Taste of Texas: Polish

By: Arjun Chopra

The Polish People

  • The country I will be sharing with you today is Poland. The immigrant group is called the Polish.
  • This presentation will take you through the Polish culture. All the way from food to immigration.
  • I will also be explaining how Polish people ended up in Texas, and started life in the U.S.
  • Enjoy.

How They Ended Up In Texas

  • From 1795 to 1910 Poland was divided, and ruled by Austria, Prussia or Germany, and Russia.
  • These foreign rulers were not easy-going and usually created extremely strict laws. The Polish people did not like this, so they decided to settle in Texas.
  • Diseases hit several parts of Upper Poland. These diseases consisted of Cholera (passed from vomit, and waste), and Typhus, which is passed on from lice and fleas.
  • Few years later a devastating flood washed over Poland. The Polish people had little food, and were dying.
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Why They Settled in Texas

  • The Polish people believed that a wealthy person did not have to have money, but land.
  • The first settlers in Texas from Poland were farmers. When rumor reached them that the land was cheap and plentiful in Texas, masses of farmers migrated to Texas.
  • They hoped to lead a better life, and farm again. They thought they could become rich from farming.
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Major Food

  • Polish food is a mix of German, russian, and Jewish.
  • Much of what they eat is similar to what we eat, though they have different names for their food.
  • For example they eat kielbasa. This may sound like something totally foreign, but it is simply a menagerie of sausage. Kielbasa includes white sausage and country sausage. This is usually served with mustard.
  • The polish cuisine wouldn't exactly be described as healthy because it is rich in meat, eggs, and cream.
  • The portions are larger than they are in North America, and they have lunch at 2:00 PM, which strikes me as odd.
  • Polish people occasionally eat traditionally smoked cheese.
  • Side dishes are usually boiled potatoes and rice.
  • Their desserts are similar to cheesecake and there are many pastries.
  • Bread is a main part of their diet (staple). Comes in many designs.


  • Henry Czerner- Went Northwest of Texas. Bought land. Created the town of White Deer, which families settled in.
  • Father Leopold Moczygemba- A Franciscan Priest. Wrote letters to polish friends, and told them to settle in Texas. Helped settle over 1000 poles.
  • Albert Lyssy- Helped the first polish group settle in present-day Panna Maria. Had a church built. Did not like to weather. Left Texas, to head off to a northern state, where he created the largest Polish Catholic organization in the United States.


  • Black Madonna Painting- The Catholic religion is very important to the poles. A church in Czestochowa, Poland is where the Black Madonna was hung up. The painting is said to bring many miracles, and is one of the most sacred places in the country.
  • EASTER/CHRISTMAS- The Poles were catholic, so Easter and Christmas was big. They would continue to celebrate it, even when they moved to Texas. On Christmas eve hunters would hunt animals such as duck, goose, deer, and racoons and cook them for a feast.
  • Fat Tuesday- Fat Tuesday was a celebration where you fasted. You would eat a large meal on Tuesday, and then not eat meat, or cheese until Sunday. On Sunday you would have a feast, which usually included colored eggs called Pisanki's.


  • The first group settled in Karnes County, which is south of San Antonio. Their colony was named Panna Maria, and is the oldest Polish settlement in the United states.
  • Panna Maria was the main colony, or the "Mother Colony", as the towns called it.
  • Poles could not afford horses, or even houses, and had to live in mud huts.
  • Poles also got ill from the yellow fever which is passed on from mosquitoes.
  • The Texans did not appreciate the Polands, and often beat them for the fun of it.
  • The Polish settlers continued their cultures however, and in 2003 there were 228,309 poles living in Texas.

Cultural Influence

  • Polish immigrants affect us today because when they came to Texas they did not only bring their people, but their culture too. When the Polish immigrants arrived in Texas, they took part in spreading Catholic religion.
  • Another thing the Polish brought was food. They brought varieties of sausage, and different kind of breads, cheeses, and pastries.