Tuesday, August 28, 2007

It All Starts Here.

Plate o' ham at Easter brunch.

Polish people eat a lot of ham.

I know this because my family is Polish and whenever it is a holiday or we have people coming to visit (in particular, Polish people), my stepfather heads to the Polish deli in Garfield, NJ, and he purchases mass quantities of Polish ham, which our family and guests will eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner—even for a snack.

In comparison, Americans have few options when it comes to ham. When visiting an American deli counter, one would normally ask for a half-pound of just plain old ham, or if they are feeling adventurous, perhaps some of the honey-glazed or maple variety. At a Polish deli, however, you will encounter shelf after shelf of pork products—smoked, baked and flavored in a multitude of ways. One would order a variety of hams so they can be enjoyed together. At Easter brunch at my family’s house this year, I estimate we had a selection of about 10 different kinds of ham.

I speak of ham, not because I am a great lover of Polish pork products (while enjoyable, I’d prefer a turkey sandwich any day), but because I am excited to announce that in the next few months, Polish ham will become a regular staple in my diet.

After much dreaming, soul-searching, researching, whining, crying and scheming—I have decided to quit my day job working at one of the most successful woman’s magazines and leave my New York City apartment, my devoted boyfriend/roommate, Dan, all my friends and family and the life I know to travel to Eastern Europe solo for three and a half months.

My trip will start and end in Poland, the country where my family comes from and the place where pierogi, vodka and of course, Polish ham, are abundant. I also plan to travel to Poland’s neighboring countries, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria and Germany, to experience the charms each of these places has to offer.

My goals are simple: See a lot of things, meet many people, learn about my family and heritage, experiment with local cuisine, experience life outside a cubicle, and write all about it. Hopefully, I will discover something about the world and at the same time, something about myself.

This is my blog which will chronicle my journey. This is entry one.


Brian said...

How do you say "Bon Voyage" in Polish?

Get back to me.



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