Monthly Archives: December 2008

Polish police in North Wales?

police boxEvery now and then there’s a story about the need to recruit someone with good Polish to help the allegedly ever-growing Polish communities in various parts of the UK. You’ve heard of Polish nurses, doctors, etc. Now it’s allegedly time for Polish policemen.

North Wales police has considered recruiting officers from Poland to help deal with the growing Polish population in the region. It is estimated that there are 8,000 Polish immigrants in Wrexham alone and 2,500 in Flintshire.

Daily Post claims that Polish policemen would be the answer to solving many crimes in North Wales:

Because there are only a few police officers in North Wales who can speak Polish and it is a difficult language to learn, North Wales’ chief constable Mr Brunstrom believes that recruiting first-language Polish speakers may be the answer. (…)

Mr Brunstrom, who has learnt Welsh, blamed “xenophobia and fear of the unknown” for being at the root of many crimes in North Wales.

The trigger was often language rather than appearance, he said, with aggressors lashing out because “you don’t sound like me”.

“When people move to live, they bring their language with them,” he said.

Now, isn’t it a bit naive to assume that a Polish policeman with a Polish accent would really solve the problem, as allegedly it’s the language rather than appearance which matters? Or am I missing something?

SEE ALSO:
Why Polish language courses are popular in Cardiff

Image © benleto via Flickr used under CC licence


Woody Allen conquers Warsaw

The American director gave his first ever concert in Warsaw on Sunday night. The filmmaker, playing the clarinet, was accompanied by his New Orleans Jazz Band. Three thousand people gave them a standing ovation.

He’d played Budapest the night before. I was surprised to see how many outlets have covered the story online. (OK, it’s a quiet period for news, but still…)

Pity no one has actually reviewed the gig in English.  Let me know if you’ve seen it and want to write a quick review here.

The longest sausage is no longer Polish

The longest sausage © AFP

Don’t you just hate it when you’re beaten at your own game? Looks like Poland has just lost another claim to fame.

According to AFP, Bucharest attempted a new world record a day after Boxing Day,

with a 392-metre (1,286-foot) smoked sausage that took two weeks to prepare and weighs a hefty 150 kilogrammes (330 pounds). About 20 people worked on the giant wors, commissioned by the city of Bucharest and presented Saturday during local holiday festivities.

Tsk!

Two hundred metres longer than the previous record holder from Poland, according to local media, the sausage was to be later grilled and served to residents.

Yeah, enjoy! But it would seem the Romanians have now taken the concept of world record-beating to a new level and set several new records in one go. According to the same report,

On Sunday, the Romanian capital claimed the world’s biggest-ever Christmas give-away, when 3,939 people dressed as Father Christmas handed out gifts to children in the streets of Bucharest.

The city authorities were also planning another record attempt on Sunday with the world’s heaviest cake.

Talk about world domination!

Image © AFP

Wesołych Świąt!

I’ve made my makówki, I’ve done the fish….. I’ve also worked a bit too much, hence this long gap since my last update. But before I put my feet up and start enjoying Christmas, I just wanted to thank all my readers for being here, for leaving comments and spreading the word!

More from thePOLSKIblog as soon as I’ve regained my energy (marinading the turkey is exhausting, you understand).

For now, let me wish you Wesołych Świąt!

Polish Christmas food

carp

Here I was, trying to find time (and inspiration) to write a post on Polish Christmas food, but it looks like yesterday’s thelondonpaper did a relatively good job.

Tom Moggach wrote a piece on how different countries celebrate Christmas from a culinary perspective and included this, rather well-researched, concise, yet informative bit:

Eat: Borscht soup [how many spellings does this word have?!], carp, mushroom dumplings, herring, potato salad, poppy seed cake and fruit compote.

Tradition: Christmas Eve is a day of fasting, before a feast of 12 dishes [oh, yes] – and no booze or meat until midnight. One place at the table is left free for unexpected guests [or as some prefer to call it, a lost traveller or a person in need], while custom dictates the sharing of ‘opłatek’, a thin wafer, with family and friends.

It’s actually surprising how much information there was in this short piece. Obviously, he didn’t even manage to scratch the surface, as there are as many variations of the Christmas Eve dinner as there are regions, cities and families in Poland.

My family for example never eats carp. We substitute it with another kind of fish, usually haddock. We don’t have mushroom dumplings, but we have a rich mushroom soup. The fruit compote tastes brilliant if it’s made from smoked dried fruit and cloves. YUM!

The area of Poland I come from also has several variations of the dessert – some of them are really rich and fruity, some sound weird (and include – among other things – beetroot), some are simply divine. Like makówki.

Now, this is a Silesian specialty with poppy seeds, almonds, nuts, milk, honey, vanilla, raisins, lemon peel, butter and milk. (Some people also use coconut and alcohol.)

I’m still hoping to make it for Christmas this year and if I do, I promise a photo recipe. That’s provided I can buy ground poppy seeds. The dish itself are supposed to have a drug-like effect on you, but I guess it’s just the combination of sugar and carbs that’s so sleep-inducing.

Anyway, have you ever experienced Polish Christmas food? What’s your favourite? I’m curious….

How to wish Happy Christmas in Polish

Image © rois Têtes (TT) via Flickr under CC licence

Fresh Polish music: Oszibarack

A couple of weeks ago I gave my old Polish friend Joanna a task – find me some Polish music, but surprise me. (After all she’s still in Poland and knows what’s cool.) No shitty meowing, no boring old fart recycling the same stuff over and over again.

And she came back with this: Oszibarack. Wowzers. Pleasantly surprised. Don’t know a thing about them, apart from what I’ve read on their site and MySpace page:

Oszibarack, a band from Wroclaw came to being in 2004 formed by four musicians: dj Parisia (renowned frontmen of the band Husky), Agim – producer and composer, drummer Zmazik and bassisi Tomek. Their career started by lending the song “SKIRTS UP!” for a tv commercial advertising cell phones. Soon the song came out as a single.

And here’s the song:

But I really like this one:

Thanks Joanna!

More Polish music