Wednesday, April 4, 2007

As promised

I figure I need to post the recipe for Babcia's Homemade Pickle Soup up, since I am returning to Babcia's for Easter and will come back will loads more cooking photos and cooking adventure that will also need posting. So, here it is:

Polish Pickle Soup

Ingredients: Carrots
Pickles! And Pickle Juice!


Step 1: Prepare some broth-if you are carnivorous, then boil some meat with water, if you are of the vegetarian persuasion, then rock on and use some vegetarian bullion cubes.

Step 2: While the broth is boiling, or maybe before (fly by the seat of your pants on this one), wash, peel, and chop the carrots, potatoes, parsnips, and leeks. The carrots and potatoes should be in bite-sized pieces, but the parsnips and leeks don't need to be cut as small.
Step 3: This step is probably unnecessary, because once we were done cooking we decided the pickles probably didn't NEED to be peeled. But, I peeled pickles, and I think that it's worth showing this photo to the internets. You should, however, finely chop the pickles or shred them.
Step 4: Add the parsnips, carrots, potatoes, and one or two bay leaves to the broth, and let it until the vegetables are almost done. Add the leeks, pickles and all saved pickle juice at the end, then season with salt and pepper as needed.
Step 5: Dig in!

Walk it out

Not having internet access in my apartment is kind of becoming the bain of my existence. On the positive side, it forces me to waste less time on the internet, but sometimes my desire to use the 'nets is so strong that I spend an embarassing amount of time sitting in front of my computer restarting, reconnecting, cursing and praying for firefox to work. To no avail.

THE WEATHER HERE IS BEAUTIFUL! Not today, it is cold again, but for the last week it has been gorgeous. I've said it once and I'll say it many more times, I really miss Atlanta weather.

I had a very busy weekend last weekend, and I will give an account of it because I am so impressed with how many things I did. On Friday I made the sad discovery that my phone was out of money, and had the exhilirating experience of trying to buy a phone card and load it onto my phone in Polish. Time was of the essence because I was waiting for a phone call from Ellen, to hear about the cost of hotel rooms in Amsterdam because, if affordable, I was going to fly by the seat of my pants over there. Alas, it was not in my price range and it's just as well because Ellen's flight got cancelled. Once I figured out my phone situation I got in touch with a girl from Emory who is studying in Prague for the semester and was in town visitng family friends. It was awesome to see her to talk about the History and Religion Departments back home and the experience of being American in Europe right now. I've been getting a little frustrated because people sometimes feel the urge to explain to me why their countries have such better heathcare, social security, and education systems than we have in the U.S., and they consider themselves the experts on this comparison. It's frustrating to say the least, because I am NOT the United States of America, but rather, a college student who has only voted in one Presidential election and does NOT have the ability (or reall, the desire) to make the US into a welfare state.

Saturday morning a met with a girl from Warsaw University to do a language tandem. We spend half the time speaking Polish and half the time speaking English. I am meeting with 2 girls, and can tell already that it is going to help my Polish much more than language classes (though they give me a grammatical background so it's still helpful). We spent 2 hours walking around the city trying to communicate, and it was exhausting, but awesome. I met up with a Belgian friend right afterwards to czech out some Warsaw art galleries. We are in a Polish art history class together, and it's all kinds of miserable, so we're trying to access some interesting art on our own. We lucked out with a small gallery that has a collection of photos from the turn of the century. The photos were taken by Polish artists using innovative techniques that manipulate the images-some looking like sketches, some like watercolors, others like extremely vivid photos. We also crashed an awesome violin and piano concert held in the gallery...all this was for a dollar!

On Sunday I went to church at the warsaw uprising museum, and while it wasn't quite as crazy as I was hoping, it was done in 45 minutes which is pretty much the perfect length for a mass in a foreign language. I met with my other tandem, who is also awesome, and then had a picnic in a park just outside the Centrum with my Slovakian friends. While it was chilly by the time we left, it was so great to be outside.

I just found out that I recieved the grant I applied for from the History Department to continue learning Polish over the summer followed by 2 weeks of research in Polish archives. It's pretty damn exciting.

Just as exciting is the fact that tomorrow afternoon, at 3:55 pm, I will be meeting Ellen in the airport to start our Central European Adventure!! I can't wait. In honor of the fun times we will have, I need to post this picture of Jacek, the handsome young man on my shopping bag. Here, you only get really small, thin plastic bags for free from the grocery store so if you buy many groceries you need to either bring your own cloth bags or buy (and then reuse) thick plastic bags. Usually the plastic bags are plaid patterened, or seasonal (angels at christmas time etc), but 2 weeks ago when I was at the grocery store, the ONLY bags available were these. It made me kind of uncomfortable to pay money for a practically shirtless, muscular man holding a puppy, and I feel bad for any macho Polish men out there, or pious Babcias, who had to carry their food home with Jacek because there weren't any other options.

But I'm sure Ellen, for one, wouldn't mind.