This is an exchange my brother had with our housemate Ola in the kitchen, when he was here a few months ago.
Simon (seated): That smells interesting.
Ola (standing by the stove): Would you like some?
Simon: Oh, no, thankyou. I'm not hungry.
Ola: No really, have some.
Simon: I'm really not hungry, thanks.
Ola (waving a spaluta in a threatening fashion): You should have some. Have some.
Simon: Really. Really, I don't want any.
Ola proceeds to give him some, placing a big plate of food before him.
My brother told me this story, with a mixture of bemusement and exasperation, and I just notched it up to another example of Polish Hospitality. However, there may be more to this.
Apparently there's this custom in Poland, whereby a guest, on being offered food, will refuse -- in the certain knowledge that the host will offer again. Thus, they both fall into this kind of offering and refusing routine, until the guest will eventually relent, accept the futility of the situation, and take the food. Even if he was hungry all along.
Thus my brother had unwittingly stumbled into the grooves of this kind of social ritual, was accidently saying all the right things, and was being channeled towards an outcome beyond his control. It's completely catch 22, there's no way out.
So in the name of social research, I'm willing to put my stomach on the line and test this. Never again will I automatically and graciously accept more food; it will have to be foisted upon me with the crazed insistence of a greenpeace activist with a clipboard.