Polish Pride is Alive                 

A mix of stories.

Queen of American
Rock Music is Polish

Patricia Andrzejewski
High School Yearbook

Born 1-10-53 in Brooklyn, New York to a beautician and sheet metal worker, Patricia Andrzejewski became Pat Benatar while still a teenager. Although Pat was preparing for classical studies at the famed Juilliard School of Music, after graduating Lindenhurst High School on Long Island in 1971, before the decade had finished she was hailed as the Queen of Rock Music. The "G" on the album cover is just there to spell "GO", I guess. It would be pretty hard to spell i ¶ ć.

Our Music Page

See what a Polish Pizza Hut Website looks like click the logo above

Polish KFC Website

This page is coded for "charset=ISO-8859-2" - Polish alphabet

Poles 200,000 B.C.

Fred Flintstonski & Barney Rubblewicz? Archeological finds prove humans have lived in the Krakow area since 200,000 BC at least, and some 50,000 years ago a hamlet with a factory churning out stone tools prospered on Krakow's central Wawel Hill.

What's this doing in Church?

St. John's Cathedral in the Old Town of Warsaw, many guides tell tourists about the German tank that was driven into the church and which destroyed the south side. However, they do not always show you the track of the tank that was built into the wall during reconstruction; look for this on the ul. Dziekania side of the cathedral.

Toss the Kielbasa

Chicken Baked with Prunes, was prepared in the 14th century for the Bishop of Zeitz. The ingredients include sliced onion, shredded white cabbage, large prunes with their pits, chopped parsley, juniper berries, a large roasting hen cut in half, bay leaf, bacon, ginger, cinnamon, a red Hungarian wine, and a little dill seed. This bakes, covered, in an earthenware pan, and is served on boiled millet refried in oil or butter and accompanied by green mustard sauce. What you would taste, according William Woys Weaver, the editor and coauthor of Food and Drink in Medieval Poland, is the spirit of 14th-century Polish cuisine. Not French, mind you. Not Italian, or German even. But Polish.

Croissant invented in Poland,
so was the Bagel

Who made what first? Both Poland and Russia claim to have invented vodka. There's also debate regarding the origin of the bagel and croissant.

The origin of the bagel seems to be credited to Poland. The first printed mention occurs in Krakow. A list of community regulations in 1610 stipulated that bagels are to be given to pregnant women. No mention of religion or practice thereof was included. We've covered the Bagel issue in a previous post in the blog associated with this web site.

The next time you spread Philadelphia Cream Cheese on your morning bagel toasted or nuked - remember that it was invented 400 years ago in Krakow. At least there's pretty good evidence that it first appeared there in 1610.

Now we investigate the croissant. Sounds French doesn't it? Well, so does Polonaise. There has always been an intercultural thread between France and Poland. After all, the Presidential Palace in Poland is named Belvedere, and famous French author Victor Hugo once exclaimed, "I am Polish because I am French!" We can argue too, about who first made the crepe, but let's try to keep on track.

Many people have heard that the croissant was created in 1686 in Budapest, Hungary by a courageous and watchful baker, at a time when the city was being attacked by the Turks. Working late one night, he heard odd rumbling noises and alerted the city's military leaders. They found that the Turks were trying to get into the city by tunneling under the city's walls. The tunnel was destroyed and the baker was a hero, but a humble hero - all he wanted in reward was the sole right to bake a special pastry commemorating the fight. The pastry was shaped like a crescent, the symbol of Islam, and presumably meant that the Hungarians had eaten the Turks for lunch.

The problem with this story is that it's all made up. It first showed up in the first version of the great French food reference Larousse Gastronmique, in 1938. Later on, the story switched locations to Vienna, during the Turkish siege there in 1683, but that was also a fabrication.

Burt Wolf the famous journalist with a television program on PBS devotes an entire show to the culture and food of Krakow. In episode #509 in addition to an explanation of the croissant's birth in the ancient Polish city, he also lets us find out how the immodest sight of a woman's legs saved the town's Medieval wall. [More]

Cappuccino ~ Also a Polish Invention

After the battle of Vienna won by future king Jan Sobieski, they discovered many bags of coffee in the abandoned Turkish encampments. Using this captured stock, Franciszek Jerzy Kulczycki who acted as a spy just prior to the battle on 9-11 & 9-12, 1683 opened the earliest coffeehouse in Europe. According to legend, Kulczycki added milk and honey to sweeten the bitter coffee, thereby inventing cappuccino.

Kulczycki remains a popular folk hero and the patron of all Viennese café owners. Until recently, every year in October a special Kolschitzky feast was organized by the café owners of Vienna, who decorated their shop windows with Kulczycki's portrait. Kulczycki is also memorialized with a statue on Vienna's Kolschitzky street.

St. Andrzejki Day Rituals

Not diamonds, but picket fences, melted candle wax and walnut shells are a girls best friend on this special night. November 29th - just before the full moon is the Eve of St. Andrew's Day (St. Andrzejki Day). This is a special time for young Polish girls who want to find a husband. On this night and the next day, fortunes are told and the results are not taken lightly.

Here are a few ways that fortunes are told:

The most popular way is by melting wax and pouring it into a bowl of cold water. Wax is then picked up from the water, raised to the light, and the girls try to see the similarities of it to real objects.

Depending on the shapes, fortunes are told for the following year. If nothing meaningful comes up, there is always a chance that a girl will dream of something important dealing with her future, that night - but only if she could remember it.

In another traditional way of fortune telling, girls stand in a circle leaning over a bowl of water with a small floating walnut shell containing a tiny-lighted candle. Each girl pastes a slip of paper with the name of a favored young man on the inside edge of the bowl above the water. To whichever name the lighted candle sailed to and burnt, a marriage proposal from him could be expected.

Also, during the day, a girl counts to the fourteenth post on a fence to see what her future husband will look like - fat, thin, short, tall, old, young. In another game, a scarf, a ribbon, and a rosary are placed separately under three plates. A girl, her eyes blindfolded, turns around three times while other girls rearrange the plates. If she draws a scarf, it means marriage; a ribbon - single for another year; rosary - becomes a spinster or a nun.

So, for all the girls who participated in this ritual - we hope your dreams come true.

PS - St. Andrew was an apostile, brother to Peter. It is generally agreed that he was crucified by order of the Roman Governor, Aegeas, at Patrae in Achaia, and that he was bound, not nailed, to the cross, in order to prolong his sufferings. The cross on which he suffered is commonly held to have been the decussate cross (looks like a "X", now known as St. Andrew's.


Unique Architecture

The Crooked House built in 2003 is in Sopot a Polish Riviera town on the Baltic Sea near Gdansk and Gdynia. What inspired the architects were Per Dahlberg's drawings. Inside are numerous shops and stores along with the branch office for RMF radio broadcasting company. It lies on Bohaterów Monte Cassino Street, the town's most prominent promenade. If you feel like Alice in Wonderland, I certainly feel like the Hookah Smoking Caterpillar.
[More Info]

Polish Pirate

Count Maurycy Beniowski (also known as Baron Maurice de Benyowski) was born in Poland to a noble family. At that time Poland was partitioned into three parts, Beniowski was born in the Russian part. As a youngster he took part in the Polish uprising to liberate Poland from the Russian rule (Konfederacja Barska) and after being captured by Russians was sent into exile to Siberia. However he managed to escape and after some tumultuous years he found himself leading an armed expedition headed toward Madagascar.

On an African Island near Madagascar he managed to establish a stronghold, and pronounced himself the king of Madagascar. We can easily classify him as a pirate because he was not above attacking shipping lanes around Madagascar, and he didn't represent any authority. One of the nearby islands (Mauritius) was named after this Polish adventurer and to this day he is remembered there.

Thank German Critics

The term "Polish composers' school" was popularised in the early 1960s mainly by German music critics. This term was coined to name the specific style of Polish music in which the tone of sound is a foundation of the structure of a musical piece.

Stone upon stone, Brick upon brick

A [List] of over one hundred of the largest and most significant historical buildings in Poland.

From The Honolulu Star Bulletin
Want some polonaise with your poi?

The 35-member Folk Song and Dance Ensemble of the Agricultural Academy of Lublin, Poland, will share its music and dances during "Polish Days in Hawaii," beginning Sunday. Performances will be at Polynesian Cultural Center at 5:30 Monday through Thursday.

Prohibicja in Warsaw

This quirky American-styled restaurant harks back to the good old days when Al Capone ruled Chicago, and guys wore rather more stylish clothes than they do in this god forsaken age. Here you can get into the spirit of those charming gangsters and enjoy some fine cocktails, tasty food and a touch of jazz of course. Prohibicja was launched by four famous Polish actors, and pics of big characters in Polish cinema can be spotted on the walls, decked out in dapper 1930's costume. All in all a fun restaurant with a good location just by the Old Town Square. Next trip to Poland, give it a try.

3 Million Catholic Poles

The concentration camps which swallowed up the flower of European Jewry were first built to imprison Polish intellectuals and priests. The fact is, some 3 million Catholic Poles -- fully half the number of Jews murdered by Nazis -- died at the hands of Hitler's bloody legions. Even in the flickering light cast by the furnace fires of Auschwitz and Treblinka, the story of non-Jewish Poland under the Nazis has been left largely untold. It's widely known that some Poles were happy to see Hitler solve their "Jewish Problem". Less well known is the fact that many other Poles risked their lives to shelter Jews. And they died together in the millions --friends of Jews and anti-Semites alike.

The Best Way to Learn Anything

SuperMemo is a commercial name of the uniquely Polish technology used in optimizing the process of learning. It can be used to maximize the effects of training in all areas that involve memory. This includes applications such as sciences, technology, languages, touch-typing, playing musical instruments, and many more. The program SuperMemo employs mathematical techniques to compute the optimum intervals that should separate repetitions in the process of learning.

Optimization proceeds by tuning the memory model of an average person to the needs of a particular learner and a particular application. For properly designed applications, the algorithm used in computing the optimum intervals, makes it possible to sustain a constant level of knowledge retention of 95% with 6-10 repetition scheduled in the lifetime. This, for example, makes it possible to master a 40,000 item foreign vocabulary database in a period of 4 years, with the daily working time of 40 minutes.

An important characteristic of learning by means of SuperMemo invented by Piotr Wozniak of Poznań in 1994, is that the curve of knowledge acquisition is close to linear in the lifetime perspective.

Truth About Those Costumes

Historic Polish clothing is often associated with the colorful costumes worn by folk dance troops like our own Echoes of Poland Song & Dance Ensemble. But, these threads may not be as traditional as we think.

Some say folk costumes were a 19 th century invention, associated historically with the emancipation of the serf and improved economic conditions. Or, clothing known as "National Dress" based on the zupan and kontusz became a symbol of resistance to and independence from foreign domination during the partition years. For more information on costumes see Rick Orli's page.

Milk Bars

For years milk bars have been perceived as a sad relic of the People's Republic of Poland, a uniquely Polish gastronomic phenomenon doomed to disappear after losing business to fast food.

Recently milk bars have become a widely discussed issue. When the Ministry of Finance decided to cut subsidies for these institutions, the scale of protests forced a withdrawal of the decision. It seems these bars have a specific character which does not exist outside Poland. [Read More]

Joanna Krupa

Krupa is a Polish-American model and actress. Born in Warsaw, the daughter of hotelier Steven Krupa, she eventually moved with her family to the United States at the age of five.

Krupa has appeared on various magazine covers and Maxim named her the Sexiest Swimsuit Model in the World. She was also voted German Maxim's Model of the Year 2004-2005.

Poland's Mighty Allegorical Weapon
Effective in Power to the People

The most fabled event of the late Middle Ages was the murder in 1079 of Stanislaw, the bishop of Kraków. A participant in uprisings by the aristocracy against King Boleslaw II, Stanislaw was killed by order of the king.

This incident, which led to open rebellion and ended the reign of Boleslaw, is a Polish counterpart to the later, famous assassination of Thomas Becket on behalf of King Henry II of England. Although historians still debate the circumstances of the death, after his canonization the martyred St. Stanislaw entered national lore as a potent symbol of resistance to illegitimate state authority--an allegorical weapon that proved especially effective against the communist regime.


Miss Polonia 2008 Angelika Jakubowska

Click Picture
for larger view

Really Nice Eggs


The Polish high folk art form of decorating Easter eggs. The largest egg collection in the world is located in Chicago at the Polish-American Museum.
Modern technology has provided egg wraps.

A 13th century knight's castle, on a peninsula in Lake Zurich houses an extraordinary Polish Museum. Click the pic.

Short Menu

PolishToledo Home Page
Go Back One Page
Pol-Am Events
Polish Music & Polkas
Uniquely Polish
Polish Shopping Mall
Melodies of Poland
LaGrange St. News
Toledo-Poznan Alliance
Pol-Am Concert Band
Toledo Area Polka Society