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The International Writers Magazine

"Goin' Curry Farmin' G#d Dammitt'
Dean H Ruezler

It seems that I have taken my fair share of abuse over the years for being from the small state of Vermont. In the words of another English teacher; "A lot of people think you are a hillbilly!".
To set things straight, "Hillbillies" are from Tennessee "Good Ol` Boys" are from the deep south, "Hoopies", are from West Virginia, "Mountain Men" are from the Appalachian Mountain sections of the Ohio Valley, "Cowboys" are from the American West, and "Imo Yaroo", are from Tohoku. What I am is a "Redneck", and not just any redneck, but a "G#D DAMN VERMONT farm-boy redneck !!"
Where does the successful curry farmer get these flamethrowers?

Like any "Vamontaah", I am proud of our contributions to o our country and the world. The best skiing in Eastern North America, the best maple syrup in the world (Sorry to any Canadian who may try to delude you into thinking different), high quality dairy products (Cabot Farms Cheddar Cheese, won a prestigious European cheese tasting contest last year, a coup along the lines of the Charlie Daniels Band winning the Strativarius Prize), Ben And Jerry`s Ice Cream, John Leclair of the NHL Philadelphia Flyers, and the only two independently affiliated congressmen in Washington D.C., Bernie Sanders, and James "George Bush Made Me Do It!" Jeffords.

Nothing makes me prouder to be a Vermonter, than to be ale to go into almost any "kombiini" in Japan and see "Vermont" Curry mix for sale. It makes we want to blurt out in my thick Vermont - "ben", " I am verry puroud G*D DAMMITT!" (A note on how to speak Vermont Ben: we use "G#D (or G*D) DAMMITT" instead of a period, exclamation point or question mark.)

The reason I am most proud is, despite being a skier for thirty-two years, a fervent supporter of our independent congressmen, my deepest, most heartfelt, connection to my home state is Vermont curry. My parents are the owners of the largest curry tree plantation in Vermont, and are suppliers of 13.89% of all Vermont curry that ends up in Japanese supermarkets.

In fact the real reason I spent three years on the Japanese Exchange and Teaching Program, was to learn Japanese and deal with Japanese curry buyers better. One curry buyer offered us eight yen per kilogram, saying that one Yen was equal to one American Dollar. Coming to Japan, I discovered that this is not true, and my parents now charge eighty yen a kilogram. G%D DAMMITT!! If this curry buyer were not a yakuza I'd get a can of "whoop-ass" and spray it all over him!

I will be going back to Vermont after my three years on the JET program. Some people think it will be to go fishing for Northern Pike, drink real coffee, or to convince old girlfriends to skinny-dip in Lake
Champlain. None of these reasons are true. I will be going back to Vermont to manage the curry plantation as my Mother and Step-Father retire to Canada (Why Canada? They said it is because it is so "different and exotic!"). So while my fellow JETs and ex-JETs are sleeping on their desks, or are in Southeast Asia inhaling a new exotic experience, I will be on the supervisors tractor, yelling instructions at our itinerant exploited migrant laborers (from New Hampshire).

The toughest thing about growing curry is that it is not native to Vermont (like our famous Boiling Maple Syrup Natural Artificial Hot Springs). So in order to produce a high quality curry, a curry tree needs roughly a four-month growing season. The growing season is roughly from May 25th (when winter ends in Vermont) to August 25th (the usual time for the first snowfall). With curry needing a four month season, and Vermont supplying three months and two weeks at best, we resort to artificial means to keep the curry trees warm enough to bloom, on those frosty April, May, and August nights.

Just how is that done? Back in the "olden days",(about 1965) it was done by creating huge bonfires. These bonfires kept the trees warm and protected from frost and snow damage. In the late 20th century, this is done using military surplus flame-throwers. Current agricultural research experiments with handheld lasers being used for this purpose giving a real "Star Trek" feel to the modern curry farm. "Beam Me Up Scotty, G#D DAMMITT!!"

Where does the successful curry farmer get these flamethrowers? Well, this is the one reason why the United States now grows the best curry in the world and more peaceful nations like Japan, The Scandinavian Countries and England have to import all their curry. The reason is that that we buy our flamethrowers at the same place we can buy all our handguns, semi-automatic weapons, handheld tactical nuclear weapons, and battlefield armor…..K-MART, Wal Mart, Brooks Drugs, 7-Eleven, and
Circle K (FYI: convenience and thrift stores). Have you ever tried to get you semi-automatic weapons carrying permit in a "Sunkus" or "Camel Mart"? It just cannot be done…G&D DAMITT!

Is there any danger to using these flamethrowers? Why, of course, and accidents do happen sometimes. We try to look at the bright side of every accident. The neighbors cow? Well, they can sell it as pre-cooked beef. A stray white tailed deer? Well venison BBQ is "Cho-Oishii". How about accidentally frying a dog or cat? Well, twenty miles down the road in Burlington are a few Chinese and Korean restaurants and we are not above a little "under the table" business for a few extra bucks (Gotta love those free, opportunistic, open markets of capitalism!). What if one of our workers gets torched? Well, most of 'em are from New Hampshire, who cares?

The one thing that sets Vermont curry apart from all other types of curry are its special ingredients. Most people think it is because of the added clover honey and apples, or perhaps the rumored addition of maple syrup and sharp cheddar cheese that gives Vermont curry its extra special taste. It is none of those though. The final and most special added ingredient is what we simply call "meadow-muffin", an all-natural byproduct of out dairy farming industry. It gives Vermont curry its color, texture, feel, smell, and some would even say, its taste.

So please, the next time you are in a Lawson Station kombiini looking for dinner, give good old Vermont curry a try. It promises to be a gastronomic adventure. Pass the rice and Dig In! G#% DAMMITT!!!

© Dean Ruetzler Feb 2004
Morioka, Iwate, Japan and South Burlington,Vermont, USA
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