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My family is all Polish and the big holiday in our family has always been Easter. When my Grandmother was a child they would prepare the food for the Easter dinner and put certain things for the dinner in a big decorated basket. The basket was then taken to church where the priest would bless it. Grandma always swore that blessed food always tasted better than the rest of food for the meal! I have seen other pictures of the entire alter and aisle loaded with beautiful decorated easter baskets.

Although we are protestant and don't have the food blessed, it still is the best dinner of the year! The Easter dinner is a big affair and takes days to prepare. Everything is homemade. It always starts with either Czarnina (duck soup) or Barszcz (beet soup). There is always Kielbasa (not like you get the store this a fresh sausage "kind of" along the lines of italian sausage - not a smoked sausage like we are all use to. I make my own when I can get the casings.), kiszka (another type of sausage, but hard to find unless you live near a polish meat market), a big polish ham, Pierogis (kind of a stuffed noodle like a half moon ravioli. These are always handmade - noodle dough and all....no self-respecting pole would ever buy their pierogis.(we always had 2 kinds - potato/cheese and cabbage/sauerkraut. They are boiled and then fried in butter and onions). There is also Placek (polish yeast coffecake), decorated eggs (signifying the risen Christ and the new life), and Chruscikis (a rolled polish pastry cookie that tied in a knot, deep fried and then rolled in powdered sugar). There is also always a lamb butter mold (being the lamb of God). There is also beet horseradish (horseradish grated with grated beets) which signifies the bitterness of the suffering of Christ. We also always have a lamb cake for desert (an orange pound cake baked in a cast iron lamb shaped mold and frosted with 7 minute icing and coconut and decorated to look just like a lamb). There is also, lots of salads and vegetables and there are leftovers for days!

Below is the recipe for the Polish Coffeecake. If you would like any of the other recipes, let me know and I will be happy to share them with you. I doubt you will want the one for the Duck Soup. You have to have a fresh duck or have access to a polish store you kind of have to be raised with it...it is a rather strange soup and if you don't have an open mind you will immediately say "no way!". Let's just say it goes back to times when nothing was wasted...including the blood. There is also prunes and apples in it.). You probably would want to go with the Beet Soup..LOL!

Polish Coffeecake (Placek)

2 cups milk
1/2 pound butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 to 2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 eggs beaten
2 yeast cakes or 2 packages of dry yeast or 2 T. bulk yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup raisins soaked in hot water
6 cups flour

Scald milk and butter. When lukewarm, add salt, sugar, nutmeg, vanilla, beaten eggs and yeast cakes, which have been dissolved in the 1/2 warm water. Beat well. Drain raisins and add to mixture. Beat well again.

Add flour, 2 cups at a time, beating well. Set in warm place to rise covered with a towel. When doubled in bulk, beat again. Pour into 4 greased loaf pans.

Topping: Beat 1 egg fluffy and brush over each loaf. Combine 1 tablespoon butter, 2 tablespoons sugar, 4 tablespoons flour and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla. Sprinkle over unbaked loaves. Let rise until double in size.

Bake 45 minutes in 350 degree oven.

-- Karen (mountains_mama2@hotmail.com), March 24, 2002


You said it all..I am 1st generation Polish. My family is all gone. But thank God that I spent time watching Mom cook and bake.. She taught me everything..For my family, Polish traditions still go on.

-- Frank Krawczyk. (franek1@msn.com), November 26, 2002.

you left out the poppy seed bread! we called it mock bread.. with honey and nuts, like a jelly roll oozing with this sweet poppy, nut nad honey filling

-- michelle grabowski (vyper@starpower.net), January 16, 2003.

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