Oh why do the Poles celebrate Vegetarian Day?

January 11 is Vegetarian Day in Poland. This creates a problem for those that want to honor it but are used to their beef and pork goł&#261bki. Polish cuisine is meat-oriented so what can we do with this problem? It seems that whatever we may eat, we’ll feel miserable. Hmmm… let’s eat misery!

There is a Polish side dish called mizeria (misery). It is a cucumber salad so it’s meatless and easy to prepare. But why is there a dish called misery anyway? Well, one story suggests that cucumbers were favorite of Queen Bona Sforza, wife of Sigismund I the Old. Since they were common in Italy, she would cry every time she saw cucumbers and hence the name of the dish. Since cucumbers were quite common in Poland since at least the middle ages, it suggests that the queen cried quite often. Poor thing.

To make the salad you’ll need:
1 cucumber
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or chive (not both)
1 or 2 tablespoon vinegar (optional, makes the author of this article miserable)
1 teaspoon sugar (optional and not for purists, the author of this article does not approve)
Lemon, (optional, the author of this article does not know, never tried it)
Slice cucumbers, add salt so it adheres to them, drain water, add sour cream and mix. Smacznego!