Anna Felcyn was born in Lesna, Poland, a small town of about 5000 people. All throughout her childhood, cooking was an important tradition due to the social, economic and political landscape. After World War II Poland was a communist country. Resources were low and high quality food was largely unavailable. Although Anna’s family wasn’t always able to buy the best ingredients, the Polish tradition of cooking meant “making the best out of what you had,” says Anna. “People didn’t have much.” But that didn’t stop her mother from teaching her the traditions that had been passed down through many generations. During Anna’s childhood, her parents worked all day and left cooking dinner to Anna and her two sisters. Despite their busy lives, enjoying dinners together helped the family come together.
When Anna and her family first tried to come to America, they had difficulty obtaining green cards. Since Anna’s sister was born in Germany and was technically considered a German citizen, she was able to immigrate to America before the rest of the family in 1965. As an American citizen, Anna’s sister was then able to invite the rest of the family into the country. Anna says, “I wish that i could have come sooner to attend high school in the United States.” Anna has truly embraced the American identity both in her enthusiasm to be an American and her cooking. In Anna’s Polska Kuchina (Polish Kitchen), you will find her ingredients from many different cultures and she frequently searches the internet to find new recipes. About twice a month and on holidays, Anna cooks her traditional Polish dishes. Her favorite Polish meals to prepare include pierogies, soups and kielbasa.
To learn more about Anna and other cultural cuisine artisans, visit Perkins’, Tastefully South Jersey Exhibition, 30 Irvin Avenue, Collingswood, NJ. Special events accompany the exhibition through August 25. On July 28 at Taste of Poland and Turkey, join Anna and Serife Ayakta to learn more about the cultural dishes from their homelands. The free event is from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and features food tasting, Monique Legare International Dance Company, and a Turkish Lace Making Workshop with Ylvia Asal.
Tastefully South Jersey is “an exploration into folk art and culture through the lens of food traditions in New Jersey” and features art, artisans and artifacts. Visit our WEBSITE for more detailed information. #TSJPerkins.