Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmas in Poland!

In times past and today, for Poles, Christmas Eve was/is a time of family gathering and reconciliation. More so in the past, it was also a night of magic: Animals are said to talk in a human voice and people have the power to tell the future. The belief was born with our ancestors who claimed that Dec. 24 was a day to mark the beginning of a new era. It was bolstered by sayings such as, "As goes Christmas Eve, goes the year." Hoping for a good 12 months, everyone was polite and generous to one another and forgave past grievances.

Today, few treat the old traditions seriously, but some survive as family fun. "Maidens" interested in their marital future and older people, who try to predict next year's weather based on the sky's aura between Christmas Eve and Twelfth Night (Jan. 6), sometimes cling to past 'pagan in nature' superstitions. Some Scandinavian cultures have a similar pagan past.


Today, Wigilia (vee-GEEL-yah), which literally means "vigil," or waiting for the birth of Baby Jesus, is considered more important than Christmas Day itself. When I lived in Poland, I celebrated with my family who live in Silesia. Which has a somewhat different tradition that other regions in Poland. Yet, in all Poland, the custom of gifts given to children happens on St. Nicholas Day Dec. 6.  

Are there presents given on Christmas Eve? Yes, but not on Christmas Day, there is no Santa Claus coming in through the chimney. So, who is responsible for the gifts received on Christmas Eve? In Silesia, the lesser region, where I celebrated Wigilia, it was/is the baby Jesus or his messenger, a small angel, that brings the presents and, since they are invisible, their presence is signaled by the ringing of a bell. The children are supposed to remain silent during Christmas Eve dinner so that the gift givers would not be afraid to enter the house.

Now, in greater Poland, where my grandmother's family was/is from the tradition is a bit different.  In the region of Greater Poland ( Wielkopolska, Poznań ) the Starman (a man with a gwiazdor (star) gives the gifts to the children. The Starman is not as jovial and kind as St. Nicholas -- he first threatens the children with a beating with a wooden birch, but then relents and opens a sack of presents to be passed around. The tradition of the Starman is very old indeed. It is speculated it came to Poland from Germany through the so-called Weihnachtsmann.


In Silesia, the Christmas Eve dinner is splendid.  Poles enjoy more than a few courses. Beginning with two kinds of soup.  First, was chicken soup called Rosol or a mushroom soup with small square pasta, and then followed by beet root soup with small pierogi filled with mushrooms. This was followed by two kinds of pierogi: Russian (potato/onion) and mushroom. Once that course finished, we were served fried fish (Carp) with fried mushrooms (dried and reconstituted). Also, on the table was a sweet bread to go with fish 'meatballs',  and there was fish in gelatin, and even herring in olive oil with fresh lemon slices and black pepper corns. Besides the fish meatballs, what I also found to be very good was a hot succotash of cabbage with chick peas/lima beans. The Christmas Eve beverage was a smoked fruit compote (warm punch/juice). For desert there was fruit and nut cheesecake and a poppy seed porridge with nuts and raisins.

Believe me, this was very strange to me the first time I experienced Wigilia - Christmas Eve dinner in Poland. However, the beauty of it soon came into my heart and has stayed in my heart ever since. It is the anticipation of the Christ, the Holy Spirit the Son of God's arrival on earth that is truly profound and found in the Polish Christmas celebration. 

Most Poles go to Midnight Mass called Pasterka, "the Mass of the Shepherds" to commemorate the shepherds who were the first to greet the newborn baby Jesus.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Show Around the House!

When I was in Poland, I was very welcomed. It was amazing to me to be surrounded by all like minded people, all celebrating the same traditions, all sharing the same history, food, language. It is language that is the key to understanding the Polish heart, mind and soul. That is why, Poles encourage all newbies to learn their language. It is their way of 'showing around their house'. In language, is the history, the traditions, the religion, the food like good bread all of which provide a Polish view of the world. There is nothing wrong with that. It is their view and that makes them who they are and are not.

Why should they be what and who they are not? Is it the idea of someone outside of their reality who thinks better than they do. Yes, believe it or not. This is what most people west of the Oder River think. It is the politically correct high minded liberal from the west who comfortably resides and proclaims his/her view of the world to be the right view as if mixing people up is a way to preserve diversity. Such people not only criticize anyone on the other side of that river but anyone who does not agree with them and their world view for today and tomorrow; and, especially their view of world history.

In order to build a more perfect world according to such people, everyone must be like them. Everyone must appreciate their ideas and that means the same ideas of how the world began and where it is going - idea of one world, with one kind of people... the kind that sacrifice their distinct identity for a larger one. Poland was liberated from that years ago when the Soviet Union collapsed. Poles now just want to be who they are, not conform to who they are not which does not suggest intolerance; just integration to be as Polish as possible.

It doesn't sound so bad, after all a world order demands integration which is thought can resolve all conflict in the world. Poles are not out to conform to the world, nor are they out to invade and conquer, nor to control others in order to make others like them. But, if you visit, they will invite you in and show you around their house. And, if you decide to stay or not, you will love their bread.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Poland is turning in ~ what does that mean?

Poland is for Poles. Why not? It is their country after all; Poles do speak Polish and are largely Christian. They teach religion in public school. When Poland entered the EU in 2004, there were mixed feelings. Some saw dollars signs and some saw a threat to what it means to be Polish. It is mostly a white country; yet, in the capital of Warsaw you can see more and more different colors. Is it easy to be Polish? No, and its not easy not to be Polish. Poles correct themselves on language and history and everything else that is Polish. Being there, was/is like being submerged, embraced and saturated in Polishness. Was/is that bad? No, not really. Its like jumping into your favorite desert which you never get tired of doing. Could it be bad? Maybe, as long as you don't eat too much and the quality of Polishness remains... it will always be good pudding.

Critics namely, progressives, think that Poland is turning inward. They say that Poles don't like or want change. Why does Poland have to change? Or, why does Poland have to become 'not Polish'?  Progressives worship change and think that it is better than staying where or what you are. They think change is better and yet they can't say why change is better. Where does this idea 'that change is better' come from? It comes from the communist dialetic. As long as we are changing to become what 'progressives' those at the top can control then we are 'good' as in headed toward their ideal world. Have you noticed that communist societies when they reach that ideal they never change anymore (Karl Mannheim observed that); and, why should they, right?  They have arrived at paradise or at least are talking about it and idealizing over it they feel as if they are there. But, in most cases, they never arrive. When the rose colored glasses come off, they see a ruin of society that has lost its identity and morality.

Hopefully, the Poles have not swallowed the progressive lie. God help them if they do.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

What of immigration in Poland???

A long time ago, in eastern Europe to the time of the per-partition society of Poland-Lithuania, one could observe a multi-cultural climate existing quite well. The cultural variety of Old Polish society encouraged a number of specific attitudes. It prepared the ground for universal tolerance, at least for practical toleration and cross fertilization (Davis N. 1984: 316-17) . It was not happening among the elite land owners, landlords but in and among common people, poor people.

Hence, this multiculturalism was not orchestrated from the top down but rather from the grass roots up by local people living themselves living locally as in the same place. But, as nations began to develop in the mind of elites and intelligentsia, who in positions or given positions to order 'national' view of society, stricter control over borders became the norm not only geographically but culturally and economically. Even so, up until the late 1700s at the local level diversity existed, what unified this diversity among local people was simple...they were all in the same boat- poor peasants. In saying that, many popular scholars have stated that nationalism in a sense is a means to control any natural exchanges of diversity. Why control? Because, largely those who have power and prestige don't want to lose it.

Looking at what is happening today, we can say the same. Many countries are faced with waves of immigrants and elites are scrambling to consider how to make the most of it. Poland as well. What about the concept of diversity? Good question. Poland is a sovereign country. Its history written by its heroes many fought for Christendom. Poland today is a Christian country. Though already mentioned as having a multicultural heritage, Poland's elites controlled by the organized church in Rome were encouraged to build a sovereign Christian nation through intermarriage with the rest of Christian Europe.

Though it can be seen as a negative for furthering multiculturalism it was seen as necessary for Europe to form a solidarity through Christianity. Poland in fact was once considered the last stronghold of Christianity. Poland endured Muslim, Mongol and Turk invasions. And these events along with the fact that Christian Poland endured Soviet Communism have shaped their socio-cultural and socio-historical identity as a a people.

Though some may disagree and naively wish for multiculturalism, this must be respected as we respect others for theirs.  In that, we cannot expect to put a lion and a bear or a python and a mouse into the same area. Each animal has its own created identity and function in its place. Destroying that identity and function so that the bear and lion can live in the same place destroys what they have become and are. Not that Poland is a lion and any other group a bear or that Poland is a python and any other group is a mouse or even visa versa. The point is to show that each creation 'group/animal' has its own specific character, its own identity and in that there is built in a nobility regarding purpose. Though when one is put in with - over and above the other; the nobility as in purity of their 'kind' disappears in an unfortunate man made juxtaposition of justice. That's not diversity.

* The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands... From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and reach out for him and find him... Acts 17:24 as he draws them to him while in their place..."No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him... but I when lifted up from the earth will draw all men to myself." John 6:44, John 12:32

The peace of being Polish is in being Polish in a place determined by God... and this is everyone's peace in their place.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Warsaw Ghetto ~ Fear and Terror in the Social Imagination

I lived in Warsaw Poland for more than ten years. When I arrived in the late 90s, I was surprised to see so much residue of WWII.  I first started my higher education program at Stazic Palace; I was surprised to still see bullet holes in the steps of my university and on the iron fences and walls throughout the city.

During my studies, I went to Sobibor Poland where one of the Nazi extermination camps was located. There I met Tovi Blatt a camp survivor. It was horrifying to listen to him speak about the Nazi atrocities standing together at the same train platform. Today, the once Nazi terror site in Sobibor is a beautiful woods and hardly imaginable as a death camp.

The city of Warsaw, the capital of Poland, flanks both banks of the Wisla River. A city of 1.3 million inhabitants, Warsaw was the capital of the resurrected Polish state in 1919. Before World War II, the city was a major center of Jewish life and culture in Poland. Warsaw's prewar Jewish population of more than 350,000 constituted about 30 percent of the city's total population. The Warsaw Jewish community was the largest in both Poland and Europe, and was the second largest in the world, second only to New York City.

Following the Nazi German invasion of Poland on 31 August 1939, the Nazi German “Blitzkrieg” swept through Poland, and reached the southern and western parts of the city on 8 and 9 September 1939. Within a few days (until 28 September) the Nazi Germans had surrounded the city from all sides, and launched deadly air attacks, and artillery shelling, which caused heavy damage to buildings, and significant loss of life. 
Less than a week later, Nazi German officials ordered the establishment of a Jewish council (Judenrat) under the leadership of a Jewish engineer named Adam Czerniaków. 

As chairman of the Jewish council, Czerniaków had to administer the soon-to-be established ghetto and to implement Nazi German orders. On November 23, 1939, Nazi German civilian occupation authorities required Warsaw's Jews to identify themselves by wearing white armbands with a blue Star of David. The Nazi German authorities closed Jewish schools, confiscated Jewish-owned property, and conscripted Jewish men into forced labor and dissolved prewar Jewish organizations.

On October 12, 1940, the Nazi Germans decreed the establishment of a ghetto in Warsaw. The decree required all Jewish residents of Warsaw to move into a designated area, which Nazi German authorities sealed off from the rest of the city in November 1940. The ghetto was enclosed by a wall that was over 10 feet high, topped with barbed wire, and closely guarded to prevent movement between the ghetto and the rest of Warsaw. Not only were there Polish Jews, but many Jews from Germany and Denmark were sent to Warsaw and or to Nazi camps in Poland. The population of the ghetto, increased by Jews compelled to move in from nearby towns, was estimated to be over 400,000 Jews. 

Nazi German authorities forced ghetto residents to live in an area of 1.3 square miles, with an average of 7.2 persons per room. Food allotments rationed to the ghetto by the Nazi German civilian authorities were not sufficient to sustain life. In 1941 the average Jew in the ghetto subsisted on 1,125 calories a day. Czerniaków wrote in his diary entry for May 8, 1941: “Children starving to death.” Between 1940 and mid-1942, 83,000 Jews died of starvation and disease. 
In January 1943, SS and police units returned to Warsaw, this time with the intent of deporting thousands of the remaining approximately 70,000-80,000 Jews in the ghetto to forced-labor camps for Jews in Lublin District of the Government General. On April 19, 1943, a new SS and police force appeared outside the ghetto walls, intending to liquidate the ghetto and deport the remaining inhabitants to the forced labor camps in Lublin district. For months after the liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto, individual Jews continued to hide themselves in the ruins and, on occasion, attacked Nazi German police officials on patrol. Perhaps as many as 20,000 Warsaw Jews continued to live in hiding on the so-called Aryan side of Warsaw after the liquidation of the ghetto. 

On August 1, 1944, the Polish Home Army (Armia Krajowa; AK), a non-Communist underground resistance army with units stationed throughout Nazi German-occupied Poland, rose against the Nazi German occupation authorities in an effort to liberate Warsaw. The impetus for the uprising was the appearance of Soviet forces along the east bank of the Wisla River. The Soviets failed to intervene; the Nazi Germans eventually crushed the revolt and razed the center of the city to the ground in October 1944. Though they treated captured Home Army combatants as prisoners of war, the Nazi Germans sent thousands of captured Polish civilians to concentration camps in the Reich. 166,000 people lost their lives in the uprising, including perhaps as many as 17,000 Polish Jews who had either fought with the AK or had been discovered in hiding. 

When Soviet troops resumed their offensive on January 17, 1945, they liberated a devastated Warsaw. According to Polish data, only about 174,000 people were left in the city, less than six per cent of the prewar population. Approximately 11,500 of the survivors were Jews. 


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

America Should Go the way of Polish School Lunches!

In Poland, kids at school from pre-school through high school get hot lunches and its not pizza. They get a balanced meal and in two courses: soup, followed by meat with potatoes, rice, or pasta plus a side of fresh cooked vegetables including beets and or a simple leafy green salad.

These meals are made at the schools and made fresh everyday. And, if your child cannot eat any of those food items, you send what he/she can have. The school does not cater to a few. Sounds harsh. Its practical and affordable by all.

Why not in America? If a society does not appreciate a home cooked meal over fast food, then its parents won't and neither will their children. Most schools in America serve pizza, hamburgers and fries or on the 'healthy side' mashed potatoes from the box with green beans from can and throw in an apple (or a dab of  applesauce) to make it appear as if they are trying. The rationale for junk food at school is that this is what kids want and will eat.

So, sad this is what we have come to. Make chicken soup and see the delight in your child's eyes that you care. Have them take some to school and let others see how much you care. Maybe their moms as well as teachers and administrators will be encouraged and do the same. The next thing you know, hot lunches will be as good as lunches in Poland!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Plums in Poland

This time of year, plums abound. I love a fresh gooey plum cobbler or plum dumplings. In many a backyard garden, plum trees are fully of heavy ripe fruit. I just loved to go on a walkabout and pick plums from the paths where they fell and made themselves readily available to the passing public. Or, wait for a family member to pick from their tree and make dumplings which are best served with a heavy cream sauce on the side and sprinkle of sugar.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Surprised and Not Surprised When in Poland

Just back from Wisla!

I love Polish Mountains and though Wisla is not as high in terms of elevation as Tatry, they are beautiful, peaceful and truly Polish. I read fancy articles that talk about Poland's transformation and I can agree a lot has changed due to foreign investment and EU membership but somethings just don't change in Poland and in Polish hearts and minds especially in Polish Mountains. Its all about being Polish. I wish more countries in the world including this one would take note that cultural homogeneity is a good thing.

Of course, there is always the good, bad and ugly of that kind of homogeneity but so is there more within a diverse mixed up culture where people pass each other smiling as if they understand something exists between on a very deep level... and it does not. It could not and they know it. Yet, they keep smiling because they think it helps to curb that pain of difference and it does to a certain degree. They keep smiling because of the agreed upon social contract which means that each one has the right to pursue his/her own happiness. Which sadly has nothing to do with securing the happiness of someone else and this is what gets lost in their pursuit. When it is realized, there is nothing that can be done about it in a diverse culture there is no means to truly secure one's own happiness among so many different views of happiness.

What is Polish happiness? Family first (Polish mothers) and foremost, followed by good bread, and good friends together celebrating being Polish. Being together, being in the same soup, being in the same place, enjoying the good bread, and some bad and some ugly.  By having the good, one is not afraid of the bad and the ugly because today we have good bread ~ today, "we are Polish and tomorrow we will be too".

What is good? - Bread! What is bad? - Driving way too fast for conditions and people selling mushrooms or blueberries on the road side and taking way too crowded slow trains! What is ugly? -  smelly crowded trains, trams and buses, nails popping up on the swimming deck, holes in the swimming deck, drunks pissing themselves in front of you, Poles always being right and getting their way if you let them dictate and they will, hoping for short lines everywhere you go....

...hoping that they will finally ban post office workers who slam down their stamp like a gavel and of course the dog shit and empty plastic water bottles just about everywhere. They don't and won't print this in the travel magazines...

But hey, I love Poland because its Polish and I am part Polish. In saying that, there is great comfort in such belonging.... like nowhere else in the world on this 'globe' the earth!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Poland ~ What Poles are Passionate About

Poles are passionate people about family and their identity. At least that is how I remember Poland. It has been awhile since I lived there. I visit from time to time, but visiting is not the same. You have to live that reality... being Polish. My first impression was that everyone was a clone, mostly dressing the same, having the same names, eating the same food, remembering events the same way. Americans don't do that... not really. We remember things differently and are proud of our individualism, our relativistic point of view.

We don't bond with each other the same way Poles do and I miss that. Here, I don't feel or think I can say that I know my neighbor. I don't know what they are doing, eating, thinking. Poles know and I hope still have that wonderful privilege ~ that Polish closeness, which forgives, which loves even the unloved, the hater and the beggar because they are Polish.

My grandmother was Polish. Her family came from Znin. They left Poland when it was not Poland. It was Prussia, divided by 3 occupants: Russia, Prussia and Austro-Hungarian empire. Yet, Poles never lost the sense of who they were and what they were about. Largely held together by language, faith and family.

Poland became Poland again after WWI and then it was lost again after WWII. Not too many people know that Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt caused that to happen. Poland survived being a communist country and you might even hear some people who were born and raised in that reality say they miss it. What they probably miss is the closer Polishness they had during those harsh times which allowed them to survive and retain their identity.

I hope that Poland can retain its identity in this ever growing global reality where people will be made the same by commercialism, politics and economics.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Polish Easter Tradition

Pisanki: An Ancient Art of Hope and Life

by Lorraine Grochowska-Kiefer

Although the ancient European art of "Pisanki" has become very closely associated with Easter, it first came about more than 2000 years ago when people realized the connection between the egg and spring. (Our chickens always lay many more eggs in spring, when the daylight hours are long, than in fall and winter). After the dark, cold, and death of winter, the egg symbolized rebirth or hope. Even then certain people used wax and natural dyes to decorate the eggs with meaningful symbols. There is also an old legend that says that every pisanki egg made will reinforce the chain that holds an old evil monster in the bowels of the earth.
The "chicken and rooster" were symbols of fertility and grain symbolized plenty or good harvest.
The much-loved sun that gave light and life was often shown on the egg and so was a green bough or bloom.

They used onion skins, buckwheat husks, campion, bark of the wild apple and the flower of the lilac for yellow. For red they used cochinel (a female scale insect), deer horn, sandlewood, or beets. Green came from sunflower seeds and berries of the wild alder. Sometimes hollyhock blooms were used for certain shades, as well as various other blooms, leaves and moss. Today, we buy our dyes for the most part, although one time we tried onion skins, beets and some berries. pisankiA thousand years later, when much of Eastern Europe had embraced Christianity, the eggs were still made and considered to be a Lenten project in Poland. They were often made with Easter symbols, as well as some of the natural ones. The sun became the symbol for rebirth.

Friday, February 27, 2015

A way of life I can understand

Not too many people think about living rural and rough which is true homesteading; not what we see on American television. Those people are just wanna be. I don't think that most could get along without a car, without heat and indoor plumbing. Most could get along without electricity but still they would rally behind the use of solar or wind and still think that they were roughing it. I consider myself and my son fortunate to have lived with people who had only a wood burning stove for heat, no indoor plumbing at all, no computer, no cell phone, and only one cow for making their own churned their own butter.

They lived with their animals, a kind of symbiotic relationship of giving and taking life. The made little or no impact on the earth and yet lived a full life. They had friends, family and celebrations when new ones were born and old ones died. They looked up at the stars and watched sunsets and sunrises. They washed in the nearby lake in warm weather and put on the Sunday best only when they went to church.

I ate without a doubt the best bread, butter, pierogi, cottage cheese, sour cream, eggs, sausages and soups ever when I was there, somewhere by Bug a place where we can still recognize that east meets west.

Monday, February 9, 2015

God's Playground ~ A History of Poland

Poland, where East Meets West

I think that Poland is truly the place where east meets west. Why? Because, we can find different world views meeting in a geographical location that means 'local' as in "I am from here, this place". In all my time spent there, I can tell you that it is true. For me the experience can only being compared to meeting a nearly utopian multicultural community; but only on the local level. Having conducted research on this very idea 'Localness', I learned that differences don't matter as much to people who live together in a place sharing in the same local experience ~ place.  Because of that, for me, everything east of Warsaw in Poland exists as a kind of supernatural experiment.
Norman Davis, wrote the book "God's Playground, a History of Poland", to provide a comprehensive survey of Polish history and to show Poland's importance in European history from medieval times to the present. Abandoning the traditional nationalist approach to Polish history, Norman Davies instead stresses the country's rich multinational heritage and places the development of the Jewish German, Ukrainian, and Lithuanian communities firmly within the Polish context. Davies emphasizes the cultural history of Poland through a presentation of extensive poetical, literary, and documentary texts in English translation. The chronological chapters of political narrative are interspersed with essays on religious, social, economic, constitutional, philosophical, and diplomatic themes.
Would Davis write the same looking at Poland today? As a sociologist, I would. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Polish Bread

I still need to talk about Polish bread. Why? Firstly, because it is so good. Secondly and most importantly, because it means something. It is not just a 'food' stuff. It is more than that because it is a symbol of community, it is a symbol of wholesomeness as in belonging to a group in a place. I speaking of the full loaves of bread which are nearly impossible to buy here in the States. What has happened to the baker? Sad, isn't it.  You see in Poland, you buy a loaf of bread... a whole 'wholesome' loaf of bread. You gather friends around you and break bread with them. Literally, you tear off a piece and pass it along. At least that was my fortunate experience in many places with friends while I was in Poland. I wish we shared bread like that here, maybe we would be better Americans.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Best Bread Ever!

When I lived in Poland, some of my friends went abroad to work. While there, they said that they missed and craved Polish bread. I could agree then that the bread in Poland was absolutely delicious; unlike any bread I ever ate in the States growing up which was pretty much "Wonder or Rainbow and Butternut" bread... if you recall the brands.  Funny, as a child, I thought bread was supposed to be gummy and sponge like. Glad I had the chance to eat real bread. I wish I could buy big rounds here but just can't find a baker. So, of course, now, that I am back in the US, I miss and crave Polish bread.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Poland is known for its apples

Poland does produce a lot of apples and they are delicious. According to a recent EU survey, they are now recognized by the European Union as being the biggest at producing apples.

I loved to take a drive in Poland, especially near Warsaw because one could drive by miles of apple trees growing in their perfect rows, humble in stature but robust in delivery. Poland also produces berries, such as  black and red currant. They make excellent jam or jelly as well as syrup and schnapps. As for vegetable crops one would notice immediately potatoes and cabbage, staples in the Polish diet. When in Poland, you have to try Bigos, a cabbage stew like dish with pork, mushrooms and even dried prunes.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Some of Poland's Best Food ~ Sour Cream and Cottage Cheese!

Poland has the best sour cream and cottage cheese I have ever eaten. Their sour cream is so rich, and creamy its like pudding. I remember taking palm sized sweet cheese filled pierogi (cooked and cooled) and dipping them into a wide mouthed jar of fresh homemade sour cream. Amazing!

Poles make cottage cheese by taking what they call their everyday white cheese (cooked curd) and adding sour cream to it. Well, basically this is how cottage cheese is made.

Cottage cheese is a soft, cooked curd cheese that originated in eastern and central Europe. Unlike many other cheeses, cottage cheese is low in fat and carbohydrates but high in protein, making it a popular food among dieters. Its soft texture and relatively bland flavor also make it ideal for babies and young children. Cottage cheese can be easily prepared at home and will keep well in a refrigerator for up to one week.

Read more :

In fact, cottage cheese is a soft, cooked curd cheese that originated in eastern and central Europe. Unlike many other cheeses, cottage cheese is low in fat and carbohydrates but high in protein, making it a popular food among dieters. Its soft texture and relatively bland flavor also make it ideal for babies and young children. Cottage cheese can be easily prepared at home and will keep well in a refrigerator for up to one week.

Read more :

Cottage cheese is a soft, cooked curd cheese that originated in eastern and central Europe. Unlike many other cheeses, cottage cheese is low in fat and carbohydrates but high in protein, making it a popular food among dieters. Its soft texture and relatively bland flavor also make it ideal for babies and young children. Cottage cheese can be easily prepared at home and will keep well in a refrigerator for up to one week.

Read more :
Cottage cheese is a soft, cooked curd cheese that originated in eastern and central Europe. Unlike many other cheeses, cottage cheese is low in fat and carbohydrates but high in protein, making it a popular food among dieters. Its soft texture and relatively bland flavor also make it ideal for babies and young children. Cottage cheese can be easily prepared at home and will keep well in a refrigerator for up to one week.

Read more :

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Polish Borderland ~ Where East Meets West

There is a borderland in Poland unlike most borders. Yes, there are similarities. There are daily commuters, there are those who feel cross cultural as they live in more than one local space. What is different is that Poland's eastern border (from the upper northeast corner of Poland down strongly demarcated by the Bug River) remains the Curzon Line where ~ East meets West.
A bit of history ~ Curzon Line,  demarcation line between Poland and Soviet Russia that was proposed during the Russo-Polish War of 1919–20 as a possible armistice line and became (with a few alterations) the Soviet-Polish border after WWII. After World War I, the Allied Supreme Council, which was determining the frontiers of the recently reestablished Polish state, created a temporary boundary marking the minimum eastern frontier of Poland and authorized a Polish administration to be formed on the lands west of it (Dec. 8, 1919). That line extended southward from Grodno, passed through Brest-Litovsk, and then followed the Bug River to its junction with the former frontier between the Austrian Empire and Russia. Whether eastern Galicia with Lvov, should be Polish or Ukrainian was not decided.
When a subsequent Polish drive eastward into the Ukraine collapsed, the Polish prime minister, W.Grabski, appealed to the Allies for assistance (July 1920). On July 10, 1920, the Allies proposed an armistice plan to Grabski, designating the line of Dec. 8, 1919, with a southwestward continuation to the Carpathian Mountains, keeping Przemyśl for Poland but ceding eastern Galicia; the following day the British foreign secretary, Lord Curzon, whose name was subsequently attached to the entire line, made a similar suggestion to the Soviet government. Neither the Poles nor the Soviets, however, accepted the Allied plan. The final peace treaty (concluded in March 1921), reflecting the ultimate Polish victory in the Russo-Polish War, provided Poland with almost 52,000 square miles (135,000 square kilometres) of land east of the Curzon Line. Although the Curzon Line, which had never been proposed as a permanent boundary, lost significance after the Russo-Polish War, the Soviet Union later revived it, claiming all the territory east of the line and occupying that area (in accordance with the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact of 1939) at the outbreak of World War II. Later, after Germany had invaded the Soviet Union, the Red Army pushed back the German troops and occupied all of the former state of Poland by the end of 1944; the United States and The United Kingdom then agreed to Soviet demands (Yalta Conference; Feb. 6, 1945) and recognized the Curzon Line as the Soviet-Polish border. On Aug. 16, 1945, a Soviet-Polish treaty officially designated a line almost equivalent to the Curzon Line as their mutual border; in 1951 some minor frontier adjustments were made.
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I can tell you that this border remains, with the difference being that Poland is an European Union Member State; which in my opinion, makes the idea of "East meets West meets East" even stronger.  The Ukraine is not in the EU nor does it appear that it will be in the near future given the unrest there and Russian investment including the incorporation through election of Crimea.  I am sure there are those who would disagree with this wording but I am reluctant to call it anything else than that. What do I mean by East/West meeting on the especially along the Bug whereby the river is the visible line? It means that this is a place where differing world views meet. One is more prone to individualism and relativism and the other to more collectivism and absolutism. Again, many will disagree. I could say like this... where doing meets being in a place. The West is about doing and the East is about being. Not that there isn't any idea of being in a place in the West; there is but, it is more fluid more like a free flowing river hopeful and eager to change. This sounds good to Western ears, hope and change. For others, it sounds unrealistic, not practical and not reasonable given their long time cultural heritage. The West has a problem accepting that people who live outside the West see life different when it comes to change especially. Hence, we see people supporting authority that we Westerners see as tyrants/obstacles to change.