Blog Tour: I Love You More Than Pierogi by K.A. Merikan

Add foodies to the K.A. Merikan resume and they're schooling us about Polish cuisine today!

We’ve been thinking about setting a book in our native Poland for quite some time now, and the submission call for “World of Love” helped us come up with an angle :) The two main characters are former high school sweethearts who meet after several years, and after the bitterness that resulted of their breakup, the reconnection is everything but smooth. Through those characters we explored two conflicting feelings many immigrants face - the longing for home and everything it stands for, and the unstoppable curiosity that pushes them to explore. Who knows, maybe one doesn’t have to choose ;)

Follow the blog tour:

December 29 - MM Good Book Reviews
January 4 - Boy Meets Boy
January 5 - The Novel Approach
January 6 - Love Bytes
January 9 - Alpha Book Reviews

Marek and Adrian dated in high school, but a bitter breakup led them to choose different paths. Adrian is out and proud while Marek is in the closet. Adrian embraces his eccentricity while Marek clings to a conservative image. And while Marek worked hard to build a successful life and financial stability by climbing the corporate ladder, Adrian threw caution to the wind and has spent the last five years backpacking across the world.

Now Adrian is back in Warsaw, Poland, but while Marek thinks they will have a hookup and have a blast from the past, Adrian is just looking for a place to crash. Worse still, Adrian turns up at Marek’s advertising agency for help with his outrageous new business venture, and if Marek wants to get promoted, he might have to work with the guy who broke his heart.

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.


I think each country or region has its culinary curiosities that seem bizarre, or at least unusual to an outsider. I asked non-Polish friends what they thought, and that is how this Top 5 of weird Polish foods was born. Not all of them are still eaten, some haven’t been eaten for quite a while now, but they still remain a culinary curiosity.

Soured/fermented milk - Many people who aren’t Polish and didn’t grow up with this drink think it’s disgusting, or that it can make a person sick, just like pasteurized milk that has gone bad. That isn’t the case. Pasteurization, a process that most of the milk available on the mass market has to undergo, changes the structure of the milk, which makes souring impossible (unless other ingredients are introduced). Fresh milk sours naturally if it’s kept out of the fridge, forming two layers, one of which has a jelly-like consistency while the other is similar to watered-down milk. They are mixed to form the traditional drink, but the thick layer can also be used to make fresh dried curd cheese (twarog). Soured milk is very nutritious and extremely tasty, especially with boiled potatoes on a hot day :)

Czernina (black soup) - this traditional food has fallen largely out of favor now. While popular among the elderly, particularly in the countryside, most young and middle-aged Poles don’t eat it anymore. Made of duck blood, it is meant to be both sweet and sour, which is achieved by adding ingredients such as vinegar, honey, and various fruit. But what makes czernina particularly interesting is its symbolic meaning. Until the nineteenth century, it was used as a polite way to reject a proposal of marriage - both by the landed gentry and the peasant class. Most of the time, in small villages everyone knew which man was interested in which young woman, and so when the important visit finally came, the girl’s parents were prepared. They would invite the man inside and offer him food. If anything else was on the table, marital negotiations could proceed over the food, but if the meal was black soup all hope for a union was lost. The man was nevertheless expected to eat the whole bowl and say his goodbyes as if nothing happened. I can imagine not everyone could behave according to that standard ;)

Beaver tails - I cannot stress this enough: no one in Poland would even consider hunting beavers in order to wolf down their tails, but they used to be an extremely popular ingredient from the middle ages, all the way into the seventeenth century. But it wasn’t really because beavers were just so incredibly tasty. It was all because of religion. That’s right, the Catholic church (or rather, the Polish interpretation of Catholicism) is to blame for all those poor beavers dying. Because the nation was so devoutly Catholic, most people were following rules of religious fast for a large part of the year, meaning that meat was a no-go. But here is where the beaver comes in. Because of its tail being covered by scaly-looking skin, it had been decided that beavers can be counted among fish, and so people were permitted to eat them during fasting days. 

Sour rye soup with saffron milk cups - Fermented rye soup is a very old, traditional type of food that is still very popular, particularly around Easter. Made of fermented rye flour (a wheat flour variant is known as white borscht), it has a distinctly tangy taste and is usually served with hard-boiled eggs and sausage, sometimes poured over mashed potatoes. The friend who told me about it ate a variant served with pickled saffron milk cups. While sauerkraut or pickled gherkins are a staple in many European countries, Polish pickles are made of all kinds of mushrooms, both grown on farms and wild. Saffron milk cups are a favorite because of their flavor and reddish coloring.

Lard - This might not be that unusual, because lard is used as cooking fat in many culinary traditions, but Polish people eat it on bread. You know, the way you’d have your Nutella. Made of rendered pork fat, it is frequently sold mixed with bits of bacon, salt, and pepper. It’s apparently 99% fat, and I personally find its texture disgusting, but both my parents love it on a good slice of polish sourdough... especially topped with apples.

About the author

K. A. Merikan is the pen name for Kat and Agnes Merikan, a team of writers, who are mistaken for sisters with surprising regularity. Kat’s the mean sergeant and survival specialist of the duo, never hesitating to kick Agnes’s ass when she’s slacking off. Her memory works like an easy-access catalogue, which allows her to keep up with both book details and social media. Also works as the emergency GPS. Agnes is the Merikan nitpicker, usually found busy with formatting and research. Her attention tends to be scattered, and despite pushing thirty, she needs to apply makeup to buy alcohol. Self-proclaimed queen of the roads.

They love the weird and wonderful, stepping out of the box, and bending stereotypes both in life and books. When you pick up a Merikan book, there’s one thing you can be sure of - it will be full of surprises.

More information about ongoing projects, works in progress and publishing at:
K.A. Merikan’s author page:
Agnes Merikan’s Twitter:

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