Sitting in the kitchen: December, part 1

Merry Christmas
Myspace and Orkut Comments from www.webpagecollection.com

This is late in the night and I’m sitting in my kitchen, waiting for the apple crumble. The strong smell is all around me and is adorable and extremely cosy. That is wintertime I like most! And I can hear the voice of the train from the other shore of the river. I love to hear a train through a night hours. ( I guess I will wake up at midday). I am an owl person all my life. Yesterday we experienced something really rare here, I mean a hurricaine. The name of it is Barbara, although it seems like it is gone by now. In Warsaw, where I live, it was very strong, very annoying and it was heavy rainy, in addition. Unluckily, I was outside while rain started to fall. It was very short and very heavy rain. The five minutes it was enough to leave me completely wet, my shoes were also wet as well, so this is even weird I have not a flu today.
So, Christmas is over, but we still have the Christmas season in some sense and I am going to tell you about a Christmasy food, here in Poland. Thus, the first issue is the carp’s problem. I don’t know about other countries, but here is the custom – and perhaps the religious rule – that during a Christmas Eve we should not eat a meat. In Poland Christmas Holidays begin at 24 December, in a Christmas Eve, unlike f.ex. in the UK, where people start with that at 25 December in the morning. Here is also popular to “wait until the first star will visible onto the sky” – you cannot eat before. In my home we are not in the habit of waiting for the first star, although we eat a carp. ( I eat meat, but not much and not often). A carp is a must in Poland for this time! The problem is that some people have been killing these fishes by themselves ( stupid and cruel ritual, not connected with religion). You can easily buy living carp in every supermarket before Christmas and they always have these creepy customers. I do condemn it and cannot imagine this idiotic custom in my household. We usually are buying fillets and I bake a casserrole with leaks, beer and cream. This casserrole is my own idea, the traditional way is to make it on a frying pan with breeding. I remember the interesting idea of some wildlife defenders here… They went to the market and bought all of those carps, then they did let loose them to the ponds next to this market.I was very surprised before I had known about this event, because I was observing that the shores of those ponds are overcrowded by aglers… I was wondering what is going on. Looks like aglers have another point of view. C’est la vie!
Well,I see my crumble is ready ! The next part is coming soon ( on bortsch, animals speaking with human’s voices, Vienna Apfelstrudel my grandmother did, and pierogies filled with cabbage and wood mushrooms ).

One boar open sleigh

chelmonski-kuropatwy

J. Chełmoński ” Kuropatwy na śniegu” source -flickr.com

 

No snow this year.

I think we should forget  the old times and white Christmas, because we already have not been having snow for several years. Seems like we will travel to the mountains in the future, while we will want to see how does it look … That wind from the North Pole did not come. As you have known from my older post, I was expecting it because of the weather report, which turned out to be not true and rain was falling all the time, instead of freeze. And I saw the boar! ( And I saw  him again!). He was very massive, similar for a mammoth! Very similar for a mammoth! ( Please, believe me guys, because I am not kidding and this is true)… The fur on the top of him was sticking up, so I guess he  was frightened ( really not good). In my opinion, it was rather old, male wild- boar, who is accustomed to walk alone. I noticed him late in the evening, or in the night even, it was about midnight… Last Monday or Tuesday – it does not matter… The matter is that he feels good here, very good I see, and it looks like he will visit my close neighbourhood very often. He simply likes us… He is like a mammoth! From the other side, is quite friendly and calm. He was running not so fast, from the spot where our post office is, and it is next to the park… Not so fast, along the kindergarten fence, and, believe me, the sight is very unusual, both like a dream and really livening up! He passed by close to us and I am still alive and my silly dog too. ( She started woofing a minute later, and luckily while he was closer was staring at him only). Once you meet a boar you feel yourself as a primeval human – like a member of the Flinstones family at least! Then I heard loudy screaming… Men were screaming ” Dzik! Dzik!” ( it means boar in Polish). It was from that place he was running to. They were really scared, and later one woman told me, that these boars are in the habit of wandering here also in the morning. Good for snapping some photos, although I cannot promise for sure… Ha, ha! Wild – boar!

Well, guys, while Christmas is ending it is still not too late to say Merry Christmas everyone! I planned this post to be on Polish Christmasy customs and I know I  keep you hanging on, but I must told you about boar first. Picture a wild boar, who is in a Santa sleigh instead of a reindeers. He is stopping next to you and speaks with human voice: ” Ho- ho! Merry Christmas, dear!”. I am not big on Polish traditions, to be frank… I might tell tou rather more about my grandma kitchen, which was with strong Austrian influences. She had plastic Christmas tree from Vienna and all the furnitures were from Vienna, too… Tomorrow I ‘ll be back with that!

falat-rzeka

J. Fałat Winter Landscape source : przewodnicypokrakowie.pl

 

P.S. If you are new on here, and you are not afraid of a boar you might like this story, and also that story. Enjoy!

Medieval Cracow # 1

Hi, everyone! We are already transported to another era, and right now we are standing at Rynek Główny in  medieval Kraków. The video here above is from XXI century, I brought it to you, because I found the video absolutely worthseeing. Don’t worry, that is in Polish only! I will tell you the same things in this post and in my next posts about medieval Cracow. I highly recommend to watch it, because of the sights of the interior of St. Mary’s Basilica ( The Mariacki Church).

Time, we are actually living in, is XIV century, and Mariacki Church is a new temple, built on the foundations of a former temple. It was a Romanesque church, destroyed during one of the Tartar’s invasions. Mariacki Church is in late Gothic style, and is most known from the Altar by Wit Stwosz ( Veit Stoss) – the Altar is very famous as a masterpiece of European Gothic art. ( I will post my next story on it). In the video you may also see a man, who is playing beautiful  bugle- call in one of the Basilica’s towers. This is Hejnał, as far as I’m concerned Hejnał is something like the national anthem, but is much older. Every day at midday you can hear it, if you are at Rynek ( Main Marketplace), and also by Polish Radio. I remember as a kid I was a massive lover of Hejnał from radio… Hejnał is ending too fast and randomly. This is the neverending tribute for a man, who died while  he was playing, asassinated from Tartar’s arrow. It is ending in the moment he died so long time ago, but we still remember. ( Another muslim attack in Europe).

Thus, I leave you with it, because I want you to watch the video, so I should not write too much. The next post will Christmasy, and then we will back in XIV century for more.

This is a drawing of Cracow from famous old book by Hartman Schedl ” Nuremberg Chronicle”, 1493.

 

medieval-cracow

Wikimedia Foundation

 

Wind from the North Pole is coming

24a_00054

I have seen the weather report and they said that! Air from the North Pole is just around the corner… This time we use to say that Christmas is just around the corner, or, you know, Santa Claus is just around the corner, but it seems like freezy wind is coming first… I have already got is today, here in Warsaw. Such chilly weather! I went strolling with my lovely dog and I have absolutely enough… They said in tv that this week every next day will be much colder, and look, today  is Monday! I don’t want even think about Friday or Saturday… Spooky! They said that in Friday the temperature will -15, but I hope not in Warsaw. ( Here in Poland the place where the temperature is always lower is north-eastern Poland, that means Masuria and The Białowieża Wood, and the town Suwałki. And while someone has been said ” Minus 20 is coming!” a popular answer is : ” It must be about Suwałki, calm down!” )

I have been in Suwałki one time and a several years ago. In July – was cold, as well.

We are in the anticipation of Christmas and I already finished my book about Mariacki Church in Kraków, so my next post will on it. I was thinking about this site and I have decided to write more about Polish heritage,art, history and about my old dream of being transported to another era. (And also about houses, but rather modern houses and interiors). Imagine, you are in Cracow for the winter trip and snow is deeper and deeper and then you are in another era… Seems like in the Middle Ages. In the Middle Ages in Kraków, in the Main Square! See you there next time….