7 Pet Peeves of Polish Grandmothers

old woman 3First, let’s be clear, Polish grandmothers are the greatest you could ask for, but we all know they have funny quirks and reactions to certain things. It’s with this in mind, that I bring you the 7 things that drive Polish grandmothers crazy.

When you’re too skinny:

The word skinny has a very broad definition in the Polish grandmother lexicon. It would probably be safe to say that anyone under 300 pounds is too skinny, but I’m sure there are Polish grandmothers who would expand that interpretation to 400 pounds.

The point is, you will always be too skinny for your Polish grandmother, and she will always want you to stuff your face with more pierogi. It’s a battle you cannot win, so don’t even try.

When it’s windy outside and you’re not wearing a jacket:

To your Polish grandmother, wind is a carrier of disease, destruction and death, even if it’s a light summer breeze. So if it’s 65 degrees out and you’re wearing short sleeves, be prepared to account for your actions when your Polish grandmother sees you.

She’ll probably yell, “Ubierz się, bo zmarzniesz!!!”

 

dinner

Standard portion sizes offered by a Polish grandmother

When you don’t finish everything on your plate AND  on the table:

 

This ties in with the too skinny  pet peeve. One does not simply finish dinner when his or her Polish grandmother is watching. Even if you clean your plate, she’ll still be upset that more food remains on the table which you are not taking advantage of.

Should you happen to finish all food on said table, your Polish grandmother will smile and bring you more food which she was saving in the pot on the stove.

When you’re not completely manhandling your competition in your school or work life:

If you have a Polish grandmother, you need to be THE BEST. THE VERY BEST. This goes for all aspects of life. It’s normal for your parents and grandparents to want you to succeed, but your Polish grandmother wants you to be a god.

So if you have a masters degree, you’d better be applying for that PhD program. If you are vice president of a multinational company, be prepared to justify why you are not president.

When you cough or sneeze…once:

You and your Polish grandmother are sitting at a table. Suddenly, some dust flies into your nose and you sneeze. As far as your Polish grandmother is concerned, you now have Ebola.

She will immediately ask,  “Co ty tak kichasz?” and warn you not to go out because you’re sick and you don’t want to make it worse.  Indeed, she will not be satisfied until you are in bed resting and sipping hot tea.

TV PGWhen  you watch anything violent on TV:

If you’re a fan of action or horror films, don’t reveal that side around your Polish grandmother since all such movies are a bad influence and represent the work of the devil. In fact, if you’re watching Star Wars Episode I, Darth Maul might be confused with the devil—not saying that did or didn’t ever happen.

When you have allowed any kind of food or drink to wystygnąć (cool off):

One of the worst things you can do in front of your Polish grandmother is let your food or drink  get cold. It’s like it becomes poison when it’s not scorching hot. Even if you are personally ok with eating lukewarm soup, your Polish grandmother will insist that it be warmed up at once.

As a result, such products as iced tea and cold cereal are abominations to your Polish grandmother and should be discontinued immediately.

Any other pet peeves of Polish grandmothers? Comment below!

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38 thoughts on “7 Pet Peeves of Polish Grandmothers

  1. Put your shoes on! If you are going barefooted, you are sure to die of exposure! Remember, having shoes was a sign of prosperity – don’t make your family look like they can’t afford to get shoes for you!

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    • But at the same time, when you enter a house you must take your shoes off and put on kapcie. If you attempt bare feet, even in the house, you will be attacked with 10 different options of socks or kapcie that you must put on regardless of the fact that it’s 110 degrees and your feet are sweating like a river.

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    • Never go here foot even at the beach ,never enter your home with shoes on and bring dirt into the house, always where slippers .

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  2. My Polish grandmother hardly ever wore shoes around the house and I’m the same way. Bare feet are the way to go. The house was always cozy warm because she always had the cook stove fired up and something delicious on the burners or in the oven or both. I loved her duck soup.

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    • Czarnina!! I love duck soup. I learned while visiting Poland that they serve it if they don’t like the person their daughter is going to marry.

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  3. A full meal isn’t truly a meal unless there are three different meats being served. A single meat dinner of fried pork chops and all of the side dishes is considered a snack.

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    • Those are backup meats!! Lol
      Just in case you have other guests arriving to the house.
      It would be a sin if they left the house hungry!

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  4. Bóg wiedział, że nie może być wszędzie – więc stworzył babcię.
    God knew that he can’t be omnipresent, so he has created the grandmother.
    No, mine was not never over-demanding. I miss her terribly after 59 years…

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  5. Oh how I miss the Polish Christmas traditions and most definitely the Czernina. I actually heard a lady ask at the local meat market here in Washington State if they ever had duck blood. We try to keep some of the traditions going.

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    • Our local Polish Butcher Shop” Zavotski’s “usually has fresh Homemade Czernina with Kluski on hand. I get it regularly And it is delish.

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  6. I miss my sweet gramma. I remember when my sisters and I had pancakes and left quite a bit of syrup on our plates. Gramma made more pancakes so she could use up the syrup. Waste is a sin!

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  7. My Polish Grandma saved every single bag that came into her house for future use. Zip lock bags could be used time and time again. She used to wash them! Old bread bags were great to line your snow boots with!

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  8. My grandma does the same. She saves every plastic bag, container, styrofoam plates or any other package for future use. The same happens with newspapers, carton boxes and many other.

    In addition she always wants to give me something old-but-never-used like towels or bed clothes or some plates. All this stuff comes from time when you wasn’t able to buy anything (’80 in Poland – we live in Poland), because it simply wasn’t available in shops at all (na półkach tylko ocet). I have no idea how she managed to get it all while she was raising 2 kids and working 12 hours every day, 6 days a week (at that time she didn’t have a car and even a washing machine)

    I loved the article. It made my day. 🙂

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  9. MY mon,also used her yogurt container for glasses. She also had a grocery store full of toilet paper. When she passed i asked my brother if he wanted to take some toilet paper home with him. He laughed really alot, he lived in Indiana at the time.

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  10. just loved the walk back in time.remembering all the old customs an the peoplewho took part in them.tthe old polish songs forgot some of the words.nobody to sing them with.it was so heart warming.thank u all 4your input

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  11. My Busia and Dza Dza saved EVERYTHING. If something broke, Grampa’s would try to fix it. If he couldn’t fix it , he would take it completely apart, saving every part for future repairs on other things. Paper and plastic bags, pickle or Hering jars. There was a small cabinet in the bathroom between the tub and the toilet inside was a tin box that contained small slivers of used bar soap. They were green, white. Blue, brown, black, a veritable rainbow, and the smell was intoxicating. When Busia had enough collected, she would melt them all down and make large bars out of them. They were by no means poor, but they went through some lean times right after they came to this country. They never forgot. I miss them so.

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    • I remember my TaTa fixing the soles & heels of my shoes in the cellar of our apt. We were in America then – but they were still pretty poor. They were amazing people.!!!! I miss them to this day.!!!!

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    • I have a Polish Dr. and he interpreted everything my grand parents mentioned to me about sitting on cold concrete and hemorrhoids, wear that knitted hat or you’ll get sick. Although what may seem to be old wives tales are actually true, my Dr. mention how the heat escaping through the top of my heat can drop my body temp. down causing my body to fight harder to maintain a proper body temp. These all make sense to me and as long as babcia said to do so I did. I miss my Babcia.

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  12. I so enjoyed this website and all of the responses – brought back lots of sweet memories. I lost my sweet Polish grandma when I was 13, but have so many wonderful memories of her. We lived in the apartment above her so got to breathe in daily the wonderful aromas of her fabulous cooking and she always let me help her make homemade noodles, pierogies, and chrischiki. Your never left her kitchen hungry. She would never let me leave the house without a hat on and always made sure my feet were dry and warm. My best memory is the sound of her voice singing to me in Polish as we sat in her rocking chair or the backyard swing.

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    • I also enjoyed the website and the responses. I was only 2-1/2 when my father brought me, my brother and my mother here just before the war. My grandmother was left in Poland because she didn’t want to come to America. My Mom taught me all of the customs and the language. I visited one of my cousins in Poland a couple of years ago with my youngest son, and we both enjoyed it tremendously. My cousin reminded me so much of my Mom who passed away many years ago. I miss her a lot! We got to visit many of the beautiful cities in Poland.

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      • My family came here after the war when I was 2 and my Babcia came here in 1960.. It was my father who wouldn’t allow shoes on the table, even if they just came from the store. We came here from Belgium in 1952. My family is originally from Poland. I just thought your story was so similar to mine that I had to respond, I hope you don’t mind.

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  13. I remember my grandma making her own homemade kielbasa and myself and my brother using the hand grinder, we always had homemade kielbasa for Easter and Christmas! Also, always saying, don’t go outside with wet hair!!

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  14. Busia’s behavior will border on violence if you do one of two things.
    1. Put shoes on the table….even if they’re still in the box from the store.
    2. Attempt to refuse the money she will insist you accept at the end of the visit. I don’t know if Bill Gates has a Polish grandmother, but if he does, he won’t get out of her house without a few of her dollars in his pocket.

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    • Yes, that is so true! I remember one time when some elder cousins or aunts (not my busia, but definitely busias), left money hid everywhere in our house one time when they came to visit after my Dad said, no he didn’t want any money. We found 10.00 bills even rolled up inside the toilet paper in the bathroom!

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  15. Of course, #1 on the list should have been “Not enthusiastically eating ANYTHING that she has cooked, no matter how much you might loathe that particular food in general”.

    Oh, the nasty looks (and comments) I used to get from my Busia when I refused to eat her barszcz! (Or, as I called it, “barf”.) As far as I’m concerned, beets are the Devil incarnate, and no amount of love for (or anger from) my grandmother was ever going to make eat those foul, moldy-tasting roots. But every time that unnatural magenta liquid appeared at the table, I knew that there was going to be Hell to pay.

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