Kielbasa does not belong in soup

Welcome to a post that is sure to infuriate my mother. That’s just what happens when one of us makes fun of traditional Easter foods and the other subscribes to this blog.

Truth be told, I wouldn’t have even realized that Easter is this Sunday except that I went to visit my brother last weekend and he and his wife were preparing for the holiday. More specifically, my sister-in-law was blowing the contents of a dozen raw eggs through a pin hole at their dining room table.

“We usually just boiled the eggs before we dyed them,” I said as casually as I could manage.

“I know,” she said. “But I don’t want to eat the eggs if they’ve been sitting out.”

This statement, of course, prompted a big discussion about how long a hardboiled egg could be left in a basket of fake grass before turning rancid. My brother and I were adamant: four days. From Good Friday through Easter Monday.

“He’s right. We did do that,” I said. “We left them out for at least that long and then made egg salad.”

“Oh, I have no doubt you did it,” she replied. “I just don’t think it’s safe.”

I thought that was a perfectly valid point because there are actually a great many things our family did that were fundamentally unsafe. The archery target that we set up in our backyard and the old tire that we hung from a steel cable and called a swing come to mind. Just add the eggs to the list.

But then my brother made a valid point of his own: “But if we don’t boil them, then we can’t make egg salad.”

“I’ll make a quiche,” she said, swirling the bowl of raw egg at him from across the room.

I was with her. So long as she didn’t ask me to sit around and blow yolk, quiche sounded like a great idea to me.

“I actually hate egg salad,” I said. “And ham too. And you know what else I don’t like? Easter soup.”

Never heard of Easter soup? Don’t worry, she hadn’t either. It’s a traditional Polish dish that the writers at describe as a “slightly sour soup broth made from kielbasa cooking water served with sliced sausage and hard boiled Easter eggs.”

“It’s salty,” I added. “And pink.”

In case you haven’t guessed, I really hate it. And that’s a shame really because most Polish food is quite awesome. “Beige and delicious” is how I often put it.

Plotskis – potato pancakes or latkes to most people – fall into that camp. I love them. In fact, one of my earliest childhood memories involves my father trying to make them on a griddle in our kitchen – though I don’t remember if they were for Easter or some other special occasion that we decided to celebrate by nearly burning down the house.

Also good is haluski, or buttered noodles and cabbage. I have yet to find another recipe that feeds six for less than $5. It’s for that reason that I took to making it once a week while living in Nigeria.

And then there’s stuffed cabbage – or at least that’s what my grandmother called it when she made it for dinner some twenty five years ago.

“You know stuffed cabbage,” she insisted. “Your mother makes it all the time.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I told her.

When she finally took the dish out of the oven, I realized the problem.

“That’s a golumki,” I said.

I was all of seven at the time and it’s my dream that some day my nephew schools me the same way.

At any rate, for those celebrating Easter (Mom) – have a lovely holiday. May your eggs be fresh and your soup be pink. And if that doesn’t sound appealing, just do what I do and reach for the chocolate.

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