Sunday, 22 June 2008

Poland, my Poland*

I cannot move. I may possibly never move again. It is a good job I remembered to wear an elasticated waistband. I have eaten far more than this week's calorific intake, and I may have to be rolled to school tomorrow.

Today, you see, we visited Auntie and assorted cousins, all of whom keep firmly to their heritage and cook traditional Polish dishes. Polish women are generous, big-hearted, and firmly believe that everyone is starving. Far worse than any stereotyped Jewish or Irish Mom!

We arrived today and were greeted with the typical kawa i ciastko (coffee and cake). This is normal, hospitality is important, and they served their guests while the hosts nodded and smiled and sat back. I should have taken note then and refused that second slice.

Following cake, before we even left the table, lunch was served. Huge bowls of Borscht ladled out. Cake, then soup? Oh well, I can cope with that. I always wanted to eat pudding first.

Then, as the bowls were cleared, plates heaped with krokiet - pancake rolls - appeared. I was suffering at this point, two slices of cake and a big bowl of soup were churning in my stomach. But refusing food is impolite at best, and a terrible insult at worst, so I accepted a single roll and manfully ate it. It was fabulous, and - had I not already eaten so much - I could have eaten half a dozen easily. The heaped platters soon disappeared.

Gratefully, I pushed my chair away from the table, but too soon! My heart sank as the hostess produced more and more food. Golabki, bread, potatoes, peppers... this is where the art of pushing food around your plate becomes a necessity. Auntie, you are a fabulous cook, but my stomach doesn't deal well with multiple courses in the middle of the day.

It didn't stop there. More coffee, more cake. Chocolate. I fled. Took the kids out of the room, and made an excuse to trundle them for a long walk in the country, while they whinged and kicked and muttered about leaving Ipods and Gameboys behind.

I love Polish food, don't get me wrong. One of my all time favourites is pierogi, a kind of pasta. Himself has dreams about makowiec, poppy seed cake, that his grandmother made. But I could eat no more.

Kissing everyone goodbye - damnit, I'm British, this cheek kissing every single person hello and goodbye makes me so uncomfortable. I was kissed over 24 times today! As I was saying, kissing everyone goodbye, I made a grateful escape to slump in the car... and auntie pressed a carrier bag full of leftovers on my lap. Groan...........

*Apologies to Lawrence.

PS It's ok, I got the recipe for the fab cake!

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