Tuesday, July 18, 2000

Readers' queries answered

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        I am frequently stumped by bizarre questions from readers. This column is devoted to a few of them.

        Where my answers fall short, I hope others will pitch in. Thanks for writing, everybody. It's a treat to see what's on your minds. It's also humbling. While I go on about civil liberties or school prayer, you're thinking about ... goetta. And wayward Chihuahuas.

Know a dog trainer?
        “Do you know of a good dog trainer where I can take my Chihuahua?”

        Sorry, no. Have you considered trading up for a mutt? They hardly ever yap endlessly for no reason or compel you to eat tacos.

The Spaceship House
        “Can you possibly help a starving student? I would like to do a report on the Spaceship House. From what I've been able to find out so far, it was a "kit' house built in the '50s or '60s, and the business failed due to high cost or possibly other obvious reasons.”

        Hmm. Perhaps ugliness was one of them.

        This cross between mobile home and UFO still sits at 224 Wright St. in Covington. On clear, leafless days, it can be seen on the hillside west of I-75.

        Covington's housing department has a file on the house. It contains an undated flier describing it as “The Futuro: Vacation Home of the Future.” A picture shows a flattened oval perched on what looks like metal stilts. The contact on the flier is I.F.O. Promotions, 7709 Hamilton Ave., Cincinnati.

        Twenty years ago, people used to rent the place for parties. No word on whether anyone lives there now.

Was murder solved?
        “There was a murder of a drugstore owner in Covington, Ky., sometime in the 1950s. At the time the murder was unsolved. Is there a way of finding out if the murderer was ever caught? The owner's last name was Massman. It was said that she was very kind to everyone regardless of race. No one could understand why she was killed.”

        The Covington police department does not keep records dating to the '50s.

        With the victim's full name, you can check the index of 1950s newspaper stories at the Kenton County Public Library. If the name is not indexed, use the library's computerized death records to determine her date of death, then look at newspaper microfilm to find stories from around that time.

How do I get that sign?
        “How can I obtain the Ten Commandments yard signs?”

        Call 1-888-8474-4679.

Give me some goetta dish
        “I'm looking for an authentic recipe for goetta, and can you tell me just exactly when did it first appear in the Cincinnati area? Is there any way to verify that it did indeed come from Germany?”

        Oh no, a food question.

        The recipe for goetta, made by cooking pork with oats, onions and spices, was either invented by a Covington store owner at the turn of the century or brought here by German immigrants. There's no way to know exactly when or how it started.

        The term “goetta” does have its roots in the German word gruetzewurst, which is a dish made of grain and pork. Only in Greater Cincinnati, however, is the concoction described as goetta.

        Eat on, you of hearty stomachs and inquiring minds.

        Karen Samples is Kentucky columnist for the Enquirer. She can be reached at 578-5584 or ksamples@enquirer.com.