Dobrzyn: Sunday-Tuesday

October 6, 2015 • 12:00 pm

Life has been slow and relaxed in Dobrzyn, with the usual round of walkies, workies, and nomz. Sunday dinner was a Swedish dish, potatis gratáng, which the French would call “pommes gratinée.” (Malgorzata and Andrzej lived in Sweden for 15 years, so we get many Swedish nomz.) It consisted of layers of potatoes and ham, all topped with a crispy and scrumptious crust of cheese. It was served with broccoli and a cold can of Zubr (“Bison”) beer. It was hard to maintain a proper balance between ingredients of the main dish and not take too much of that great crust!

Potatoes au gratin

On Monday we went to Wloclawek to do shopping and pick up new glasses for Malgorzata. The town itself is rather nondescript, distinguished only by a bakery famous for its cheesecake (you can see one at upper left). Since we already have one at home, I bought a selection of sesame pastries and pączki (polish donuts, these filled with plum and raspberry jam).


On the way back, we passed another Polish town with a weird name. The sign below literally means “Upper Hideous.” (There is also a “Lower Hideous” nearby.) Blame it on a mean feudal lord:

Upper hideous

Back home we encountered the daughter of the lodgers upstairs, Hania (she’s five), playing with her friend Lena. Hania is in the swing. They’re adorable kids.


Hania friend

Dinner last night, which we traditionally have once during my visits, was “children’s food”: noodles with yogurt, sour cherries, and a bit of sugar. But it’s a traditional Polish dish: kluski z wiśniami. Don’t criticize it until you’ve tried it! The textural combination of slippery noodles and soft sour cherries, bathed in a creamy, cherry-infused yogurt, is wonderful:

Cherry dinner

After dinner it was time for Hili to get her monthly application of anti-tick fluid, which she hates. One look at the bottle and she scooted under the table in my bedroom. Andrzej and I managed to corner her, and Malgorzata did the application. Hili was very affronted!:

Hili and tick fluid

And on to today (Tuesday). Right after breakfast Malgorzata baked another cherry pie; she’s taking quite seriously her vow that I not have a single pieless day in Poland!

New pie

Then I had some quality time with the Princess, whom I removed from Cyrus’s bed so she could join me on the couch. I made her a little nest from a blanket (the weather has turned cold) and she slept by me, purring, while I worked. The temperature is predicted to descend to freezing tonight, and the leaves are turning rapidly.

Hili in blanket

After naptime it was time for walkies. All five resident mammals hiked together to the river bluffs. Since Andrzej forgot Cyrus’s blue plastic ball, he made do with a stick. Whether ball or stick, Cyrus shakes his catch vigorously after he retrieves it—clearly an atavistic killing behavior:

Cyrus and stick

And then back home to work. Andrzej was assisted by Chief Editor Hili while Cyrus looked on, perhaps aspiring to a position on the website:

H, A, and C

And so another day in Dobrzyn draws to a close, with the only unknown being this: “What’s for dinner?” Whatever it is, I know it will be good!

32 thoughts on “Dobrzyn: Sunday-Tuesday

  1. Heav’n enou….

    It’s finally cooling off here, too. I think we may actually be past the last of the triple-digit high temperatures. Ten o’clock and still in the low 70s — and it might not even break 80°F at all today! And it’s been getting into the 60s overnight.


      1. Wait…20°C = 68°F. That’s hot!? When I was growing up, that was defined as standard room temperature — and we all thought that was nuts because it was on the chilly side….


  2. Doing it tough I see.. enjoyed the food and the walk while I eat my breakfast: cereal with vanilla yoghurt and pears.. coffee, the first of two cups (my day off)

  3. Here’s hoping the culinary carousel continues to bring you gastric glee!
    There wasn’t one thing pictured there (including the big can of beer with the Bison on it) that didn’t look delicious. I shall=, one day, finally drink my elusive can of Zubr.

  4. Been following along, drooling. That noodle dish, kluski z wiśniami, brought me back to my own childhood. I’d forgotten it!

    Thanks for that, it is a very tasty treat.


  5. Would think the folks in some of those towns would be making some name changes? Do they like having the crazy names or maybe changing is not allowed?

    1. The question that arises for me is, what do the peopel of “Upper Hideous” say about the people of “Lower Hideous”, and vice versa?
      I rather doubt the names will get get changed any time soon. Local names are very robust.

  6. Upper and Lower Hideous? When I lived in Cheshire, England, the nearby villages were called Lower Peover and Nether Peover. Fortunately ‘Peover’ was pronounced ‘Peever’.

    1. I wonder if there’s a Mr Littlebottom who lives in Nether Wiping?
      If there is, he’s likely to be vociferously against changing either name.

  7. Prof Ceiling Cat – if you’re ever in London it’s pretty straight forward to find a can of Zubr. There’s a large Polish population, and a good proportion of local licensed shops sell Polish beers. Plenty of us natives are fans of imported beer as it’s a lot more toothsome than most of the major commercial lager/light beer brands.

    For those not in the know, it’s a pretty nice *slightly* darker/maltier pilsner beer that’s fairly strong (6% abv). It’s good stuff, and you can pick it up for 1.50-2.00 USD equivalent so won’t break the bank!

      1. But you can take the cans of Zubr back to your hotel, while a pint of Landlord is a bit less transportable. Surely you can recognise the benefits of being able to have your pie AND eat it?
        I have a mental image of cracking a tinnie of Zubr in the bison enclosure at London Zoo (where Darwin did his observations of orang-outangs). Or at Whipsnade. Or possibly best of all, at the Polish nature forest with the jaw-breaking name (*) where they still have wild bison.
        (*) as if that narrowed down the choice.

  8. Maybe it’s because I grew up in a neighborhood where my buddies’ mothers were always looking to feed you something prepared according to a recipe their mothers had brought over from “the old country” — or maybe it’s just ’cause I’m hungry — but the dishes in those photographs look really, really good to me.

    Makes me long for the tastes and smells of my own grandmothers’ kitchens.

  9. My paternal grandmother made a related dish, a noodle kugel with sour cherries and cottage cheese. She served it for the Abendbrot meal on the farm – we city kids thought it was delightfully strange to have a fruit casserole for the main course. My grandmother made her own egg noodles for kugel, soups, etc.

    A lot of the traditional Polish dishes seem very similar to ones my grandmother typically made. Not surprising, I suppose – her family were all ethnic Germans, but those who hadn’t emigrated to the US or Russia were living in the former GDR near the border with Poland (West Pomerania and Silesia areas, I think).

  10. I am a little sceptical about the place names – is there an element of folk etymology or are they documentably old names? But of course I speak from a land where spelling does not reflect pronunciation!

  11. It is going to be cherry season here pretty soon. I am planning to make some cherry jam. It’s a terrible pain to de-pip so many cherries, even using a suitable gadget, but it’s worth the effort. I feel for Malgorzata having to de-pip so many cherries for pies. The genetic engineers need to put more effort in to grow them bigger.

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