Pozitively Poznan

25 07 2008

Poznan, Poland

If there’s one thing you can say about the Polish, it’s that they are fearless with their food. I think everyone could learn a few things from their culinary genius. Or maybe it’s just culinary bravery. I think that the Polish motto is “All ingredients can work together.” Nothing demonstrates this more than the steadfast milk bar. These little restaurants are called milk bars because of their heavy reliance on dairy to dole out protein to the hard working citizens. They do have some meat dishes, but those are the most expensive. So during our milk bar tour of Poznan, Gage and I did a lot of vegetarian eating. Since our little guide book didn’t give us a bunch of menu translations, we often found ourselves staring at menu boards and only being able to interpret about 6 words out of a few hundred. Our brains found it daunting, but our stomachs didn’t care if we were trying to interpret hieroglyphics, it demanded food. In other words, there was a bunch of blind ordering. We’ve had everything. A soup of milk, macaroni, and sugar. Buttered rice with pineapples, sugar, and whipped cream. Crepe-like pancakes stuffed with beets and cabbage. And it was all delicious. Let this be a lesson to all of us that there are no rules in cooking, only great combinations yet to be discovered.

Gage and I were able to enjoy this milk bar crawl because, well, we weren’t quite enchanted by Poznan. We did more eating than exploring. Now let me just calm down the Poznan patriots out there by saying that the city itself is perfectly fine, just not quite extraordinary. For instance, the market square has all the makings of a fine Polish tourist mecca if it wasn’t for a couple visual sins. The first being the freaky 70’s building the backs up to the gothic town hall.

Of course most residents of Poznan would agree that this architectural mismatch was a mistake. However, if you continue around the building to the front doors of the town hall you are again visually acosted by the adorable fisherman’s houses that appear to be painted like in the type of Aztec style that one would find in a kitchsy Mexican restaurant.

If it weren’t for the class and beautiful design of Krakow, Wroclaw, and Torun, Poznan would probably be able to get away with these strange eccentricities. But hey, there are plenty of people in the world who like irony, in which case the above mentionings will be seen as fantastic. More power to you.

We did take the time to visit the Citadel Park, which proved to be an interesting experience. The park is probably about 100 or more acres and it is interspersed with statues and sculptures every quarter mile or so. Interesting, but also a bit creepy as it appeared to be virtually abandoned. In the below picture you can see some of the headless statues in the background. Although at one point, we did come across a guy walking through the woods in full camouflage carrying a rifle who appeared to be just as shocked to see us as we were to see him. I know it seems scary, but my only regret was that we didn’t get the incident on camera. Don’t worry Poznan lovers, I know this isn’t common.

Poznan Suggestions:
– Rent a bike. Poznan is very wide and so it takes a lot of time to cover it. The city is also very bike friendly and the tourist office has bike maps that you can use to chart your path. And it’s the best way to see citadel park and Lake Malta.
– The milk bar in old town has the best pancakes (nalesniki) in Poland. Get one with any filling and you’ll be in heaven.




One response

25 07 2008

OK, what have you done with the real Jennifer?

I did a lot of cooking for that girl and I know for a fact that if there are more than two (three tops) ingredients, unless they are clearly recognizable and previously approved, that food item will be summarily rejected.

Crepe-like pancakes stuffed with beets and cabbage! Delicious! Obviously an impostor.

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