Taste of India
Earthen Jar subtracts meat, adds authentic taste
By Megan Jacobs ;Daily Arts Writer
fe intersection of South
Fifth Avenue and Liberty
Street is the dining equiva-
lent of a vegetarian's wet dream;
Seva offers a wide variety of typi-
cal American fare such as vegan-
black-bean-style burgers while
Jerusalem Garden produces the
undeniably best falafel in the city.
Tucked away, nestled between the
falafel hot spot and a public park-
ing lot, is another gem for the veg-
gie-minded, Earthen Jar.
India is the inspiration behind
this quaint establishment, though
Bob Marley posters adorn the walls
and reggae wafts softly amidst the
scent of curry.
Earthen Jar takes a unique
approach to its contemporaries;
patrons file through a cafeteria-
style line, serving themselves
from a series of five heated trays,
offering over 25 dishes daily. The
atmosphere is largely informal -
as guests eat off of paper plates or
carry-out in Styrofoam trays and
eat with disposable silverware.
After choosing from a wide
variety of vegetarian and vegan
dishes, the sole worker and owner,
Gurcheren Sethi, weighs the plate;
all hot dishes are sold at a flat rate
of $4.99 per pound. Patrons may
also individually purchase samo-
sas, nan (Indian flatbread), and
various herbal teas and juices, all
reasonably priced - most are under
$3; nan is a mere $0.75 per piece
and samosas are $1 each.
My companion and I made an
assorted plate of brown rice and
dal moong wash (yellow' lentils
sauteed with onion), gobi alu (gin-
ger-flavored curried cauliflower
and potato deep-fried ball) sarmo-
sas (deep-friend pouch of seasoned
potato and peas) and soy chunks
with peas in a tomato sauce.
The experience was remarkably
similar to eating in someone's
home; patrons serve themselves
water from a pitcher in a cooler
filled with metal cups - which
keeps the water pleasantly chilled
- as well as boxes of mango
and guava juice and a variety of
Though the owner delivered pip-
ing hot nan and freshly warmed
samosas to the table, we were
responsible for disposing of our
own Chinet plates and plasticware.
As if to add an even more homey
touch to the evening, he told us to
kindly place our glasses in the sink
in the back room.
While some might not appre-
ciate this method of service, the
Indian fare offered at Earthen Jar
makes up for it. Each dish was
clearly labeled with its ingredients
and degree of spiciness; sauces
were flavorful without being over-
whelming. The gobi alu was deli-
cious, spiced to perfection without
inducing tears. This mild vegan
dish is substantial enough to be
eaten alone, though my compan-
ion and I enjoyed it dipped in
other sauces as well. Dal moong
wash was another tasty, non-spicy
option, best when mixed with
rice, available in either basmati or
Earthen Jar also offers a wide
array of salads, including spinach
and cucumber combinations and
yogurt or lemon-based dressings.
Though the restaurant claims
to be quick and healthy, it is more
the former than the latter; several
options are potato filled and deep-
fried, and pure vegetarian options
are best eaten in a pinchful of nan.
Nonetheless, Earthen Jar is perfect
for a vegan on the run, with its
self-serve format and inexpensive
Where: 311 S. Fifth Ave.
Hours: Mon.-Thurs. and Sat.
10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Fri. 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.
The Ypsilanti State Hospital - primarily designed to treat mentally IIl patients - opened in 1931.
Opening Its Doors Again
While waiting to be demolished, Ypsilanti State
Hospital leaves behind a storied past.
By Christopher Zbrozek / Daily Staff Writer
Ypsilanti resident Julie Herrmann er
Jar on South Fifth Avenue.
"artisan politics being what they are, the coopera-
tion last year between Gov. Jennifer Granholm and
the Republican-controlled state Legislature on a
plan to bring a Toyota Research & Development facility to
York Township says something about how badly Michigan
needs new jobs.
After a West Bloomfield-based devel- oper intent on
building a subdivision outbid Toyota for some state-owned
land south of Ann Arbor - the site of an old mental hospital
- the state threw out both bids. The Legislature then passed
a bill to allow the land's sale directly to Toyota. Though the
developer sued the state, it appears construction on the Toy-
ota facility will begin as early as this spring.
Quietly lying behind the debate and excitement surround-
ing the Toyota facility, though, is the history of that land.
Ypsilanti State Hospital was practically a small city at its
peak in the mid-1950s, with a staff of nearly 1,000, 4,000
mentally ill patients, its own chapel, even a nine-hole golf
Today the site sits abandoned, its buildings largely gut-
ted in preparation for their final demolition. Urban explorers
and curious passerby who ignore the "No Trespassing" signs
and venture through the open doorways will certainly find
peeling paint and leaking roofs, birds flying about indoors
and rooms of abandoned filing cabinets and kitchen equip-
ment. They might not, however, have a sense for the scale of
the human suffering that existed within its walls.
The story of Ypsilanti State Hospital mirrors the history
of the treatment of the mentally ill during the 20th century.
When the hospital was built, effective treatments were few,
and mental hospitals were little removed from the insane
asylums of the 19th century.
The state Legislature authorized construction of "a hos-
pital for the human, curative, scientific and economic treat-
ment of insane persons to be known as the Ypsilanti State
Hospital" in 1931. The buildings were designed by Albert
Kahn, the architect of dozens of buildings on campus,
including Angell Hall and Hill Auditorium. The first six
patients were admitted on June 15, 1931, and by 1932, the
hospital vas spending 80 cents a day on each of its more
than 900 patients.
The diary of Dr. O.R. Yoder, the hospital's longtime med-
ical superintendent, shows the effects of the Great Depres-
sion that gripped the nation back then. On July 2, 1931, he
wrote, "Were constantly stopped by hundreds of people
seeking work. Several thousand applications on file." Later
that month, the Ypsilanti Savings Bank closed its doors, and
the doctor was left with $1.75 in his pocket.
In the hospital's early days, there were no anti-depres-
sants or anti-psychotics. Psychiatrists generally relied on
Freudian talk therapy. The type of patient who wound
up in Ypsilanti State Hospital, however, was often too ill
to benefit from talking. For these patients, there were a
variety of bodily treatments, ranging from the benign to
Patients on "hydrotherapy" were given warm baths or
wrapped in cold, wet sheets. "Physiotherapy" consisted of
exposure to ultraviolet and infrared light. Those patients
suffering from psychosis due to the end stages of syphilis
were given heavy metals to ingest or deliberately infected
with malaria. Before antibiotics, poisoning or life-threaten-
ing fever were the only options to kill the microorganism
that causes syphilis.
Because schizophrenia and epilepsy rarely occur in
the same individual, it was reasoned that causing seizures
might treat schizophrenia. In 1937, two "shock" therapies,
using insulin or a drug called metrazol to induce seizures,
were introduced at Ypsilanti State Hospital. Metrazol
induced seizures so intense that patients often fractured
their spines. Electroshock therapy was introduced around
this time as well.
These treatments were not particularly effective. In the
10th anniversary issue of Ypsi Slants, the newsletter pub-
lished by some of the more able patients as part of their
therapy, an article titled "Charter Guests Still Among Us"
reported on patients who had been in the hospital since
1931. Of the first six people admitted to the hospital 10 years
before, one was still a patient; the other five had died without
Crumbling copies of Ypsi Slants kept in the Bentley
Historical Library provide a glimpse into the lives of the
more highly functional patients. In addition to listing the
scores of intramural softball games and providing compel-
ling reporting on the prize cows in the hospital's dairy, the
newsletter contained something of a society column about
"Harry Lemmer of Ward B 2-1 is losing his expert touch
with cards. He has lost 12 straight games. His friends say
he needs a little practice. They are all eager to help him
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Earthen Jar allows customers to choose from more than 25 vegan dishes each day.
4B - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 29, 2005
The Michigan Daily -