This past fall I finally made it to the homeland – Poland. Although Duolingo only helped me learn Polish phrases like “The horse wants to eat the apple,” (fucking useless) I was unprepared for communication, yet so excited to finally experience the country that my grandparents came from. Pierogies, kielbasa and cabbage rolls became favourite treats of my mine and my brother’s growing up as my dad and aunts would introduce us to foods from their childhoods. So it only seemed appropriate to hit the motherland when the little broski was over to visit.
I booked a too small Airbnb to share with my brother and my partner. Online it looked nice and quaint for three people, but after 24 hours tripping over each other I realised I had made a dire mistake. Luckily, due to a constant flow of carbs and beer, no one was murdered during that time.
We stayed in a more touristy part of Warsaw in Old Town, so I mentally prepared myself for more expensive and bland food. But my worries were quickly diminished as pierogi “dumpling” shops were on every corner. I ate pierogies for approximately 5 meals in our 4-day stay. And to this day, the only regret I have is not having them a 6th time. In Warsaw, people hand out flyers for pierogi joints like people hand out cards for escorts in Vegas. And let me tell you… I was buying what they were selling. On our first day, we stumbled upon a quaint little restaurant called Zapiecek. Their flyers promised that sweet little cherub-faced grandmas were making little dumplings in the back, and that is all I want, are polish grandmas crafting me little pockets of savoury heaven. And THEY DELIVERED. (Learning corner, grandma is Polish is Babcia. This is no thanks to Duolingo.)
Okay, these places give you a lot of options to make decisions on while bored teenaged waiters look on in their traditional-for-tourist garb. Here is how you do it, pick those delicious dumplings you want. My favourite, sauerkraut with beef – any option with sauerkraut really. Hell yes. And you order those babies FRIED instead of boiled – we aren’t on a diet here, we’re on VACATION. Get those tiny sachets of fucking bliss covered with butter and oil and browned on the outside.
As someone who is lactose-intolerant, and was like, maybe I shouldn’t fill my mouth with dairy on my first day of holidays (also, tiny Airbnb = shared bathroom)… I went for the unknown gravy option instead of the familiar sour cream, not fully understanding what it was. BUT THE GODS WERE ON MY SIDE. I can’t fully explain what it was. The best I can do to describe it, is it was a bacon, onion and oil concoction that you pour over your fried heaven pockets.
I still daydream of these pierogies daily and pray to the carb gods that Brexit won’t now mean extortionate flights to European countries. I will personally hold all those who voted leave responsible if I can’t afford to put this goodness in my mouth again. I don’t mean to get political, but you should have known better than to mess with a hungry Canadian.
Tyskie beer, the beer of Poland that’s cheaper than water. It also goes down as smooth as water, enhances that dumpling flavour all while making your travel companions 75% less annoying. (Remember, small quarters. Alcohol helps.)