Dobrzyn: Saturday

July 26, 2014 • 6:15 am

It rained last night (once again delaying the final cherry-picking) but Hili was outside. She finally showed up, announcing her presence, as always, by jumping on the window ledge outside the living room. One would think that you could just open the front door and call her in, but that’s not the way it works with the Feline Princess of Poland. You—in this case Malgorzata—must go outside, pluck her off the windowsill, and carry her inside, like a queen in her carriage! I have gone out myself to see if she could be induced to jump down and walk inside on her own, but no dice—she stays in the ledge until she’s picked up. Here Malgorzata brings a soaking wet cat inside:

The rest of the photos are from yesterday, which began with a trip to the store for beer, and comestibles for humans and d*g. First stop was at the  local butcher shop, a small store run by two nice ladies. As is usual with a Polish butcher shop, there was a huge array of sausages:

Butcher shop

We bought big slabs of beef and of pork for last night’s dinner: Swedish meatloaf:

Pork and beef for meatloaf

Then to the small local “supermarket” (the population of Dobrzyn is only 3,000), where, as usual, I gravitated to the selection of Polish beer. (Most of the other alcohol is vodka, which I have little use for.):

Beers at store

I bought my favorite Polish beer, Zubr, meaning “bison,” so called because it’s strong. But I also found a special extra-strong Zubr, which I also bought: it has 6.5% alcohol.  I snapped that up as well as a can of special dog food for Cyrus, who cannot have bones or hard food for a week because of his recent dental work.  The haul is displayed below, along with a special beer from the Polish mountains, in a wooden crate, that we will serve to three visitors who are coming this evening:

Our haul

In the afternoon, Stefan, the amiable gardener, stopped by with a huge load of pączki (Polish donuts) that his wife had baked. They are made with a rich dough containing eggs and milk, and are filled with either fruit or jam. This batch had both sugared and unsugared ones, both filled with whole cherries, cherry jam, and raisins. I have had these in Chicago, but they weren’t nearly as good as the homemade ones that Stefan brought.

Donut bringer Stefan

Just in time for tea!


Dissected to show the filling:

Donut cut

As Malgorzata prepared dinner, the animals hovered about, hoping for some scraps of meat. They scored:

Animals want meat

Two lovely Swedish meatloaves. The combination of pork and ground beef made them especially juicy and tasty. Perhaps if you ask nicely, Malgorzata will provide the recipe:


And dinner: meatloaf, fresh yellow string beans (a new one on me), and potatoes, washed down with the extra strong Zubr, which Andrzej and I pronounced delicious.


Later today we will make another couple of cherry pies with walnut crusts for the visitors. That means I will spend a long time cracking walnuts (from the garden, of course). Pictures tomorrow.



26 thoughts on “Dobrzyn: Saturday

  1. Oh, to please have the recipe for Malgorzata’s meat loaf would be fantastic! However, your picture of her borscht was the one i wanted to crawl into the photo to sample. If we could please have that recipe as well life would be delicious!

    Thank you for all your fantastic pictures from your trip.

    1. Meat loaf:
      400 gram ground meat (half beef and half pork)
      1 onion
      4 tablespoons bread crumbs
      1 tablespoon potato flour
      125 mililiters milk
      1 egg
      1 teaspoon dried oregano
      salt, pepper

      Mix breadcrumbs, potato flour and milk in a bowl. Let it stand for 20 minutes. Add egg, grated raw onion, meat, salt, pepper and oregano. Mix together but do not use your hand – use a fork and don’t mix for too long. Put your hands in cold water and with wet hands form a loaf (or two). Place the loaf on a greased baking tray.

      Heat some margarine in a small pan, add one tablespoon of dark soy sauce and pour over the loaf. Bake in 180C for 40-50 minutes.

      Borscht might be a problem because you need bestroot juice or beetroot concentrate and this might be difficult to get outside Eastern Europe. But if you can get it:

      Whisk together 3/4 liter buttermilk, 3/4 liter natural yogurt and 1/4 liter beetroot juice or 3 tablespoons beetroot concentrate. Add tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, fresh paprika – all cut into small cubes (and any other freash vegetable you like). Add spring onion cut into pieces, salt and peper. Sprinkle with fresh dill.

      1. My thanks, too. It’s such a privilege to be a guest in your home, even vicariously at a long distance. You folks set the standard for how to live!

      2. My family’s normal strategy for the cold borscht was to grow our own beets and pick them while they were still fairly small, then chop them, boil them in a small quantity of water and use that in lieu of the concentrate. You can also boil the leaves in that instance.

      1. Perhaps it’s not regarded as a national dish here. I’ve certainly heard of meatloaf but not ‘Swedish meatloaf’. Then again, Swedes don’t call their meatballs ‘Swedish meatballs’, (köttbullar) either! – although they are aware that this is how they are described around the world.

      2. I thought ombudsman and smorgardsbord (smörgårdsbord) were the only Swedish words used around the world. Maybe we should add köttfärslimpa as well?

        In my family we often replace beef with reindeer or wild boar (Ground Beings?). Just make sure it doesn’t get too dry, since these types of meat contain less fat. Serve with lingonberry jam (which maybe you can find in IKEA if you have some such store nearby).

        1. In Australia the only thing you can buy from IKEA is flat pack furniture AFAIK, although I have never been to one.

  2. Are yellow string beans different from waxed beans which can only be bought at certain times of the year?

    1. Wax=yellow=haricot au beurre (referring to the more mellow flavour than found in the green variety). All string beans regardless of colour — including purple which makes picking a lot easier just like the yellow since they don’t blend into the green foliage of the plants — come into harvest close to the same time, starting from May to the end of August in temperate regions.

      Malgorzata’s meatloaves are indeed a succulent pair cozy in their homey dish. The soy sauce basting is genius!

  3. For a moment I thought “comestibles” was “combustibles”, but you seem to tolerating the d*g quite well 🙂 Regards to all.

  4. The meat loaf and beer, yum. When animals hover like that I am always reminded that they might be wondering: “Where do you get this stuff? Why am I not in charge of managing the meat? What’s going on? Is this a joke? I don’t understand jokes.”

  5. Re Hili on the window ledge: I suppose a kitty/d*ggy door is out of the question.

    Re Stefan: He reminds me of Michael Shermer.

  6. The label in the front of the meat store case: “kiełbasa z dzika” means “wild boar sausage”. Have you by any chance tried it?

  7. (Most of the other alcohol is vodka, which I have little use for.)

    Trivia fact: vodka makes an excellent disinfectant. Ballet costumers use spray bottles of it to freshen up sweaty costumes between shows.

  8. “As Malgorzata prepared dinner, the animals hovered about, hoping for some scraps of meat. They scored:”

    Did someone say that Hili has lost weight since the last visit? She looks like a fine little butterball to me in the hovering/pleading photo.

    1. No, she’s definitely lost weight since last time (I attribute it to dog-induced anxiety), and she’s in fine nick. I know overweight cats and she is not one; I handle her every day. If she looks, well, “fluffy,” I think it must be the camera angle!

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