09 Jan

Christmas. Location: Poland, To Grandmothers Apt We Go (Then Home!)

Posted by Jenna, Under Holiday, Poland

The morning of the 26th we woke, showered, and went to breakfast where I was cautioned “Don’t eat too much. We’re going to Grandma’s and she will have a lot for you to eat!”

This tree outside of Grandma’s apartment building was one of the most beautiful trees I have ever seen. Wouldn’t this be gorgeous in a white snowy field, with nothing but this tree all around?

When we got inside, we all took off our shoes and put slippers on. In Poland you never wear shoes in the house, but you never go barefoot either. I’m not a huge fan of wearing other peoples shoes, but I had socks on so I survived.

First course was mushroom soup. I believe that in Poland nice dinners always have soup as a first course. The taste was delicious, but I have a hard time with the texture of mushrooms so I made sure to swallow all of my spoonfuls whole.

That Husband and I were “assigned” seats next to each other.

We laughed when That SIL and her boyfriend were not assigned seats next to each other. Grandma sat in between them for the meal. We teased them that it was because they weren’t married.

I had been really nervous about eating at Grandma’s house, with all the warnings about so much food to eat (and what if I didn’t like any of it?), but I had nothing to be worried about because it was really delicious. I thought this was cranberrries (finally, something I recognized from home), but I was mistaken. They are in fact, cowberries. A stronger, more tart taste than cranberries.

This tasted like sauerkraut made with beets to me. But I think sauerkraut means “cabbage” in some way, so that is probably impossible.

These potatoes were my mom’s favorite when she went to Poland with me in May of this year. They are softy and mushy. I can’t think of a

Apricot-stuffed pork. Yum!

And of course, poppy seed bread for dessert!

More Krakow cake. This is why my belly was filling out my jeans just a little bit better on the way home.

And of course, more fruit compote. Luckily this wasn’t what we had to drink through this meal. That Husband and I asked for a drink this time around as well. It was sparkling water, but I’m told the Europeans like that kind of thing.

After dinner we were treated to pictures from That Husbands family. In this shot, you can see That Husband’s father (to the left of the little girl, TH’s aunt), as a little boy. That Husband’s aunt showed us all kinds of amazing photos, and gave us some additions to the genealogy chart we are building. I think we have enough information to do the work for 60+ ancestors now!

When we walked out of the apartment and were waiting for the elevator, everyone started laughing as they read this sign. I convinced TH to translate for me, and apparently it says something like “Make sure the elevator is here before you open the door and try to get on.”

I can’t even imagine what kind of horrible situation would prompt such a message. :(

That evening, everyone was sitting in the living room chatting and I knew they wanted me there with them, but my head was pounding and I was so tired I could hardly see straight. I felt sad saying goodnight, knowing these were our last few moments together for a long time. What a wonderful Christmas it had been!

The next morning we woke up (well I woke up, since TH never went to sleep that night), packed up, and left. You all know the feeling, it was good to be there, but it was good to be going home.

15 Comments


  1. I’m obsessed with genealogy research. The NYPL has been so helpful in doing mine. Let me know if you ever need any help.

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  2. Mmm Polish food looks quite tasty. Reminds me of what my mother and grandmother would make somewhat growing up.

    I think I’ve seen a sort of beety sauerkrautt before, though as I like neither beets or ssauerkraut I never tried it.

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  3. I love your Poland posts! It’s so great that you took pictures of all the food. I love seeing what odd things people eat in other countries. Speaking of which, potato salad with peas and carrots in? That sounds so bizarre!

    I can never cope without a drink when I eat, so I feel your pain. I actually feel like I can’t swallow anything if I haven’t got some liquid to make everything wet and, well, lubed-up (at the risk of sounding porno).

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  4. Maybe it’s sauerkraut made with red cabbage?

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  5. For future reference….
    Sauerkraut is from the German for “sour cabbage.”

    Traditionally sauerkraut is made with cabbage but other vegetables are sometimes added, along with spices (another translation for kraut is herb). The taste was probably accomplished by pickling the beets in a similar fashion.

    All this talk about food makes me hungry for some schnitzel and spƤtzle!!

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  6. OMG … my husband is Polish so all this food looks familiar. They do the big Christmas Eve dinner (starting with soup!!) and fish dishes. My MIL makes the traditional Polish cheesecake, poppyseed cake (like the one served at your husband’s grandmother’s home), the berry sauce …. and I think those potatoes might be kopytka? They are soft potato dumplings …. MMM. My favourite Polish dish is fruit perogies – delish!

    My MIL has also told me about the Day of the Dead in Warsaw, where she grew up – she would love to send us to Poland in November just to see if for ourselves!

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  7. I think that the sauerkraut was just red cabbage. Red cabbage is a traditional Eastern European dish that is made similar to sauerkraut…but isn’t the exact same. You can get it in cans here in the U.S.

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  8. Your hair looks so light in that last picture! Did you redye it, or has it just faded that much?

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  9. Love the picture of you and TH at the end – he looks so chipper and happy for that early in the morning… Welcome back to the states!

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  10. the food looks so good! yum!

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  11. Love these Poland posts, although it’s been a real eye-opener as far as food goes for me. That last picture is awesome :)

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  12. Kristin,
    You and I can totally be friends! I love schnitzel and spatzle!!!! I sorta wish I had the German keyboard for that to be spelled right. Though, I wasn’t too excited about the “Y” and “Z” being swapped.

    Food seems to be so similar to what they have in Germany. As has been said, sauerkraut is sour cabbage and the red version of this particular grocery item is called “Rotkohl”, or red cabbage. Beets can also be used for it. I really like both. Especially with a good wurst. Hmmmmm. I’ve just had lunch and I’m already starving for dinner.

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  13. I’ve really enjoyed your Christmas recaps! The food looks amazing!

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  14. That food looks great… although you are braver than I would have been with the mushroom soup! I’m the same way with mushroom texture…. ick.

    I kind of giggle thinking of you whipping out your camera every time TH’s grandmother sets down another course :-) Does TH tell them you are a blogger, or does he just tell them that you always photograph your food? (I was adamant about photographing our yummy food on our honeymoon, but I often felt silly!)

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  15. I love that you are doing genealogy for TH’s family! I really like his glasses.
    Tell TH that I always type out his name but then remember to go back and change it to TH because I am such a great SIL.

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      I'm a farm-raised almost-crunchy stroller-pushing picture-taking lifestyle-blog-writing gastronomy-obsessed divine-seeking thrift-store-combing cheese-inhaling pavement-pounding laughter-sprinkling lover of individuality and taking chances.
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