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Barbara Rolek

Eastern European Milk Soup and Milk Bars

By February 2, 2013

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Polish Milk Bar Sign near the Barbican in Warsaw
Polish Milk Bar Sign near the Barbican in Warsaw
2011 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
As a child, when my mother prepared a dinner I didn't care for like steak (what was I thinking?), she'd whip me up a bowl of milk soup with noodles or dumplings. I was in heaven. I thought this was a dish only my mother made. Not until I was older did I realize it's pretty much an international comfort food served variously with pasta, rice, bread, millet, farina or some other grain.

In Poland, zupa mleczna was a staple at the Communist-era milk bars or bar mleczny. After the fall of Communism, many of these government-subsidized laborer's cafeterias went bankrupt, but a few gems still exist. If you find yourself in Poland, make sure you stop at one of these Soviet holdovers. Expect to be treated poorly by the woman taking your order, but delight in the cheap, wonderfully prepared food.

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