Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Problem with Poland

We're all a bit wary of Poland.

Many of you Europeans resent Poland for having pulled out of the 2005 Junior Eurovision Song Contest, thereby denying the rest of Europe the sound of fresh, Polish talent. For some of you Americans, you know that Poland was somehow involved in World War II, which meant that Poland was saved from evil by the mighty U.S. of A. and better remember that anytime anything comes up for vote at the U.N.

But me, it’s their candy I take issue with.

Poland, along with a host of countries that many Americans still call the Soviet Union, has a tendency to produce really bad chocolate, and in particular chocolate with fruit. All of the chocolate names tend to end with “ka,” which I’d like to think means “sweet goodness” or “chocolate fun,” but may just as well mean “ka.”

I first encountered “ka” chocolate when I began dating L. in New York at the beginning of this century. His Polish landlady was obsessed with L. and his roommate, Jesus, and each week gifted them with 10 boxes of liqueur-filled chocolates. Being the only person up in that apartment before 4 p.m. on the weekends, I was forced to eat box after box of these chocolates, which were often in the shape of hearts and roses and all sorts of things that 24-year-old boys don’t want to be receiving from their 400-year-old landlady.

When we finally left New York, I decided I never wanted to come across any “ka” chocolates ever again, and managed to avoid them—barring a nasty encounter in a Latvian airport—up until last Saturday.

It was the morning of Anders’ wedding, and I was up at the crack of dawn, stirring my Cola Cao (everyone’s favorite racist hot chocolate!) and trying to figure out what to do with myself until everyone else woke up. I decided to go exploring, but within a half an hour I had somehow wandered out of the picturesque medieval part of town and into commercial industrial hell.

I entered a sweets shop with the hopes of asking for directions (one of my favorite tricks), and was shocked to discover nothing but Polish candy from floor to ceiling.

I bravely bought a few pieces of Miezanka krakowska and was set on the right path by the candy lady.

And after a five-year hiatus from “ka” chocolates I have to admit that they’re really not so bad if you don’t expect much. They’re the kind of chocolates that finish off the night—the ones that tell you that there’s nothing left to see, no one else to flirt with. The hopes of all parties and Friday nights die in this chocolate...which is a good way to get people out of your house at 3 a.m.

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Anonymous said...

you spell Mieszanka like three different ways in your post

Moko said...

that's because the s, z, p, e, r, t, and the famous Polish "tfut," are all silent in Polish, allowing for multiple spellings.

Anonymous said...

of course you don't like polish chocolate you are the typical uncultured American who has never left the country and the closest thing to real chocolate you have ever tasted was Hersheys. Grow up and maybe read a history book and realize that most likely without Poland your ass wouldn't be here.