My Christmas Eve Story
But on the Xmass Eve - "Wigilia" in Polish - we are having these wonderful suppers, so traditional, so intimate and charming. The food is usually not so oppulent as traditionally people withhold themselves from meat or excess of any kind.
First you have the soup - which at my home is beetroot soup ("barszcz" - I love English people pronounciating this :) with "uszka" - small dumplings filled with mushrooms (dried and then boiled) that literally translate to "little ears". I guess they should bear some resemblance to this cute body part however I can't quite make myself think too much of a plate of ears...
In other parts of Poland they would eat almond, mushroom or fish soup with different kinds of dumplings or noodles.
Tradition says that you should have 12 dishes on your table but at my home it's much less because my grandma has always wanted to keep it very simple - and I like it that way.
So basically, we limit ourselves to pierogi - Russian ones (with mashed potatoes and cottage cheese, that in fact have nothing to do with Russia) and the most traditional ones - with cabbage, or rather sauerkraut, and mushrooms.
The latter are my number one and I just can't resist eating them with my hands what gives so much more pleasure. But of course is unacceptable... I've always been the criss-cross one :)
Aside, we have the lovely carp in two versions: pan fried and baked with onions. I always opt for the baked one which melts in your mouth tenderly. At my friends houses carp is often prepared Jewish style or in a grey sauce but they also have herrings, salmon and cod often. Wigilia is generally focused on fish.
I won't spoil your appetite with my fingers messing about the fatty fish...
Afterwards comes the sweet part with the fruit cake...
poppy seed strudel (very delicate and moist, made of yeast dough)...
cold cheesecake which is my brother's "must-have-or-do-not- count-on-presents-from-me" (this year I came up with the lemon and gooseberry flavor - refreshing acidity:)))
and my all-time favorite: Kutia! This is a dish that was originated in the areas previously Polish but nowadays Lithuanian and since my granparents both were born in the eastern lands we take over most of their food customs.
Kutia is a wonderful mixture of boiled poppy seeds, wheat grains, honey, nuts, raisins and rum. Awesome and really exhillarating, partly due to the fact that I do not have to count my intake of callories... I would already be lost in numbers!
I won't tell you what happened backstage, before these dishes were finally delivered, as the conflict of generations gets really hot in the kitchen :)
Tomorrow the heavy eating should start - with all the meats, hams, salads, more desserts, cakes and so on but fortunately I'm going to have myself evacuated with the little help from my friends :)
So Merry Christmas to everybody - no matter what do you have on your plates :)