POWIDZ, Poland - When U.S. Army Soldiers go overseas, they can form bonds with each other through shared experiences, or with foreign, allied soldiers due to their countries’ mutual strategic interests, or over something much more basic – like food.
Soldiers deployed with the 50th Regional Support Group literally rolled up their sleeves to share the kitchen at the Powidz Community Center in Powidz, Poland, Oct. 5, with members of a local women’s organization who get together to cook for community events.
“We wanted to introduce more Powidz residents to American Soldiers, so we figured that cooking traditional Polish dishes together would be a fun project, and help get to know each other better,” said Robert Czechorowski, director of the Powidz Community Center.
The Soldiers, largely under the ladies’ direction, helped prepare a big meal that included, among other dishes, pierogies, potato pancakes, and zander with creamy sauce, which is considered a local specialty - Zander is a close European relative to the walleye. Afterwards, the Soldiers sat down to eat with local Powidz residents who attended that night’s program.
Soldiers said the language barrier didn’t interfere with their ability to work with their hosts in the kitchen because many aspects of basic food preparation can be taught through simple demonstration.
“We were still able to synchronize, prepare the dishes, and laugh together,” said Army Maj. Joshua Franqui, the 50th RSG’s director of intelligence. “I love cooking, so this has been one of the best experiences I’ve had on deployment, especially with learning new recipes and sharing with the community.”
Scheduling is already underway to plan another night of cooking with the 50th RSG and Powidz residents. Next time, the menu will feature American dishes.
“It was a wonderful experience and a great opportunity to learn the culture,” said Spc. Lamar Harris, an intelligence analyst. “You can tell these ladies have been cooking together for a while, and they cook with a lot of passion. It’s really fun when you get to participate in organized chaos with people like that.”
The 50th RSG is based in Homestead, Florida, and is deployed to Poland in support of Atlantic Resolve.
To learn more about Atlantic Resolve: https://www.europeafrica.army.mil/AtlanticResolve/
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