We’re sure you’re just as super excited for the Young Professionals ‘Taste of Poland’ event next week as we are here at the UNA-GB! In life, you may not be able to have your cake and eat it too, but here at the UNA-GB, you can make your all the pierogi you want and eat them until you’re completely satisfied! This blog post will be introduce you to the wonderful food form and throw in a few fun facts about Poland along the way.
What, exactly are pierogi you may ask? They are an age-old Eastern/Central European delicacy that serves brilliantly both as an appetizer as well as the main course of a meal. Pierogi are basically dumplings of unleavened dough – first boiled, then baked or fried with butter and onions. The best part is – perogies are super diverse and can be stuffed with anything, from potato filling and cheese to ground meat and sour cream, or even your choice of fruit. You can have all sorts of fun with cooking them too! Pierogi can be semicircular, triangular, rectangular or any shape you want if you’re feeling creative!
Traditionally considered ‘peasant food’, the exquisite taste of pierogi quickly spread across Poland throughout all social classes including nobles. Outside Poland, they are very popular in other European countries such as Slovakia, Romania and Ukraine. Many cookbooks from the 17th Century describe pierogi as a staple of the Polish diet, and each traditional holiday had its own special kind of pierogi. Different kinds of fillings and shapes are observed for occasions such as Christmas and Easter, and important events (such as weddings) have their own special kind of perogies – ‘kirniki’ – filled with delicious chicken meat. There are also ones made especially for mourning/wakes, and even some for caroling season in January!
Surely, a country that gave birth to this wonderful cuisine must be pretty amazing itself. Here are some fun facts you may not have known about the Republic of Poland to ‘chew’ over before Taste of Poland:
- Poland is the 69th largest country in the world, 9th largest in Europe.
- Poland boasts 17 Nobel Prize winners, including four Peace Prizes and five in Literature
- Polish born astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus was the first person to propose that the Earth was not the center of the universe
- Saint John’s Kupala is a popular holiday in which people jump over fires, a tradition that predates Christianity
- In Wroclaw there is an annual citywide medieval festival, including jousts, horse archery, medieval dances and other activities
- Pizza in Poland does not contain tomato sauce. The waiters bring sauce to the table in a pitcher, and you pour it on top. Sometimes, the sauce is just ketchup.
- There is a ‘Pope Channel’ on TV. Anytime one wishes to see the pope, they can tune him in
- In popular Polish culture, bananas are peeled from the blossom end, not the stem end
- The most popular name for a dog in Poland is Burek which translates directly to ‘brownish-grey color’
- In Poland, the name day is considered more important than the birthday
- Around 90% of Poles have completed at least secondary education
We hope all this information has you excited for YP ‘Taste of Poland’. Tickets are $15.00 only, and June 13th is quickly approaching. Be sure to mark your calendars, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to learn how to make pierogi from local Polish experts, enjoy eating your delicious creations, and meet with other globally minded Bostonians. Get tickets in advance please so we can buy the right amount of ingredients, details can be found here! We hope to see you all there!
Our “Taste of” series are back! Young Professionals kicked off the new year by enjoying authentic Japanese food!
On the 23rd, a group of 25 YPers came together at Itadaki Boston on Newbury Street for “Taste of Japan.” We gathered in a private room in the basement and had exquisite buffet-style Japanese tapas including ginger salad, Japanese spring rolls, pan fried gyoza, potato croquettes, boiled chicken and lotus root, and sushi rice.
Akira Muto, Consul General of Japan in Boston, was our guest speaker, and he spoke about his experiences as a diplomat. Also, we had the head chef of the restaurant give a few remarks about the delicious Japanese food that we were served.
While we were enjoying our authentic food, we also played a fun game of trivia in which fun questions about Japan were asked. Some examples of the questions include: What is the name of the academic and research arm of the UN, established in 1973 in Tokyo? United Nations University! What is the name of the tallest mountain in Japan called? Mt. Fuji! What does Itadaki mas mean? “Thank you for your life (everything).”
All in all, it was a fun night of good food and good company! Check out more photos from the evening here and make sure to join our upcoming events!
December has been the month of the Young Professionals with events ranging from film screenings to restaurant visits; YP has been very busy the last few weeks! The past two Wednesdays had YPers eating delicious international cuisines from Brazil and Mexico.
On the 5th, a group of 12 gathered at Oliveira’s Restaurant (297 Chelsea St) for all-you-can-eat Brazilian buffet. The food ranged from salads in varieties of greens, potatoes, olives, tomatoes, and pasta; to beans and rice; to meats where chicken hearts were a favorite tester; and finally to a scrumptious coconut chocolate confection for dessert.
As we enjoyed the ethnic food, we also got to learn a little about Brazil! For example, do you know what two South American nations Brazil does not share a border with? Chile and Ecuador! Can you guess how many stars are on the Brazilian flag? 27! And do you know what colors are on the Brazilian flag and what they stand for? Apparently the yellow stands for gold, the blue for sky and the green for forest.
The very next week, on the 12th, YP met once again to enjoy Mexican food at Ole Restaurant (11 Springfield St). 26 people crowded together in a private back room to taste traditional tapas dishes, which included the obvious guacamole and salsa with chips, quesadillas, melted cheese and mushroom, and fried plantains, all served with homemade corn tortillas! Similar to our Taste of Brazil, interesting trivia questions were shared, but also fun language cards floated around the room, teaching us that burrito actually means little donkey! Or coaching us on flirting phrases in Spanish, such as ‘isn’t that guy over there handsome?’
YP was lucky enough to get a demonstration from the head chef and owner of Ole about Mexican food, his relationship with it, how to make the best guacamole (don’t forget your lava stone!), and smelling the different chili peppers. We devoured the food and margaritas well into the night, unwilling and sad to end the evening.
We will be having our last event of the year, ‘Hotel Rwanda’ screening for a belated celebration of Human Rights Day on December 19th.
Happy December everyone and we hope that the holiday season is starting out well! Hope to see you all at some YP events in 2013!
UNA-GB’s Young Professionals were eager to kick off the new year by coming together for the “Taste of Venezuela” to celebrate the unique cuisine and culture of the South American country. The evening combined the flavors, traditions, and hot political topics of Venezuela.
The night took place at Orinoco Kitchen in Harvard Square, their newest location of three. Everyone experienced a Venezuelan style three-course meal. Martha, the manager of Orinoco, was born and raised in Venezuela and was happy for us to sample some of her favorite dishes of home.
Special guest, Venezuelan Deputy Consul Ingrid Ramirez, got the conversation off to a quick start speaking about the food, culture, and traditions of Venezuelans. She entertained the group with a story about the most popular Venezuelan food, the “arepa”. Deputy Consul Ramirez then went into the upcoming presidential elections in Venezuela.
The diversity of the guests contributed their knowledge of and experience in other South American countries such as Columbia and Brazil. These viewpoints gave everyone more of a perspective by comparing countries.
Everyone took part in an interactive trivia game put together by Venezuelan, Nacy Lir. A few facts learned: Venezuela is the 6th largest nation in South America and the price of gas is the lowest in the world at $.19/gallon.
The Venezuela natives were impressed by the authenticity of the Orinoco’s food, including Asado Negro, Polvorosa de Pollo, and Quesillo. As a non-native, I was impressed by the taste too–I had Polvorosa de Pollo for the first time and would highly recommend it! All in all it was una noche de comida chevere – a night of great food!
Next month, the Young Professionals will be hosting “On Tap: Women’s History Month,” and discussing women’s rights issues on the international forefront on Wednesday, April 4. Also join us for our next Taste Of event to be scheduled in late Spring. Stay updated via twitter!