers.

Borepatch said...

It's not a real Mongolian BBQ joint if there isn't a pyramid of skulls at the end of the buffet.

perlhaqr said...

I have to admit, I laughed a lot at Pho Chih Minh.

Dominique said...

I've eaten at Mao's Kitchen - http://www.maoskitchen.com/ - to be fair, it's in the middle of Venice Beach, so there base level of crazy is pretty high to begin with.

Bonus - they have Gang of Four fried shrimp, Model Citizen noodle soup, Countryside Commune eggs and Long March camp-fry.

I shit ye not - check the menu on the website.

Douglas Hester said...

Don't forget Smiling Benito's Spaghetti and Pizza. Abbondanza!

Discobobby said...

Uncle Joe's House of Famine.

Discobobby said...

Should have had a Guilty Snicker at the end of the comment...

rickn8or said...

Whatever's on the menu at Onkle Adolph's, you can be sure that it would be vegetarian, and there would be no smoking allowed. Because he was like, both, you know.

(I love pointing this out to supercilious non-smoking vegetarians.)

Brandon said...

Nothin' moderate about the conqueror-related theme employed by Genghis Grill. History is evidently not the founders' forte.

D.W. Drang said...

Rickn8or: Don't forget that Wacky Adolph was also a teetotaler.

Brian J. Noggle said...

Personally, I don't think it's authentic enough Mongolian cuisine if its menu extends past horse milk and horse blood.

Turk Turon said...

Pol Pot Pie?

Hello? Is this thing on?

theirritablearchitect said...

rickn8or,

Man, there's an echo in here! :)

Keads said...

Don't worry about the echo, I get it all the time here!

rickn8or said...

IA--

"Two great minds..."

DirtCrashr said...

The thing about Pho is it's pronounced "Fuh" with the accent trailing-off - like "duh!"

Gewehr98 said...

Bummer. All the bd's Mongolian shut down in this neck of the woods, without so much as a notice. One of my favorite places to dine, too...

Joshkie said...

How did one ethnic restaurant become the poster child of the Mongolian Hords? It's just a style of cooking.

So, so do I need to give up drinking my German bear and putting horseradish sauce on my roast beef sandwiches? I don't want people to assume that because I'm a blond green eyed German that I must then be part of the Arian nation.

So, if you like southern cooking you must be for slavery? I could go on and on.

Hitler is no more a reprisentive of the German Austrian people as a whole than Bach or Mozart.

Now if they are use a name directly related to the offending parties that would be tacky. 'Auschwitz Gas Oven Bakery' bad name for a bakery. 'German House of Baked Goodies' good name for a bakery. 'Mongolian Barbecue' good name for a Mongolian style barbecue; 'Genghis khan's House of Slaughter' not so much.

Sorry, this conversation just hit me wrong. There's a fine line between making fun of ourselves and making light of a tragedy.

Ps. Mao's Kitchen pretty tacky.

Mattexian said...

So, if you like southern cooking you must be for slavery?

To hear some "reporters" coverage of the 150th anniversary of several Southern states' ordinances of secession, yes.

Meanwhile, we'll be celebrating the New Year with our traditional meal of black-eyed peas and greens, since that seemed to be the only fare available after the Late Unpleasantness. Seems like Blacks and Whites enjoy this tradition equally, with no animosity.

Tam said...

Joshkie,

"orry, this conversation just hit me wrong. There's a fine line between making fun of ourselves and making light of a tragedy."

Er, that was rather the whole point of the exercise.

See, society apparently has no problem with a Mongolian restaurant using a cartoon Genghis for a mascot, but a cartoon Hitler would obviously be right out. Yet the biggest difference is that ol' G.K. didn't have any machine guns or Zyklon B; he certainly had no qualms about making piles of skulls.

So how long before a genocidal maniac gets time-expired and it's okay to use him as a mascot? The existence of Mao's Kitchen suggests that it can vary, perhaps depending on the country of origin or the political system of the conqueror...

Anonymous said...

I always wondered why Red Square at Mandalay Bay in Vegas was acceptable, but a Third Reich themed bar wouldn't be.

Henry Blowfly said...

Gold star for "Pho Chi Minh"!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...interesting thread...

How about Tamerlane's Tacos?

Class? Anyone? Bueller?

cap'n chumbucket

Stan said...

I'd have been quite pleased as a kid to get a little Stuka dive bomber as a toy, but at the time I'd have no idea of its meaning.

Adolf's could have the Blitzkrieg Breakfast, Polish sausage; Belgian waffles; and baguette toast. Perhaps with a side of sauerkraut because the borscht is always out.

perlhaqr said...

Joshkie: The one Tam went to isn't of this chain, but the one near my place is actually called "Genghis Grill".

From the front page of their website:
Genghis Grill-The Mongolian Stir Fry, is a build your own bowl, fast casual, Asian stir-fry concept. The atmosphere is colorful, lively, and a lot of fun! It's actually not a cuisine, but an INTERACTIVE style of exhibition cooking modeled after a centuries-old legend. According to this legend, 12th century Mongol warriors, led by the mighty warrior GENGHIS KHAN, heated their shields over open fires to grill food in the fields of battle!!

The Mongol Horde is estimated to have killed 40 million people, most of them civilians, during the time of its stampede through the world.

So, the comparison to "Adolf's Schnitzel Haus" as a restaurant concept with little cartoon Hitlers on the menus isn't that far off.

Tam said...

Oh, I just wanted to add that "Pho Chi Minh" still kicks my giggle box over every time I read it, even a day later.

KA9VSZ said...

Jeffery Dahmer's House of Ribs...

(If that's in excessively poor taste, Tam, please remove. I'm pre-coffee.)

Justthisguy said...

In a Larry Niven story, "Bordered in Black" I think it was, one of the characters is said to have played football with the Berlin Nazis.

John Stephens said...

You probably could get away with a Third Reich themed restaurant in the right neighborhood, if you claimed you were doing it "ironically". If anyone protests, simply accuse them of being pro-Israel. That'll confuse the issue long enough for the place to go broke on it's own.

Brad K. said...

# Mattexian,

So - am I wrong, to be humming to the cows about "Aunt Jemima's pancakes/Withouth her syrup/Is like the spring/Without the fall?

In this universe/There's just one thing worse/That's no Aunt Jemimas at all!

- actually, the local Wal-Mart Santa may have sung that to calm a couple kiddies this past season. .

Justthisguy said...

To go further in this bad direction, I think of changing one letter in the name of that sports team, the New York Jets, and have them be the New York Jews, and then play against the Berlin Nazis.

staghounds said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
staghounds said...

Oops, did the link wrong-

Not often I scoop the Tam, but the number for murderers of New Mexicans is 97 years.

markm said...

I think it's mainly that Genghis Khan and a few of his descendants are the only Mongols anyone outside of Mongolia knows of. Germans can just ignore those embarrassing years between Kaiser Billy and the establishment of an effective representative democracy in Bonn, and still have great scientists, great writers, and warrior kings who (unlike Billy and Adolf) won their wars. Drop Genghis Khan from Mongolian history and what's left? A whole lot of pointless raiding, cattle herding, and bad weather...

Also, how much worse is decorating with a Genghis Khan theme than holding Octoberfest in honor of the wedding of a petty king who cheated on his wife and couldn't hold his throne?

TimP said...

I wonder if it's the racism. It's the best solution I can come up with as to why Hitler is considered to be evil incarnate, while other mass-murders are just "not very nice people". Which is why a Pol Pot or Mao theme is considered to be at worst in poor taste, while a Hitler would be considered a crime against humanity.

Brad K. said...

Tam,

I think there is a bit of cultural snobbery, or degree of identification.

Most of us know very little of the Mongol life style and culture. "They are just barbarians, like all the other barbarians. Who could blame them for being barbaric barbarians?"

Hitler, on the other hand, came to power in a modern time. We don't consider his times or the culture, before he came to power, to be barbaric. That makes his twisted values (euthanasia for children that need special care, master race bigotry) criminal rather than simple barbaric brutality, done large.

Many of us have some European heritage, meaning that we can name ancestors that fled, were harmed by, or defended against Hitler and the Third Reich. It will take a few more generations, I think, to let that go by.

Look at how active the Civil War re-enactments keep that conflict alive. One gentleman I dealt with in the last year still honors, partly, that divide in culture.

Frankly, the best introduction to what the Mongols did, and how their scourge extended into Europe, was in fiction (Leo Frankowski's "Cross Time Engineer" series). Hitler was taught in several grades in elementary and high school; aftermath of the war, the propaganda, the killing aside from the war effort and other social totalitarian innovations still reverberate through our culture today. (Including the Iranian denial there was ever a holocaust.)

The Hitler issues aren't dead, yet. Not for everyone living.