Advent is a time of preparation, and if there happens to be any Polish genes in your immediate family, that’s likely a domestic and culinary as well as spiritual process. There’s all the cleaning that should be done — not quite spring cleaning, but awfully close — but it pales compared to the amount of cooking.
We’ve taken to starting early as a result. So early that it’s almost an exaggeration. Until you think about the other preparation that awaits. Add to it the coming baptism for the Boy — itself an event for Poles — and it’s no wonder that we’ve begun cooking Christmas Eve dinner already.
The dumplings for the barszcz and the second-course pierogi are ready. They’ll sit in the freezer for the next few weeks while we begin fermenting the beets for barszcz, smoking the tenderloin for Christmas-season gifts and treats, cleaning this, washing that — at least in the old days. With a six-month-old, who knows how much of the scrubbing will get done. But there are non-negotiables, and the food is among them.