I wish I could say that this blog is where I share all the knowledge and recipes passed down by my grandmothers, that what I share is rooted in a deep tradition from my motherland. But the truth is, it is not. ‘Babushka Training’ satisfies and challenges me and what I share is from what I teach myself by reading and watching and sometimes what my mother teaches me.
I did not grow up with my grandmothers. My parents left their home country when they were a bit younger than I am now. Many people in America know what this type of life is like. I met my grandmothers a handful of times. Some people move on, they are citizens of the world and find happiness anywhere they go. Some live their life with one foot back in their home country. My parents did a little of both and as their child I always felt a part of me was missing.
It wasn’t until I was older and started spending my days how I wanted that I started to yearn for deep old traditions. The beauty of folk art and culture really touched me. I was living in New York at the time and after moving around to 4 different apartments in 5 years I moved to the Polish neighborhood of Brooklyn called Greenpoint. It is a really charming little community that is now what you would call very ‘hipster’. But the Polish history still stands. I started going to the Polish church and the little deli and I realized I don’t want to loose this as I get older. I finally felt like I was home, I finally realized I missed this part of myself and If I didn’t work to keep it, it would just disappear.
This year seemed like the perfect year to really dive in to more babushka training. More time at home, more time in general! That’s what I am always lacking is time. But for some reason it was hard to motivate myself. But I realize now that I was practicing another skill, maybe an even more important skill. Babushka training isn’t just about cooking and baking and making, babushka is amazing because of her character. I posted on my Instagram and my last post that we can get through whatever this year is and it is because people have gone through worse, my babushkas were teenagers when WWII broke out in Poland. They were right in the middle of it all. Their country destroyed, people being killed for no reason except that they were Polish; hiding, fighting, living in fear. And then they raised their children in Communism. Their land was taken away and they had to live in apartments that were too small. Everything they stood for was no more, the only thing that got you ahead was to be a part of the ‘party’. Freedom as we know didn’t exist. But they endured. They were stronger than us.
That is what I have been thinking about this year. They were stronger than us. How can I be strong like them. So here is my babushka manifesto, what makes a real babushka. Maybe you feel the same way, maybe you call yours something else, in Polish it’s actually babcia. But at the end of the day, real babushka training is character. And with that hopefully we can carry the traditions of our ancestors as well.
doesn’t think of herself first
cooks you too much food, is always welcoming
doesn’t let you leave too quickly
does not care what people think about her
stays calm when things get crazy
will tell you the truth when needed
family is number one
takes her time
let’s you sneak in some chocolate once in a while
values the simple things in life
has high standards but will love you no matter what
is polite and has impeccable manners
Maybe your babushka was different and that is ok. Whatever in was in her that you looked up to, I hope you keep striving for that in your life. I hope your babushka will live in you and you pass that on to your future generations!
Peace and lots of love to anyone who reads this!