My name is Marta and I am the founder of Food Polka. I emigrated from Poland to the US in 2001. I now, thankfully, live in sunny Southern California.
I wake up every morning so grateful and happy to be in this place. I grew up in communism and lived through the worst of it. I lived through empty shelves at the markets, watching the rest of the world – especially the US have modern technology and appliances – while we were stuck in the 60s. I saw my dad – RIP, get arrested for daring to speak out against a failing government. I experienced food rationing, appliance rationing, car rationing, freedom rationing. I also saw the 10 year transition period from communism to capitalism, which caused an upheaval of cultural change and eventually led our country to reconnect with the west. The Communist era was a harsh but thought me how to have fun and be happy with the little bit I had. It thought me how to be resourceful and never give up.
During this time of want and scarcity, oddly my passion for food began. I was not exposed to any type of culinary arts or anything remotely passing as gourmet. The food was rationed and what was available basically included the same five ingredients. I somehow knew there was more to food than what would wind up on my plate. I sought out to make more interesting and visually appealing dishes and I really believe that living during a time of severe shortages and limited diversity made me be more creative. This creativity I carried to the US and has flourished to new bounds, thanks to the ability of finding an abundance of every imaginable ingredient and diverse culinary culture.
I first eat with my eyes, so maybe that’s why my kitchen is always stock full of new and strange things that I get from the most random places. Anywhere that has food, I will go in and browse until something jumps right into my hands or basket. I go to local farmer’s markets, I shop at grocery stores, ethnic markets, roadside stands. I bring left overs from the restaurants. I even have found herbs, fruit and berries growing naturally in my neighborhood while I walk my dog Jack. Throughout the day, I will open my kitchen cabinets and refrigerator and look at all these wonderful ingredients and excitedly think to myself, “what next?”.
These days large part of my life revolves around visual side of food. Coming out with new visual food concepts, hunting for interesting ingredients or culinary props, styling, photographing and thinking of what kind of new, exciting and creative, food project I can get involved in. I am seriously living the dream!
So this is me, a woman who comes from a crazy time, who now lives in a wonderful place with the most adorable dog. A creative entrepreneur with the intense passion for anything related to food.