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...and they lived happily ever after. Smith & Lady: poets, artists, photographers & adventurers.
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Food (by request)

sample (foto by Lady)

A friend asked me to write about food.

I made Monastery Lentil Soup tonight. We feel virtuous and nourished. In his last post, Steve shared his recipe for liquid copper corrosion. So at the end of post I’ll share the recipe for the soup.

Ah, it’s good to have two burners and a fridge and a toaster in this studio apartment. But there’s no stove, so I can’t do any roasting or baking.


People sell fruit & veggies everywhere in Krakow. I can walk a couple hundred feet from our apartment in Kazimierz and I have access to an awesome market with fresh herbs and GOOD tomatoes. People even set up shop in the cracks between buildings. Produce is everywhere.

The first week here we bought a particular street food every morning. It’s a loop of dough, kind of a cross between a bagel and a pretzel. It’s chewy, so it takes a while to eat and it satisfies. And occasionally I can get one fresh baked, hot. My favorite comes covered in poppy seed, which I’ve discovered I like even more than sesame.

The main square in Krakow: full of restaurants and more of those crazy pretzel stands. And sometimes people selling fresh popped popcorn or even boiled corn-on-the-cob.

And the square’s good for free entertainment. Steve and I discovered the versatility of the accordion. A group of musicians make the circuit round the outdoor cafes, playing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons on accordions! (Also the night we heard Urban Jellen Test, one of the opening acts was a fabulously sexy and talented accordion player. Her voice and music haunts.)

And there are more of those silver and gold spray-painted people, who pose like statues and let you take their picture for a coin dropped into a box.


Food’s crazy cheap. My favorite thing is to buy a pint each of blueberries and raspberries and gorge, loading my oatmeal or my ice cream with nutritious cheap good fruit.

We found a superstore today, TESCO. Bigger than anything I’ve been to before, but strange in the scope of its offerings. Many, many baskets of cruciferous and root vegetables, twisted white turnip things. From what’s generally offered in the stores, it seems there’s not much desire to cook anything other than Polish or Italian cuisine. The Knorr brand is REALLY BIG here.

At the Polish TESCO, there are many choices in things such as canned whipped cream. You can buy chocolate whipped cream, which is very important, I think. We thought about it, but I’d already bought a toothpaste tube of Karmelowe Mleko topping for my ice cream. I’m only allowed so many indulgences at a time.


Cheese lovers do well in Europe, especially in the Netherlands. Get it right from the country which makes it, and save a bundle on import costs.

In Amsterdam, it was too expensive to eat at a restaurant. So we went nuts buying food in the supermarket. One morning we had cocktail shrimp on fresh croissants, gouda cheese. We ate outside the supermarket or in the main square every sun-silvered morning, and it was blessed. Oh, happy happy life!


Here’s a receipt from a couple days ago at a medium-size grocery store in Krakow. (Please realize, we buy fruit & veggies from the stands – so this is not a proper sample of our diet!)

MLEKO KONECKIE SW (caramel toothpaste) 2.09
Kolecz.z owsa Che (cheerios?) 4.99
KAVA Z KOGUTKIEM (Coffee of the Cock, our favorite brand) 4.29
Rosol Kogutec dro (chicken bouillon) 1.99
Orzechy ziemne so (peanuts) 1.99
Pomidory BK bez s (2 cans of plum tomatoes) 2.38
R Rajstopy Lycra (lycra stockings) 1.59
MORLINY BOCZEK B (bacon) 4.19
Ser Edamski Warmi (edam cheese slices) 2.99
POLGRUNT SOCZEWIC (lentils) 2.90
Workt na sm. LD gr (milk?) 1.99
SWEET TOP SLODZIK (Nutrasweet) 3.10
Maslo Smietankowe (butter, about 2 sticks) 1.99
Ciastka Wiatracz (2 pkgs. oatmeal cookies) 2.59
Jajka w opakowani (eggs) 2.39
CHLEB SLONECZNIKO (small loaf of dense, sourdough-like bread) 2.39
Ser Mozzarella w (2-3 chunks fresh mozz cheese) 2.99

Grand total 52.13 (about $17.20 USD)


And here’s the recipe:


1/4 C olive oil
2 red onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
fresh herbs, preferably thyme & marjoram to taste. Today I used about one cup total of basil, chives, parsley and rosemary. I dice everything except the parsley. I throw in entire parsley sprigs because it’s pretty.)
1 to 2 chicken bouillon chunks
2-4 cups water
2 cans plum tomatoes. Chop tomatoes in half when adding them to the soup.
1 C washed dry lentils
splash white wine or sherry
cheese of choice

Lightly salt and saute onions, garlic and carrots in olive oil until onions become translucent. (Italians lengthen this process. They first saute the garlic, then add the onions until translucent, then the carrots. They call this “to make tasty” or insaporire.) Add fresh herbs and saute 2 more minutes. Add lentils, tomatoes (plus their liquid) and two cups water and 1 cube bouillon. Add more water if necessary to cover solid ingredients.

Bring to a boil, and then let simmer. Sample occasionally – add other cube of bouillon only if really, really necessary. Add more water if soup evaporates too much.

Let simmer for at least 1.5 hours if not longer. Lentils should be cooked long enough such that one isn’t grossed out by a sandpapery texture.

After done cooking, splash in white wine or sherry – usually just 1/4 to 1/2 C.

Garnish servings with cheese. Parmesan is good if the soup is not too salty, otherwise I like swiss.

2 Responses to “Food (by request)”

  1. smith says:

    the tesco store we went to was larger than a walmart (so i’m told – i have but one distant walmart experience so have nothing to judge). the store was soul sucking, sterile, more american than america. had to use my compass to find our way back out. saw one party who’d been lost so long they were eating each other. on the good foot, i got a 24 zlotych (pronounced zwot-e) sweater jacket – which is $8 american.

  2. Looks like I know what I’m making for weeklong, Cleve-fall-chill resisting meal!

    Kathy, let me know if you want any of the recipes in the cookbooks you gave me. I’ll type them up and send them.

    PS Smith’s influence is growing but very subtle. Today Poppy seeds, tomorrow some other poppy product (wink wink nudge nudge)

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