Sunday, January 02, 2011

Polish Chrimbo Part 2 - Ging It On

Tis the season to eat too much,
Tra la la la la la la la la la.

So, I love the concepts of Christianity. You have 7 deadly sins. These are pretty much the rules for life. All sounds pretty simple. The currently recognised version of the list is usually given as: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.

Yet it all comes down to definitions really, doesn't it? As I can't imagine a "most holy time" as Christmas without almost all of sins turning up as well:

º
Wrath over a bad present or the Carp not being cooked properly
º
Greed over too many presents and too much chocolate that isn't shared
º
Sloth after eating far too much or after drinking too much
º
Pride over your present being the best or gingerbread house being awesome
º Lust, well, when you are newly married to a beautiful princess that is easy
º Envy when the socks someone else gets are cooler than yours
º
Gluttony, well, this is the main point of my sermon today. To me, the boundaries of gluttony are pushed to their limits across all religions on major holidays.

Polish Christmas tradition says:

-That Santa Claus, Father Christmas or as it is known here Saint Nicholas (Mikołaj) is celebrated on the 6th of December rather than the 24/25th. It is now more a children's day than a day for all ages. So children normally love Decemeber
-People bake a Piernik (Gingerbread) cake
, we decided that gingerbread houses are better
-Trees are decorated on Christmas Eve

This year I chose to shovel snow rather than display my lack of interior design skills
Even if Australia did meet Poland.
And we were able to cheese it up.
I really needed a nice dark beer to get me through after I had ventured through the winterwonderland outside.

The other traditions are:
-A Christmas Dinner, called Wigilia, on Christmas Eve each individual is given an
Opłatki, which is a wafer that is broken off by others and wishes are shared between the holders and the wafer consumed
-Wiglia is celebrated in many houses with 12 dishes or 13 depending on which part of the country you are from. In this meal, there is to be no red meat, even though the church has recently changed their attitude on this, therefore there tends to be only fish, salads, soups, breads and of course lots of sweeties.

In some houses in Poland, they will count water, bread, drinks and even salt and pepper as a dish. I, being someone who loves to cook, feel that this is being extremely lazy. So after shoveling snow for about 1.5 hours, I dashed inside to start the eve(ning's) meal. We had 13 dishes if you exclude desert, drinks, and lump herring into "one" dish, even though it was multiple styles:


º Carp (Roasted with stuffing)
º Salmon (Roasted with herbs)
º Trout (Roasted with butter and herbs)
º Fried Tilapia

º Herring in four forms, with raisins, in linseed oil, "Kasubian" style with tomatoes, and in a salad with beetroot

º Roasted spicy potatoes
º Potato mash with dill
º Tortellini Salad
º Boiled Vegetable Salad (nicer than it sounds)
º Green Salad
º Barszcz (beetroot soup with Uszka)
º Deep fried cabbage and mushroom pierogi
º Jellied Carp

Outside what I considered the main meal are:

º Chocolate cake with plums
º Gingerbread Castle
º Kompot

The table laid ready
Kompot served and you can see the roasted Carp followed by the herring and beetroot saladThe room before the guests arrivedAnd with guests.
Everyone is having a great time.There are hugs for all.While some of us just look plain mischievious.

So if you look at it as a whole, it was really a greatly diverse dinner and lovely to eat and share. It is funny though that everyone comes with huge appetites but because everyone wants to try everything, they don't actually eat a lot. For the reference of those interested, the most popular were the deep friend pierogi, the fried fish, the kompot and luckily, the gingerbread house.

When it comes to Gingerbread castles you will find:
That a castlePlus Belarussian mead (thanks big Uncle Tomek) equals........
Warsaw circa 1945! I think I just solved the riddle of WWII!!
The facts are however, that no matter how well dressed we all are, the work continues.
Unless it all has been too much of course......

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