So, I asked her to do a guest post on my blog on whatever she wanted and here it is:
After I was asked if I want to write a guest post for Polish Mama I’d been thinking about the topic. I thought I’ll write something about being Polish in US (because I’m Polish as well), about dealing with everyday consciousness that I’m different.
Wherever I go, whatever I say the first thing people ask me is:
“Hm ... where are you from?”
“Hm... I’m from Poland”
“Oh ... from Holland, NICE”
“No, NOT HOLLAND. POLAND. I’m from POLAND” and I see the confusion in people eyes. Yes, just a few of them knew where Poland is, and no, it’s not in Africa. Why everybody knows where Holland is but they have such a big problem with Poland! That’s amazes me.
Anyway, I thought that I better write something about cooking. Much easier. I like to cook; I like to take pictures of what I cook; I like to share recipes and I wouldn’t have to write a lot because I’m not very good at that. Not in English at least.
I consider English as my SECOND language. Still. Polish is what I’ve been using since I was born, long time ago. English is what I’ve been using along with Polish for the last 3.5 years. It’s really hard to teach an old dog new tricks (don’t get me wrong I’m not THAT old).
I read and talk in English for most of my days. I’ve limited my Polish to minimum. Not because I don’t want to talk in Polish anymore, but because I wish I could speak English fluently. I’m getting tired of using very simple vocabulary when it comes to very serious conversations. I’m tired of people saying that I sound cute, when I want to sound and to be treat serious. It was cute at the beginning. Right now is frustrating. Right now I prefer to abandon the discussion than make myself look (or sound) even more silly and childish.
These days I feel like I’m in a middle of a transition between English and Polish and it frustrates me even more. Every time I talk with my parents or Polish friends I find myself looking for the right Polish words, and it happens that I can’t find them (I have to go around).
At the same time I don’t want my family or friends to think: Oh, she’s been living there for only 3.5 years and she already forgot Polish [sigh]. How is she gonna teach our granddaughter to speak Polish? Then when I speak with my husband or I try to write a post for my blog (in English) I find it very hard to find the right words to describe something. I feel like I’m loosing something instead of gaining. I’m losing my Polish, but I’m not actually gaining much English, either. I know I know, I should just take the dictionary and start memorizing words. Yeah, right! My laziness is calling ;)
Somedays I think how much easier it would be to just go back to Poland, where everybody speaks your language, where you’re familiar with the food, and customs. Where going grocery shopping I won’t be asked “Where are you from?” or ...“HOW DID YOU GET HERE?” (based on true story!). I ran and swam to here in case if you want to know ;-)
Where french fries are made from potatoes and not from potato like substance. Where cherry, apple, plum, pear trees grow wild. Where you won’t see a single waisted fruit under those wild trees. That thought came to my mind while looking at all those rotten oranges, grapefruits, lemons, pomegranates in our neighborhood. Why would you want to have so much that you can’t even digest?! I go for walks and think that if I had those trees on my front/back yard I would be making all bunch of different jams, juices, fruit cakes and smoothies. If it’s still too many I would be giving it away to people.
In Poland if you have to much you share it with your friends, family, neighbors. I remember when I was a kid when we had bunch of plums and cherries from our summer garden I would go visit my friend and take with me bucket or two of those cherries or plums. The next day while visiting my friend again (she lived next door) I would get a piece of a fresh baked plum cake. If somebody was visiting us they wouldn’t leave without a basket of fresh picked fruits.
I know that there is many different opportunities here (in US), but sometimes I think: is it worth it. I know many Polish people that really don’t care about those kind of things, they would laugh at those silly questions at the store or simply snap back with an answer that is as silly as the question was. I’m not one of them. For me it was cute and funny two years ago but today it’s annoying. I really want to get my grocery and go home, and I do not need anybody to reminds me that I’m different, that I have an accent, or look original (whatever that means).
One more thing I want to talk about (did I say that I’m not good at talking about myself in English... hm... lol). When I left Poland I didn’t really expect how much I’ll be missing Polish food. Not all of it. Just particular dishes that reminds me of my childhood, that I call my comfort food.
It is even more difficult because my husband doesn’t like Polish food. He likes pierogi, but who doesn’t?! He doesn’t like cabbage and many Polish dishes that I like have cabbage in it. For example bigos, or cabbage rolls, or boiled cabbage with apples. He can’t stand the smell of boiling cabbage. So, I try to cook it once in a blue moon. Read: Never! That’s how good wife I am! :)
I love barszcz, he doesn’t. I love żurek, he doesn’t know what that is, and actually doesn’t want to know. I love potato pancakes, he definitely does not want to eat them, and so on! I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but I wish he was a little bit more open to new food.
Today if I want something Polish I need to cook it myself rather than find it in a store or restaurant, and it’s a cooking 3 dishes for three people: Something different for my husband, something different for our Little One (thanks god she is getting to that age that she can eat what her dad or mom eats.. uff...), and something Polish for me.
So you can imagine how often I’m willing to cook something Polish for myself. I rather skip this part that stay in the kitchen for extra hour. My laziness again ;). If I want to go out to eat it’s hard to find a good Polish restaurant if any.
So when this day comes and I really feel like I can’t put my craving away anymore I like to make something what’s very easy and fast to cook. Placki ziemniaczane, potatoe pancakes. That’s what I actually was planned to talk about in this blog post, and only about this. Oh well, I hope you don’t mind my previous ramblings.
So, for this recipe I use:
3 medium size potatoes (You can use whatever potatoes you have.)
1/2 medium yellow onion
1cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup corn (optional)
1/4 cup peas (optional)
1 stick of butter, (or 1/2 cup oil)
spices - sal, peper, marjoram, complete seasoning (if I use this I don’t use salt)
Peel them and cut into small pieces. I wash it after all to wash the starch out. So those pancakes are not very starchy.
I do not have food processor so I use blender. I have much easier that my parents anyway. When I was a kid I remember my parents grating the potatoes one by one using the old school shredder. When me and my siblings got older they would use us to do “if you want to help me cooking” part.
Move the batter to the bowl and mix in egg, chopped into really small pieces onion, and spices
Add all purpose flour. I remember my parents used to mix it half and half (potato starch and all purpose flour). I do not use the starch, because I like those pancakes not so starchy, and heavy.
Add corn and peas. This is optional. My parents would never do that, but I try to smuggle as many veggies to my cooking as it’s possible. I try not to overdo it, though. So sometimes I would grade one or two carrots, and use it instead of corn and peas, or in addition.
Heat oil in a large skiller over medium heat. Spoon the mixture into skillet. Fry, turning once, until golden brown. Transfer to paper towel to drain.
In Poland people eat it with sour cream, sugar, mushroom sauce or so called gypsy sauce. I eat it with ketchup! :)