Pickle soup, grandma’s cooking and a Polish spring bazaar | Dennis Box

I receive quite a number of releases about events going on around the region and I spotted one today that made me stop in my tracks. The 47th annual Polish spring bazaar at 1714 18th Ave. in Seattle from noon to 7 p.m. April 16. The bazaar sounds like fun, although I admit my fun threshold is embarrassingly low. But the bazaar wasn’t what hooked me. It was the pickle soup.

I receive quite a number of releases about events going on around the region and I spotted one today that made me stop in my tracks.

The 47th annual Polish spring bazaar at 1714 18th Ave. in Seattle from noon to 7 p.m. April 16.

The bazaar sounds like fun, although I admit my fun threshold is embarrassingly low.

But the bazaar wasn’t what hooked me. It was the pickle soup.

One of the top draws for the event is pickle soup. Does that sound great or what.

That is what I always liked about Polish food – it may not sound right, but it is so good.

My grandma was all Polish. Her parents immigrated to America around the turn of the century.

First my great-grandfather came across, then my great-grandmother loaded up the kids and followed. The story my grandmother always told me about her dad was he joined the Russian army. Once in the army she said he took off for America. Grandma was never quite sure how he pulled it off, but it was a real cool story to me when I was seven. It is still a real cool story to me.

My grandma and her parents landed in lower Burnett, which was a Polish community in the early 1900s located near Buckley.

She must have learned all those cooking secrets in lower Burnett from her mother. There was nothing in the world like my grandma’s soups, casseroles and desserts. Those were the days when I could eat anything and grandma made me anything I wanted.

I know this is hard to believe, but I was incredibly skinny when I was a kid. Grandma would cook me all these Polish dishes and fill me with desserts trying to fatten me up. My mom and grandma were sure this was the prescription to cure me, and I wasn’t about to argue.

Fortunately the fattening up didn’t happen until decades later, which means I was able to eat as much of my grandma’s wild blackberry pie with vanilla ice cream as possible with my bottomless pit of a childhood stomach.

Grandma’s pie crusts were always made the proper Polish way – with lard – flaky and always perfect.

I have never been able to make a pie crust to match my grandma’s. I’ve come close, but I don’t quite have the Polish secret.

Grandma taught me a lot with her cooking. I still can remember watching her covering a casserole with cabbage leaves. She said her mother told her it would keep the flavor and health in the food. She used a Polish word that I can’t remember, but the flavor was unforgettable.

I think I will go to that Polish bazaar and try some of that pickle soup.

 

 


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Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He is a former president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and lives in Vancouver. Contact thebrunells@msn.com.
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