Sunday, September 13, 2009

Polish Country Breakfast

As I sit here in my underwear eating a box of Nutter Butters that miss N. foolishly brought over, my mind turns to breakfasts past.

This summer, after being on tour in Poland and Russia, I was fortunate enough to be able to stop by my Aunt and Uncle's summer home in the north of Poland for a few days. Not only was this an opportunity to revisit the happy place of my childhood, but also to experience a couple days of great breakfasts.

This is how it went. I would wake up around 9 or ten, much later than everyone else. I would stumble upstairs into the morning light, and be greeted with a fully laden breakfast table, the contents of which were pretty much just carried upstairs from my aunt's home canning station in the basement.

We had a couple of her jams in play while I was there, including one made from "czeremhy," which even my father, a linguist and professional Polish-English translator, couldn't really identify an English equivalent for (subsequent internet search provides "bird-cherries" [?]). Turns out my aunt was growing them next to the house. The preserves were wickedly tart, something similar to black currant. Good luck getting this anywhere but at your Polish Aunt's house. She was also really proud of her commercial pectin-free raspberry preserves. Made from local raspberries.

Other breakfast items included a small jar of unprocessed honey I had bought from the beekeeper himself at a market in the nearest village, some home-made cheese called (rough translation) "stinker" with fresh chives, delicious fresh baked rolls, farmer's cheese, and sometimes even scrambled farm fresh eggs with dill and just-picked-yesterday-by-my-uncle chanterelles. Delicious. Oh, and fresh blueberries I picked from the patch I found down by the creek.

After breakfast we would usually sit around talking shit for a couple hours, or help my uncle rebuild his fence.

And then, every day, once my breakfast was two hours behind me, I'd run to the lake and take a swim in the clear cold water, the sound of the wind in the pines mixing tranquilly with the overweight lifeguard's copy of Legend.


1 comment:

  1. Geez, how I miss Nogawica!!! That's unfortunately the second year we didn't go there. :-( I miss the lake, the whispers of the pines around it and the occasional roar of a car on the road... Oh the secluded melancholy of the place, especially now, in September!