EatinEatOut : Holiday 2012
66 WWW.EATINEATOUT.CA so many beliefs and superstitions have formed around this day. Christmas boasts many traditions held in high regard by the Polish. Once houses are cleaned, families wait patiently for Gwiazdka (the first star) to twinkle in the sky before the festivities can begin. Once spotted, families gather around a dinner tabled dressed with hay and a white table cloth. Always present in hos- pitable Polish homes, but most definitely a tradition observed during Wigilia is the extra setting of tableware and a vacant chair both for any weary stranger who may pass by and to celebrate those who have departed. Not a morsel gets eaten before the breaking of the oplatki, a tradition built around letting go of old grudges and remembering family members who have passed in the previous year. The foods served at Wigilia dinner are meant to represent the four corners of the earth - mushrooms from the forest, grain from the fields, fruit from the orchards, and fish from the lakes and sea. Though meals vary from family to family, it is customary to begin with borscht with mushroomuszka dumplings followed by a fish dish, vegetables and pierogi, a potato and cheese or cabbage and mushroom filled dumpling. Dinner is followed by the exchange of gifts and midnight mass with friends and family. These Pierogi are traditional in the po- tato and cheese sense, but I snuck a little sauerkraut in them for an extra kick of flavour. Serve these instead of your usual potato dish and you might inspire a new tradition at your family’s holiday feast!