A melting pot? A salad bowl? We are perfectly familiar with all those expressions that are so frequently used to describe a rich mixture of people of different origin sharing the same place that can be wonderfully called home.
Can Poland be a pot in which you can join other ingredients and in return be filled with a blissful gift of being an equally important part of the dish? This country has definitely a lot in common with mixing, stirring, frying and boiling. We do love food. But if you want to be a part of all of this, you’d better not enter any pot. If you want to be one of us – squeeze yourself into a pickle jar on the shelf of Polishness.
How to be like other pickl… people?
Once you go “tak” – you never go back. The fact that you have a desire to fit in is already the key to success. Soon after joining any group of Polish people you realize they love talking about how amazing they are but you also notice that it has nothing in common with being self-absorbed. We just adore showing off and being proud of our language and the fact that you will probably never learn it because it’s so difficult and illogical (it really is). But let us teach you a couple of words and we will be on cloud nine. And there’s nothing as charming and sexy as a foreigner speaking Polish.
It’s all about the right shelf.
And proper ingredients. All you need is:
Cucumbers. It will be the closest group of people you’ll be surrounded with. It shouldn’t be too big for the beginning, because however friendly and open, Polish people seem to have some trust issues. Don’t cheat on them with too many others, for it will mean to them they are not really important to you. Find the right cucumbers and make friends with them so that you can be pickled together.
A jar. That will be the place you spend time with other pickles. Sticking to what and who you know is always a safe choice but try to avoid places where foreigners usually meet because you will never assimilate this way. Go to pubs, clubs and concerts where you can meet natives. They will love meeting you (and asking you if you think Polish is difficult).
Seasoning. It’s all that keeps pickles in good condition. Polish people are experts on that. Whoever said that nobody can beat them in drinking vodka (maybe except the experts from Belarus, the Ukraine and Russia) was right. You can be better in everything else but nobody will be as healthy the next day as a Polish person. Have (a couple of – for your safety) shots with them and you will be their hero (but you’ll also have to let them brag about how awesome drinkers they are).
Spices and time of fermentation
Of course everything needs time. Being a good pickle requires patience. The process of fermentation may be long and difficult but it is worth all effort. But like a pickle jar has enough space for all cucumber candidates – Poland will handle all out-of-the-jar newcomers of all sizes, shapes and colors if they just have a wish to being pickled.
By Żaneta Piętak
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