Thursday, 26 April 2007

Eating out

My boyfriend paid a flying visit this week and I went to pick him up at the airport (taking care to stay well away from departures, for the well-being of everyone).
As we sat on the bus, waiting for it to leave, he asked me to fill him in on the basics:
-So what do I say if I bump into someone on the tram?
-Przeprazam
-...?
-przeprazam
-how do you spell that?
-P- R- Z-
-Forget it.

We have been experimenting with self-service restaurants: this is a cheap way to eat in Krakow, where you queue up with a tray. If you are Polish, you then order exactly what you want and have total control over portion sizes and so on. If you are an inarticulate foreigner, you say 'big' or 'small' when you get to the front of the queue, depending on plate size, and then point to what you want and hope for the best.
Yesterday we had lunch at U Pani Stasi (at Mrs Stacie's place). I ordered buckwheat porridge with lard, from the vegetarian menu. This was accompanied by a mug of sour milk. I hate to admit culinary defeat (once I ordered the saltiest bloody mary in the world when out for brunch with the BF's family) so I made my best efforts with the milk, but only managed to get halfway down. I can't help thinking that if it came in a sealed plastic bottle with 'pro-biotic' on the front I would probably not have thought twice. The BF ordered pierogi (like tortellini), also with lard. I had never thought of it as a condiment before.

We also tried a well-known vegetarian self-service place. The BF was the only man in sight. He would have had an outside chance of retaining some dignity if he'd not inadvertantly ordered elderflower cordial.

I've been expanding my vocabulary, and trying to come up with phrases I can slip into casual conversation as practice (impossible to remain inconspicuous since anything I say in Polish is enormously entertaining to my Polish student flatmates). Here is a summary, in translation:
-What is that?
-It is dog.
-I have dog.
-My parents have dog.
-I like dog.
-I really like dog
-What is dog like?
-Dog is nice
-What a charming dog!

People with dogs in Krakow, watch out...

1 comment:

The Dad said...

And there I was thinking that lard was a hair product for men who a) had hair and b) could not afford Brylcream. Poland sounds more exotic by the day, though perhaps when we go we will try to find a way to avoid the lard. Whilst I am happy to try foreign food, there are limits.
The penchant for dogs is a worry too. No wonder I had a dream last night where I lost the dog whilst recording Songs of Praise. I am still trying to work out why I was driving in the wrong direction, and where the snow had come from, during my search for the poor animal. Must learn the Polish for dog before we go, so we can recognise it on the menu - I am getting more nervous about this trip with every day that passes
I will have to console myself with Pimms and lemonade. At least with Pinolona in Krakow, the bottle should last a lot longer.