Polish Word of the Day | Second Breakfast


Poles take their eating habits very seriously. Most stick to strict and predictable eating schedule. Breakfast in the morning, before work or school was a must in our home. There are many options for this meal.

Growing up, for a quick before-school breakfast we ate warm milk with cereal, normally corn flakes, rice flakes or pasta… I know, a bit different. I hated warm milk, but there was no arguing the matter. 

When we got a little older, and our pallet developed into enjoying other flavors, scrambled eggs with sausage and onions were one of the favorites, but you could also expect oatmeal, yoghurt or if there was some extra time, naleśniki (Polish crapes) with jelly or farmer’s cheese (type of cottage cheese, mixed with cinnamon and sugar). My mom stayed home for the bigger part of my childhood, so sometimes we were spoiled with something a bit more time consuming in the morning… THANKS MOM!! 

Sunday breakfast, that’s a whole other story… Sundays were exceptional. We would sit down for a family breakfast at the dining room table set with Sunday “treats”. Soft boiled eggs, cold cuts, slices of cheese, cottage cheese with green onions, fresh crusty bread, and sliced tomatoes were some of the usuals. Even though, I enjoyed the food, this was an annoying chance for parents to prod and pry all morning, regardless of many eye-rolls and without a chance for escape for my brother and I. Forced to answer relentless questions about our week, our friends and school unexpectedly gave our parents a fast-track access to our “private” teenage lives. Trick noted and stored away for future generations.  

Lunch, or what we call it, “second breakfast” {drugie śniadanie} normally packed for school-aged children in a form of a sandwich and an apple. For 8 years of elementary school, 4 years of high school and most of the 5 years of college, this is what I ate for the late-morning meal. That’s over 4300 sandwiches and apples!!! ☺ 

Sometimes, this usual meal would be corrupted by a sweet bun or a donut, only if there was money in my pocket, and a store available on the way from school (there was no school busses in Poland when I attended school, therefore we used public transportation, starting in first grade). 

Dinner, a meal served around 3-4 pm is normally the main/hot dish of the day. Often, it was a two-course meal, a hot soup and second course, which consisted of a protein, a starch and a veg, consumed with other family members only if time allowed, due to variety of school and work schedules. 

In the evening, around 7 pm, after everyone had gotten done with their busy days, we would normally have one last meal: supper {kolacja}. This is a lighter meal of open-face sandwiches or a cold or hot salad like sałatka jarzynowa, for example, but could also be a hot piece of sausage, or scrambled eggs, chased down with hot black tea. 

As you can see, we pay a lot of attention to food. It brings us together, gives a chance to catch up, whether some of us want it or not. 

Today, I encourage you to share a family meal often and pass on favorite traditions to those you love, so that you can always be a part of them. 


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