Saturday, April 03, 2010

In Which I Am Mistaken for a Pole "In the Know"

Living in the Outer Richmond, I have the incredible fortune of being within walking distance of stores and restaurants that offer every ethnic food I can imagine. This is a far cry from Wilmington, Del., which for the longest time had just one Thai restaurant.

So, after deciding to throw a Polish Easter feast for the brave souls who will oblige me, I set out today for the Polish deli and Russian bakery.

There was a line at the deli, so I queued up and began eyeing the shelves to see what I needed to pick up by the time I reached the counter to order the kielbasa. The black currant juice caught my eye. Thinking how tasty it would be in vodka, I picked up a carton.

Most of the people in line looked like me: hardy souls with big noses, round faces, light eyes. I have always wanted to visit Warsaw, from whence my DNA comes, with the fantasy that it would be a city full of people who looked totally familiar. Then a couple who were clearly not Polish stepped in and took their place behind me.

Judging from their conversation, somehow they had gotten themselves into the position (appropriately, a "pickle" ha ha) of providing a Polish Easter dinner, and they weren't quite sure what all that entailed. First, the woman worried they wouldn't be able to converse in Polish like the customers in front of us. Then she noticed the carton I was holding. She said to her partner, "Oh that looks good, let's get some of that."

I spied a jar of red cabbage and apples and, recalling a recipe I'd seen that I would like to include in my dinner but was too lazy to make, picked it up. Soon, she had scooped up a jar of her own.

When I got to the counter and ordered my polish sausage, they were debating which sausage to get. "Well, SHE got the polish sausage," the woman said.

I spread my wares on the counter, threw in a babka and some liverwurst as if I knew what I was doing, and handed over my cash.

Then I picked up my booty and made my way back to my little NWZCHIK-mobile with the Polish decal on the bumper -- for all this couple knew, on my way to cook up yet another dinner of Polish fare, thinking that they would appear appropriately Polish with their copycat purchases of a Delaware girl who only looks Polish, and doesn't know much about anything.

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