Saudi Aramco World: May/June 2014 - page 36

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Saudi Aramco World
inside to eat and sample a taste of Tatar family life. They eventu-
ally added on to the house, moved upstairs, and made the entire
downstairs the restaurant, as word of the Tatarska Jurta was
spreading. In 2003, she and Mirek moved there permanently.
Now, arriving guests enter through a small room in which
family photographs hang on the walls. Women in these pic-
tures have Asian eyes and raven-black hair, and swarthy men
wear Polish military uniforms.
“My mom rules in the kitchen. The dishes we serve are
exactly the same as the ones I was eating in my childhood
during Muslim holidays,” said D
ż
emila, one of D
ż
enneta and
Mirek’s daughters. “My mom gathered some of the recipes
when she was visiting Tatar households that are scattered all
over Poland. Today, their pile would make a bulky cookbook.”
Word of mouth and online reviews about the restaurant’s
atmosphere, the vivacious personalities of the restaurant’s
staff—especially Bogdanowicz—and the refined Tatar cuisine
continue to spread. Now, connoisseurs are traveling for hours
to eat pierekaczewnik
and drink coffee laced with cardamom.
Patrons who talk to Bogdanowicz between scrumptious
bites inevitably learn that Kruszyniany is a part of the historic
Tatar Trail, largely a network of roads that connect seven main
towns
and villages in northeast Poland, all sparsely populated
and influenced in different ways by Polish and eastern Europe-
an customs. About 150 kilometers (90 mi) at its greatest length,
the trail winds through the picturesque Sokółka Hills and
Knyszy
ń
ska Forest to connect Sokółka, Bohoniki, Malawicze,
Krynki, Kruszyniany, Supra
ś
l and its most populous town,
Białystok. Following the trail, one can not only learn about the
history of Polish Tatars, but also get a taste of modern life and
Guide and conservator of Kruszyniany’s mosque, D
Ī
emil Gembicki sits with a copy of the Qur’an in front of the mosque’s wooden mihrab,
oriented toward Makkah. Polish Tatars, he says, have three defining characteristics: Tatar ethnicity, Polish nationality and Islamic religion.
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