Dobrzyn: around Retirement Day

October 1, 2015 • 1:30 pm

Here are a few holiday snaps from the last two days in Dobrzyn. It’s gotten a bit chilly and they’ve turned on the central heating.

First, as befits her status, we have the Furry Princess of Poland, who is now deigning to give me substantial Quality Cat Time on the couch:

Hili resting

Hili’s World #1:

A cat's world

Hili’s World #2:

Cat's world 2

Walkies by the Vistula:


Malgorzata is taking seriously her promise to have a cherry pie for me (or some kind of pastry) every day. I photographed the process, starting with the filling of the crust (below we have a traditional crust instead of the more laborious walnut crust):


It’s far easier to grate dough on top of the pie than to make fancy latticework, and it looks (and tastes) just as good:

Pie 1

Pie 2

Gratings spread over the top:

Pie 3

Baking (I’ve given Malgorzata’s recipe here):

Pie 4

And the completed product (I had a piece just ten minutes ago):

Pie 5

Dinner two nights ago: a dish of kasha (buckwheat groats) larded with both sausage and pork shoulder, cooked with mushroom sauce, and served with cucumbers in yogurt. This is traditional Polish fare:


When I woke up on retirement morning yesterday, I found an envelope in the living room. It contained two things, including this note:
Retirement card

And indeed, there was a watch (the pikers in my department didn’t give me anything, not even a goodbye email or fete). The watch had been ordered in advance via Amazon in advance, and a professional in Dobrzyn assigned to insert a picture of Her Highness. What a lovely gift!

Retirement watch

We also had a special lunch: open-faced “sandwiches” (a Jewish recipe) made from a savory puff pastry covered with grapes, fresh figs, Camembert cheese, and cashews, baked until the pastry is done and the cheese melted. One can also use Roquefort cheese and pecans:

Retirement sandwiches

And dinner: chicken baked with soy sauce and sesame seeds, served with an olive salad and boiled potatoes, all washed down with Zubr beer.

Chicken breasts

For dessert we had a choice of cherry pie or a cheesecake purchased by Gosha, the upstairs tenant. I opted for cheesecake, and it was delicious. As always here, I am eating well but not gaining weight:

Retirement cheesecake


46 thoughts on “Dobrzyn: around Retirement Day

  1. With all due respect to the pikers in your department, you did leave town before the quarter started (first day of classes at UofC was this past Monday). And they probably expect to see you around Zoology on a regular basis.

    Will you be back in time to see what is shaping up to be a pretty spectacular looking fall on the Quads?

  2. What a wonderful watch! Now you’re going to need to get a special waistcoat with a watch pocket – maybe leather with fringe??

    Delicious looking noms. What a great idea to grate the crust! Will be trying that.
    Malgorzata- how in the name of Ceiling Cat do you make cherry pie sans apron?? i’d be covered in cherry juice!

    1. I really own an apron, even two, but I use them only when washing dogs. I can keep cherries in their place but not the dog.

      1. My dog will fairly happily come right into the shower stall with me and I have an extra hand-held shower so we both get clean and I can “hose” down the shower walls after she “flappa flappas”.
        If she’s really filthy we begin outdoors with the garden hose but she’s generally pretty Teflon ( except for the dead snakes she once rolled in😝

  3. Wonderful party — and thanks for letting us virtually join it!

    I’ve never understood where this myth that Jewish cooking is bad came from. In truth, it’s some of the most amazing food on Earth.

    Do you have your Hili shirt with you? If so, I think we might need a photo of you wearing it and checking the time on your new Hili watch, while rubbing Hili’s belly…and probably also drinking from your Hili mug….


  4. So glad to see you are eating Kasha. Hope that you also get to eat it the way I did, when it was called Kasha Varnishkes (Kasha with Farfalle, which we called ‘bowties’, not knowing the original Italian name).

    A diet with buckwheat should ensure that you have a very long and healthy period post-retirement. Here’s to a long life with noms!

    1. Buckwheat is an underrated grain. Jerry’s quite familiar with kasha varnishkes, I’m sure. Malgorazata’s dish here is another classic. Buckwheat flour makes wonderful pancakes, and the Japanese rightfully cherish it for soba noodles. Tasty and nutritious; what more could you ask for?


      1. Cream of buckwheat is far better than regular cream of wheat, or any other cream of grain type stuff. Of course taste is rather subjective, but that is mine.

        Make it with cream, agave nectar, pinch of salt and, if you like some spice, a bit of nutmeg, cinammon and cardamom.

    1. And, as I have pointed out before, head to Traverse City, MI, in July, for great cherry products.

      Not enough people know about the glories of sour cherries (wisnie in Polish with an accent over the s). 75% are produced in and around Traverse City. Back in 2012, an early spring had the cherry trees blooming early – and the blooms were killed by a late frost. TC had to go to Poland to get sour cherries.

  5. OMG you got no departing gift or party back home? That sucks!!

    At least your friends in Poland treated you – and the food looks scrumptious!!

    1. As I pointed out in a previous comment, Jerry left town before the fall quarter started. I doubt that he thinks his colleagues are really pikers. Fair to assume, something is being planned. Grad students depend on special events to feed themselves.

  6. Hili is lucky to roam in such a world, as are Cyrus and their caretakers.

    I love green olives in salads. Usually in the US, you’ll see black olives in green salads, not green. Maybe that’s just my experience.

    Cukes in yogurt (and a little sour cream) is one of my favorite versions of the versatile cucumber salad. I like a little fresh dill and paprika in there as well.

    And that’s an interesting looking cheesecake…it looks a lot fluffier and lighter than the common New York cheesecake.

        1. Think I got it from family friends who had lived in Persia as it was thrn.

          Grated cukes, yoghurt, buttermilk. Cumin, red onions, currants, mint, possibly some fresh dill? Deelish.

      1. Yeah, one of my favorite salads for sure (especially Julia Child’s rendition). The black olives I mentioned are the standard fair. Niçoise and kalamata are in a league of their own.

  7. Belated congrats on the retirement. (Don’t take up golf!)

    I did it at the end of June (retired, that is, not golfed) and since then I’ve been just as busy as ever. My other interests (which I never had enough time for before) expanded to fill the gap.

    Best thing: not having to get up early in the morning to rush off to work.
    Equal best thing: Knowing that if I didn’t finish a job ‘today’, I wouldn’t have to wait a week before I could restart it, I could just pick it up in the morning.


  8. Dear Professor Ceiling Cat: Belated congratulations on your retirement!

    I rarely leave comments, but am a faithful reader of your website for many years. I cherish your posts from Dobrzyn, thank you for sharing these moments with your readers. Malgorzata and Andrzej, Hili and Cyrus are exceptional hosts. I look forward to posts from your visit to Sweden, my native country.
    Best wishes and mazel tov!

  9. Enough with the cherry pie pictures! I was forced to go up to the (fortunately very good) bakery at lunch today and spend an ungodly sum on a cherry pie. Luckily, I already have a belly-rub friendly cat, so am spared the need for that particular acquisition.

  10. You are fortunate in your friends – but seriously, no one in your department thought to open a bottle in your honour???

    Mind you, if you are anything like one our friends in the library here, an emeritus histopathology professor at UCL, you will still be working at 90! He gave a lecture yesterday!

  11. Great post Jerry! It always looks so wonderful at chez Hili, especially with Malgorzata’s cooking. And the kindness and thoughtfulness of their gift and the effort they went to are very special.

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