Spring equals Fall?

Today is Daffodil Day here in Australia.  This is a huge fundraiser by the Cancer Council (much like the American Cancer Society for those back home) that is held every year to raise funds for research etc…  The event, in a nutshell, is people all over the city selling merchandise to raise the funds.  Most of the volunteers are school children in their uniforms and they are quite adorable and earnest about selling as much as they can.  I always buy from the boys that stand on Wharf 4 of Circular Quay as I am getting off the ferry.  My reasoning is simple:  people will approach you over and over during your morning commute asking you to support the Cancer Council; but if they can see that you have already bought something than they leave you alone.  So, I try to buy something the instant I step into the city.  In hindsight, I wish I had waited and bought from the two 10 year old boys at the exit of the St. James Station.  They were having a very serious discussion with each other about where exactly to stand to maximise their sales thereby raising more money.  What cuties!  This year I bought a sunny little bunch of actual Daffodils.  It’s a very small bunch for $5.00; but for such a good cause that I would have paid double that.  They are quite fragrant and, as I sit here at my desk, basking in Spring flowers and dreaming about the 67 degree day outside the windows right now, it’s hard to reconcile that it’s actually almost September.  Anywho – here are some facts about Daffodil Day:

  • This year Daffodil Day celebrates its 25th anniversary in Australia
  • The largest national fundraising event of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, Daffodil Day raises essential finds for cancer research, prevention and support services.
  • The daffodil is the international symbol of hope for all touched by cancer
  • This year Daffodil Day aims to raise over $9.5 million to fund the cancer control initiatives, patient support and research services of Cancer Council's eight state and territory member organisations
  • More than 10,000 volunteers are expected to staff over 1,200 Daffodil Day sites across Australia

Last night a friend with a car was nice enough to drive me out to a little Polish deli in Roseville.  As you know (if you read my last post), I am having a pierogi party tomorrow and I was hoping to get some authentic and delicious kielbasa to cook up with the pierogis when we are done working for a much deserved reward dinner.  Well! It was incredible!  If you live in Sydney you should go there and buy as much deliciousness as you can carry home.  I cannot recommend it highly enough!  This place is called European Taste Smallgoods and Delicatessen – they don’t have a website; but if you Google them you will find lots of articles about them.  They are at 19 Hill St. in Roseville….  It’s a very tiny place – just enough space for a couple of deli cases and some dry goods on the other side.  Pretty much everything was in Polish which made me feel proud and sad and sorry all at once.  Proud of being Polish, sad for Dad being gone and sorry that we never learned Polish growing up.  I checked out the deli cases while the customer before me was being helped and found what I was looking for!! 

The woman behind the counter (who I also think was one half of the couple that own it) made me think of Grandma Ziebro – in those pictures before her hair went all grey.  Anyway, she helped me find the kielbasa I wanted – there was only smoked in the case so I asked her for fresh.  She gave me a suspicious look and said “Only in freezer, only in package of six – you still want?”  Indeed I did.  She handed it to me a little reluctantly and I asked her if it was the same flavor as the smoked garlic one I was getting.  She said no.  I asked what the difference was and she said “This one raw – you must cook!”  Poor woman, I kept trying to tell her that I knew that it was raw meat and that I needed to cook it ; but I think she was nervous to sell it to me cause she thought I would take it home, eat it raw and get sick.  She packaged them up though and as she was ringing them up she asked me why I was buying so much.  I told her about the party and that I was teaching people how to make pierogis.  She immediately paused and took the handle of the shopping bag and pulled it to her side of the counter.  I was still waiting for the total when this conversation happened:

Her – “You are going to teach people how to make pierogis?”
Me – “Yes….”
Her – “How do you know how to make them?”
Me – “My Dad was Polish and I had a big family and we used to make them all the time.  I decided one year that I wanted to really perfect the family recipe so I worked on it for a long time and now I have a really great recipe and an easy way of making them”
Her – “What kind you make?”
Me – “Mushroom and sauerkraut and potato.”
Her (nodding) – “Ok…. What do you put in your dough?”
Me – “Flour, eggs, water, oil and salt”
Her – “Yes, many people do not put the oil”
Me – “Oh, you definitely need the oil or the dough is not good”
Her – “Ok!  Very Good!”

Then she got all smiley, gave me the total and wished me well for the party.  Whew!  I was quite nervous that I was going to fail the test and not be allowed to buy my kielbasa.  She was so cute that I want to take her back in some of my pierogis when they are done, ask her to adopt me as her granddaughter and teach me Polish.  They are right by a train station so I see many trips for kielbasa in my future.  I am just sorry for the people who will be riding that train home with me, smelling that garlicky goodness and not getting to have any.  I hadn’t gotten to taste any of the stuff I bought so it was with great trepidation (who am I kidding – I ripped that package open and cut a piece off before I even said hello to my husband) that I tried a piece when I got home.  It is some of the best kielbasa I have ever tasted.  Like Easter Kielbasa on delicious steroids.  Amazing… 

This morning as I was leaving for work, I quickly reached in the fridge to grab an orange and a yogurt to throw in my bag for breakfast.  I shut the fridge door and a split second later that garlic and spice smell reached out and slapped me across the face a couple of times.  In that instant I was a little girl – at the top of the basement stairs – back when there was orange striped carpet (I think?) – smelling that same smell sneaking its way out of that old green fridge with the silver handle that was in the basement – Easter was just a few days away – Mom was making poppy seed roll just up those 3 stairs in the kitchen – I was getting called to knead some Babka – Daffodils were blooming in the woods and Lily’s of the Valley were sending their scent in through the open kitchen window.  I wanted to live in that memory for the rest of my life and, when I blinked and it faded, I just wanted to sit on the kitchen floor and weep for every Easter that I will ever have in my life that isn’t like that one.

This is yet another thing that confuses my seasons/holidays.  Daffodils, kielbasa smells and slowly warming weather spells Easter to me….  Instead, I should start thinking about our Labour Day trip, whether or not we will have a Halloween party and how big of a turkey I will need for Thanksgiving this year. 

Quite strange…  
8 Responses
  1. C. In Oz Says:

    This is such a great post. I really love the story about the woman at the deli! Can't wait to make those pierogis. And, I know how you feel about getting confused by the change into spring - my sensibilities are out of whack, too. But, I am so looking forward to more weekends on the reserve, in the pool, and on the Domain!

  2. Catriona Ling Says:

    My mouth is watering - have a great pierogi party
    PS definitely time for a catch up coffee soon

  3. Anonymous Says:

    I would be so confused by the Season switch. It would probably make me crazy. Where are you going for Labor Day? Natalee

  4. Mimi and Joe Says:

    Cristin - Agree!! Plus Ari just said today that he is looking for a place (and a pool is one of his requirements). Nice... that means I will know 2 people with pools this summer!

    Catriona - Would love to! I'm afraid weekends are my only free time at the mo - how are they looking for you?

    Natt - we are going out to Perth/Freemantle for a day to see where Coach was stationed and do all the naval museums - then 2 days in the Margaret River Wine region.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Yes, the carpet was orange striped before they replaced it with the brown berber...

    So many memories. I can hardly believe that was actually my life. It seems like so long ago. : (


  6. Mimi and Joe Says:

    J - I can't believe I remember that carpet... It was just a crazy memory flash and I could see and smell everything in that one second.

    It really was a long time ago - that specific memory is about 20 years old I think... I miss big family Easters. :(

  7. Cory Markowitz Says:

    Oh, Mim, I just read this and I love you so darn much. XOXOXO

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! (It's 9pm on your birthday here right now. :p) LOVE YOU!!

  8. Cory Markowitz Says:

    The "captcha" word for my last post was M-U-N-K-E!!!! NO KIDDING!!!! :D :D :D :D Love my Monkey!!!

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