Saturday, May 31, 2014

Cooking in Poznan, Poland

We lived in Poznan, Poland from 1979-1981.  We arrived at post with 17 month old Courtney, five cats and a dog.

When we first got to Poland, we arrived in Warsaw to check in at the embassy.   I know we stayed in a small apartment there, but really don't remember much of anything about it.  It had a kitchen I am sure, but it left no impression on me at all.

When we got to Poznan- west of Warsaw, we were put into a "transient apartment" on the third floor of the US Consulate building.  There were offices in the basement, and the main floor.  There was another foreign service family living in the apartment on the second floor (the first floor by European standards). The apartment we lived in for six weeks was on the third floor.  And it was a walk up.

I had to walk the dog at least three times a day going up and down all of those stairs.  I had a backpack that Courtney rode in.   Needless to say, I was very thin!

It was a small apartment with two bedrooms I think (we only used one), one bathroom, a kitchen, living room/ dining room combination.  I am pretty sure we did not have a TV.

The apartment that was designated as our permanent home was having work done and so it was not ready for us yet.

Since I have been writing about kitchens, I will try to conjure up images to convey.  I kind of picture a small table in the kitchen.   The dishes and kitchen appliances were supplied, and stayed with the place when we moved on.   There was a strange, (to me) new kind of Italian coffee pot.  I figured out how to put the ingredients in, cook it on the stove, and pour out coffee.   Not too bad as I recall.

When we lived in Poland, it was still a Soviet dominated communist country.  There were shortages of just about everything- including meat.   The US Consulate had an arrangement where we bought our meat from a hospital supplier.   I had a list of types of meat, like shinke which is pork, or polendvetsa, which is a long roll of beef that can be cut into different types of meals.    I have the meat lists still and when I look for them, I will be able to write the information down correctly.

At any rate, I would check off on a list (in Polish) the meat I wanted and the amount.  Sometimes you actually got what you ordered.  You never knew until you took the parcel into the kitchen and unwrapped it.

One time we got a big, white sausage.  I decided to boil it in water as the main course of our meal.  I remember poking it with a sharp knife to see if it seemed done.  What I had not realized was that the casing held in all of the juices, and the boiling made it swell up.  So, when I poked it, a huge geyser of hot,sausage water shot up into the air and made an arc across the kitchen.  It is amazing nobody got hurt- especially little toddler Courtney.     It was a pretty ugly piece of meat no matter how it was cooked, but we all tried it.  On another occasion I had received a large piece of beef in my weekly meat order.  Since we had our cats and dog running around the apartment, I couldn't leave meat out on the kitchen counters.   I put this big roast inside one of the cupboards, and forgot about it for a little while.  When I went into the kitchen later, there was a puddle of bright red blood on the kitchen floor.  I thought something terrible has happened to one of the cats.  No, the roast had "leaked" blood out through the closed cupboard door, onto the counter top and onto the floor.  It really looked like a a murder scene!

I think that's enough for tonight.  I will write about the kitchen in our permanent apartment next time I write about kitchens.

Maybe after I finish all of the kitchens, I will start writing about bathrooms.  All of the places we have lived have had interesting and unique bathrooms!

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