socks in sandals

Strange Things Only Polish People Will Understand: Part 1

Growing up in a Polish-American household, I was exposed to a number of things that, though they seemed normal to me at the time, later turned out to be very abnormal, at least when it came to American society.

So I’m beginning a series here that will highlight some of these very weird things that only Poles, specifically Polish-Americans, may understand…

Hot Milk:

milk skin, boiling milk
The sight of boiling milk was a common one for me growing up.

I didn’t just drink warm milk for years, I often drank hot milk to the point that it actually coagulated in the mug, forming milk skin…All of my Polish family members thought this was normal. Maybe it was. But eating cereal in near-boiling milk most certainly was not. Yes, I essentially ate “cereal soup” for years. Oh well. Us Poles are big on our soup anyway.

Hot Soup in the Summer

Fresh Rosół
Rosół is amazing, even in the summer.

While we’re on the topic of soup, you should know that Polish people eat a lot of it. Soup is delicious. However, when it’s 95 degrees and humid outside, it’s not exactly your food of choice. Nevertheless, there was one consistency in all those hot summer days I spent in Poland as a kid: we had soup every single day. Most people need something cool to refresh themselves from the heat. Poles need something warm.

Wearing Socks in Your Sandals:

socks in sandals
The classic “socks in sandals” look.

I never actually did this, but I notice that many Polish people do. Isn’t the entire purpose of sandals to keep your feet cool when it’s warm? Doesn’t wearing socks in them defeat that purpose? I don’t know. Maybe it has something to do with Polish grandmothers telling their grandchildren to dress warmly.


This is just the beginning of what is sure to be a long list. Please share your own Polish oddities in the comments section. I will include them in the blog.


3 thoughts on “Strange Things Only Polish People Will Understand: Part 1”

  1. Yes, Polish Mamusias fear cold drinks! I grew up with my orange juice glass sitting in a pan of hot water, to take the “cold” out of it! To drink a cold beverage (don’t even THINK about ICE!!!!) would instantly give you a sore throat! My dad drank his beer room temperature! You should have seen the faces of my boyfriends after they tasted the warm beer! (And had to finish it!) I didnt get it til later when my husband told me beer should be COLD! By the way, he’s the one who finally coaxed me into drinking my orange juice (and other refrigerated beverages) without warming it up! (I didnt get a sore throat, THEN, but taking brisk walks in winter, without a scarf to breathe through, DOES actually give me a sore, hoarse throat!?!)

    In my visits to Poland, I noticed room temperature beverages were the rule, ice was doled out sparingly, with quizical looks from your server! by the way, I am a first generation Pole. My mom came over right after WWII, and apparently Polish was my first language. I discovered this in my 20’s! Love your blog! Hey, If you or any reader knows the words to the Polish Blessing a man says at your doorstep that’s quite lengthy and usually they try to say it in one breath! My dad did this only on New Years Day (a woman coming to your house or calling you, first thing, brings “bad luck” for the whole year!). My folks were Gorale, so I don’t know if that was only their custom., or all Pole’s. Dziękuja.


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