East-Poland Summer Kitchen: Bicycles and Curd Cheese Doughnuts

Words by Dora Uczniak-Petrou. Illustration by Olia Hercules

“I am from a flat area by the river Vistula, which is great for cycling.

The kitchen no longer exists, but it was my maternal grandmother’s – Gienia and it was in the village called Oblekon, near Tarnow.

It was made from brick and there was a small window. It had a gas cooker. It was small but had enough space for a little table and a few chairs. There were some shelves and a few old cupboards and hooks on the wall.

It was very close to the house. We could see it out of the regular kitchen window. It was exclusively used in summertime.

Everything was used. Anything my grandparents grew. Not even a single cherry got wasted. Grandma made jams, juices, pickles, salads, kompot, sauerkraut etc.

I loved sitting on the chair and watching grandma making pasta. I remember the sweet smell of cooked fruit and dill. I never forget the taste of racuchy – sort of yeasty cakes with apple fried and dusted with icing sugar and oponki – they looked like little bagels or doughnuts with the hole, made with curd cheese and they were also fried.

I also loved this cucumber soup called zalewajka, as well as endless yeast cakes filled with all the fruit of the summer.”