Return PolishForums LIVE
  PolishForums Archive :
Archives - 2005-2009 / Life  % width 17

POLISH HOSPITALITY STILL ALIVE AND WELL?


Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448  
6 Sep 2009 /  #1
Some say that overpowering, never-take-no-for-an-answer, arm-bending ‘polska gościnność’ has waned somewhat over the past two decades. Do you agree? How would you compare today's Polish hospitality to that of other countries: British Isles, Germany, France, Italy or Scandinavia? Is this a general Slavic trait?
OsiedleRuda  
6 Sep 2009 /  #2
not in my family, it hasn't.
frd 7 | 1,399  
6 Sep 2009 /  #3
Some say

Who?
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448  
6 Sep 2009 /  #4
Pol-Am travellers who visited Poland decades ago and at present, as they have a scale of comparison. Used to be that Polish relatives would take off from work so they could show their Polonian families around, wine and dine them to death, take them from relative to relative and at each venue there was a major booze-up and pig-out. They would also try to load you down with souvenirs, linen tablecloths (my mum's still got one she was given back in the mid-1960s), not to mention dried mushrooms, spirytus... It didn't help to say you cannot take food into the USA, because "jakoś to będzie...dacie sobie radę". Also everyone drank the same bottle, you weren't allowed to miss a round ("oszukujesz!") and only the meanest of hosts allowed an unemptied bottle to be left on the table. By contrast, Poles who visited America often remarked about American hospitality: Nalał po kieliszku wódki, resztę schował do lodówki.
ShelleyS 14 | 2,893  
6 Sep 2009 /  #5
Some say that overpowering, never-take-no-for-an-answer

Not in the shops or bars. Its more like, they really wish you would die because you caused them an inconvenience for even daring to want to spend your money!

I will however say, it is a different matter when visiting someone Polish...my friend used to first offer me something substantial (cold meats and bread or some form of stew), after saying no, honestly Im fine, she would bring out a plate of cakes and then after politely saying thank you very much, honestly Im fine, she would then bring out a plate of biscuits...they are relentless! Its sweet though -it's just like going to visit my parents...there is always that feeling that they just want to feed you whether you like it or not! :0)
frd 7 | 1,399  
6 Sep 2009 /  #6
I think it's similar now, at least with drinking// you can never miss your turn.. following a famous polish Checkers proverb changed into a drinking proverb

"Za nie picie tracisz życie" ; )
With food it's probaby different in every place, older people who remember war or communism may still be like that - cultivating overeating ;) But there's less and less of such people. During war and communism.. especially war, there wasn't much to eat, so when finally these people lost their shackles and entered capitalism, got their hands on shops with stalls overflowing with food it had become a custom to cook fat and heavy dishes, especially for guests..
ShelleyS 14 | 2,893  
6 Sep 2009 /  #7
older people who remember war or communism may still be like that - cultivating overeating ;)

My friend is 23! lol...
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
6 Sep 2009 /  #8
The Poles have a tradition of treating guests well and this isn't going to change any time soon. They save in other ways in order to present a veritable feast. I am always very grateful to my various hosts, especially my fiancee's parents.

Scotland also has this tradition in the west coast lands. Although Poland and Scotland have basic cuisine compared with the French, we can maximise what we have and do our utmost to make guests feel welcome. Alcohol plays its part too :)
Eurola 4 | 1,906  
6 Sep 2009 /  #9
Polish hospitality is alive and well. Every time I go to Poland I'm sick and tired of duplicate dinners and suppers. Nobody seems to understand "no, thanks I just ate". It's kind of sweet, but also annoying at times. There is no age barrier, so the 'communist' era excuse of food shortage is not the reason... Even in the communist "era" guests were never hungry and the abundance of food showing up on the table was amazing.

The bad part of it, if I wanted to chat with the hostess, I needed to be in the kitchen watching her whipping up all the food 'Coz she'd never had the time to actually sit at the table.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
6 Sep 2009 /  #10
Good points there, Eurola. Even when I could pack away a lot of food, I struggled. It was like this at my grandparents' place in Inverness too. I was offered a main course today in Zabrze after having soup. I had to refuse as I am on a diet. They are just too generous but we all have different agendas.

I bet even the really low earners in Poland would somehow be able to russle up sth good and hearty. Polish black magic, a well kept secret :)
frd 7 | 1,399  
6 Sep 2009 /  #11
My friend is 23! lol...

Shelly I just pointed out the origins, of course there are people who were influenced by their families and maintain the same level or maybe kind of hospitality. I still think that serving loooots of food is a rather old custom and most young people won't act like that..

Eurola

I dunno how many Poles you've met, but I can assure you that it's different.. I know lots of young people who are into mediterranean cuisine, who don't each large quantities and serve their guests same portions of food.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
6 Sep 2009 /  #12
Young people have a more come and go attitude. They haven't had the years of experience that their parents have had in food preparation. They are more likely to venture off the beaten track when it comes to trying new dishes.
frd 7 | 1,399  
6 Sep 2009 /  #13
Hmm, well, I can only add that half of my family died on tuberculosis during WW2 or just after it because of great starvation during that times, and my grandparents and probably many other people become prejudiced that if somebody is thin that mean he is starving and/or ill. That's why they fed their children with great amounts of food because a plumpy child was a healthy child, and a table covered with dishes is a table in a healthy household. I think that partially was a reason for overfeeding guests even nowadays :)
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
6 Sep 2009 /  #14
Poland is a country that sticks with traditions so I think you are right. We think likewise in Scotland but modern lifestyles call for modern options. I don't want to eat much after swimming and doing other forms of exercise. If I wanted to be super healthy, I'd eat more vitamins and buy from these health food shops.

I think another part of it is that they wouldn't want guests to leave with the impression that they scrimped and were stingy. There is also the expectation that a variety of foods will be produced.
frd 7 | 1,399  
6 Sep 2009 /  #15
I wonder if there might be a notion of "foreign guests" and a thought "Oh we have to show them how we dine in Poland!!" bringing out the artillery to the table ; )
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
6 Sep 2009 /  #16
I undoubtedly have that impression. I'll never forget the time I was meditating outside a church and was approached by an old guy who could clearly see I was a foreigner. He invited me back to his flat to visit his wife and son. They live near where I do. His wife produced the most amazing bigos. She also brought out some classy mushrooms (not that kind, lol). There I was, sitting with complete strangers and enjoying what they had to offer. That memory is etched indelibly into my mind. It also improved my confidence with using Polish amongst unknown people.

I received the same excellent food at my second Japanese GF's house but it took quite a while for me to get their trust. Poles and Scots have a more natural entente.
Eurola 4 | 1,906  
7 Sep 2009 /  #17
You're right frd about the more exotic food that younger Poles will treat their guests with and I've noticed they are fond of Mediterranean dishes and BBQ. It is sure much faster to prepare than making pierogi and bigos! Nonetheless, still a lot of food on the table...and not taking "no, I'm full, thanks". I have lots of family and friends across different regions of Poland. Still the same.

I visited also two households in France, the last time I was in Europe. There was also plenty of food, but most was bought and only some prepared at home. Nowhere near the amounts as in Poland, but certainly enough. And, I liked not having any platters of food put in front of me to have some more and more..., when I've stopped eating already.

Archives - 2005-2009 / Life / POLISH HOSPITALITY STILL ALIVE AND WELL?Archived