The problem with taking the alphabet out of sequence is, of course, that you’re inclined to forget which letters you’ve visited. Discovering that my “F” had been neglected, and with Christmas just around the corner, I thought a little food might be in order. Anyone hungry?
Sniadania is breakfast in Polish. One of my greatest surprises was drugie sniadania– second breakfast! Healthy appetites, indeed. Having eaten a continental style breakfast, with lots of choices of bread (Adam’s a baker, remember), ham, cheeses and homemade preserves, some time after eight, by eleven o’clock Marta would be offering us something more substantial. Soup, or pierogi (delicious dumplings with either sweet or savoury fillings), often after we’d already had coffee and cake at ten.
I had already learnt that ciastko, cake, appears at every possible opportunity in a Polish household. I felt quite ashamed of my lazy English ways. Polish wives are constantly baking, cooking or preparing food, even when they have busy jobs outside the home. Maybe the younger generation will have a more relaxed attitude to housekeeping.
At my first Polish meal I was a little surprised to sit down to a dish of plain spaghetti, but all became clear when the tureen of consome went the rounds. Very often soup has rice or pasta added, making it a substantial meal. With chleb (bread) of course.
Dania drugie (second, or main course)
I have included kiełbasa in the mains but this savoury sausage can appear at any time of day, breakfast, lunch or supper. I very much like żurek, a creamy soup with pieces of kiełbasa floating in, or even a whole sausage. Polish main courses are usually pork, veal or chicken accompanied by ziemniaki (potatoes). You will usually find a huge bowl of warzywna z majonezem (vegetable salad), sliced pomodorów (tomatoes), and ogórki (gherkins) on the table. Occasionally there might be cooked vegetables.
Obiad, or lunch, the main meal of the day, is usually served around 2.30- 3.00. Obviously this varies with working patterns and the school day. Other favourites of mine are gołąbka, cabbage leaves stuffed with mince and rice, and nalesniki. These are pancakes, often with cream cheese (z serem) or sour cherries (wiśnia). Fabulous!
No Polish meal would be complete without something sweet, so dessert is almost mandatory. Sernik is a delicious cheesecake. On a recent visit my cousin Grazyna, a wonderful cook, brought carob cake with her. I could have a new favourite every day! They are served with kawa (coffee), herbata ( tea) or kompot (a brew made with fruit). Sok (juice) and woda (water) are always available on a Polish table, and afterwards a little koniak (cognac) or wodka might be taken.
Kolacje – anyone still got room for supper? You’ll be pleased to know that it’s a simple meal of bread, cheese, ham- whatever hasn’t been eaten in the day.
Food is an integral part of Polish celebrations. The święconka basket, shown above, is traditionally taken to church to be blessed on Easter Saturday, ready for breakfast on Sunday. I have yet to experience a Polish Christmas, but the meal is eaten after the church service on Christmas Eve, and is comprised of 12 courses, but no meat. It might take a little while!
All of the food photos are courtesy of Wikipedia. I was far too busy eating and drinking to point the camera. It just remains to thank Julie Dawn Fox for allowing me to contribute to My Personal A-Z of Poland. The banner will take you to the main site, where you can check out the many other contributions, or maybe even join in.