Storytelling for Wellbeing: How Patrycja Tells Stories Through Food15th Apr 2021
Mercat Tours Visitor Services Assistant Patrycja discusses why storytelling is good for her, and how she tells stories through her cooking.
I think that storytelling has a slightly different meaning for me, compared to our professional storytellers. I tell my stories through… food! It’s had a special place in my heart since I was five years old.
That was when my grandma taught me how to make Polish pierogi for the very first time. I still remember standing in her small kitchen and trying to figure out her folding technique. Fast forward to 20 years later, and I’m the one who can make this dish for six people with my eyes closed in 1.5 hours!
I didn’t even realise back then that it would become such an important aspect of my life. When I decided to move abroad and live in Scotland, I thought my English was satisfactory. Well, maybe it would have been, if I hadn’t picked Glasgow as my first living stop! The hard Glaswegian accent made me feel vulnerable that I did not understand a thing all these lovely people were saying to me.
Patrycja's discovery of telling a story through food
I worked in not-so-pleasant factories, and I cooked. Quite a lot. Around that time, my (then) boyfriend invited a few friends over and I was so stressed that we would not be able to communicate. I made a bunch of pierogi and served it to them, which they absolutely loved. They asked so many questions about the dish, traditions, how and when did I learn to cook it, and at the end they said that this feels like a comfort food to them. Just like their grandma would make.
Somehow, we started to understand each other – my boyfriend was translating their questions and I was answering with my hands and toes. And that was the moment when I realised that cooking and sharing food could be my way to share my story with others. Since that night, I have cooked dozens (or even hundreds) of dinners that I shared with my friends and family, each time telling them a story through it.
For Patrycja, storytelling is about the community, about comfort and feeling safe
Telling and listening to stories can help us to overcome our fears, and sometimes they push us to step out of our comfort zones. And who knew that simple pierogi would be my way to tell them?
If you’d like to know more about Patrycja’s journey with cooking and explore some of her delicious recipes, feel free to visit her website at https://polishthisveganism.com/.