Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis


Global & Regional Studies

Thesis Type

Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors

First Advisor

Dr. Teresa Mares, Ph.D.


Poland, post-socialism, food, transition, globalization


This thesis explores post-socialist cultural practices, globalization, and conceptions of modernity through the lens of food. Socialist influence remains visible in Poland’s collective memory, architecture, symbols, political and economic systems, and, as examined in this thesis, foodways. Linking macroeconomic and political upheaval with multigenerational ethnography, this project examines how everyday foodways have transitioned in Poland post-1989. Under socialism, chronic food shortages prompted Polish cooks to learn “…jak zrobić coś z niczego” (“…how to make something from nothing”). Ethnography with a typical middle-class Polish family reveals that they have incorporated new ingredients, recipes, and cuisines into their repertoire as the country has become more integrated into the global market. They retain, however, food practices that challenge Western conceptions of modernity, including growing home gardens, home-distilling liqueurs, and reviving regional culinary traditions. Combining ethnographic fieldwork in Poland with archival research using Przyjaciółka magazine, I explore perceptions and realities of life in the Polska Rzeczpospolita Ludowa (Polish People’s Republic) and the increasingly globalized orientation of the current generation.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.