AT THE TABLE WITH: Paul Gurcules

Paul Gurcules
Paul Gurcules

Paul Gurcules was born and grew up in the outskirts of Phoenixville in nearby Cromby — an area north-northwest of town. He has left the area and has returned several times. His most recent return — and seemingly permanent one — was around 1999.

He recalls he and his boyhood best friend, Patrick (Pat) Klimcho, did everything together. This included weekly trips to the Colonial Theater and a lifelong interest in the movies, especially sci-fi, along with a major interest in comics books, especially drawing and coloring their original works. It so happens that Pat is one of my Klimcho cousins I often mention.

Paul joined the Army and served as a medical specialist. After his discharge, his interest in computers began. He started to work with developing hospital systems. One of his systems was once a part of Phoenixville Hospital.

He is a “man of the arts.” At the age of 14, he started his lifelong photography quest with his mom’s Brownie camera. Today, he uses a hi-tech Cannon with all the “bells and whistles.” Though he is very fond of doing portraits, his interest in street photography reflects his personality the best. Foremost in his work is capturing the people he finds on the street. Another interest is sculpting small boxes to hold trinkets, along with jewelry design and making.

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Paul was the founder and administrator of the Facebook Group “Phoenixville — Our Kind of Town.” He was on the board of directors with the Phoenix Village Art Center, where he headed discussions on several different artistic topics. Now the art center has closed, but Coffee Talks meets the third Sunday of each month in the Upstairs Studio located at 207 Bridge St. If you are interested in joining in, you can just show up or message Paul on Facebook.

Among Paul’s accomplishments is that he is the father of four children (two girls and two boys, along with six grandchildren). He has two sisters and his mother, whom he helps to care for daily.

Paul feels we should not we live in the past but should remember it because it is the values we learned that make each of us of who we are.

Due to the fact we both share Hungarian heritage, our conversation drifted off to recalling stories and foods from our past. His mother, Vera Moran Gurcules (Irish), made Hungarian palacainta — wonderful thin crepes that were filled with either sweet or savory ingredients. Paul always hoped that there would be leftover palacainta so the next day his favorite filling was peanut butter and jelly.

Paul’s grandfather, Michael Gurcules, held a position in the court of Hungarian royalty. When he began to know too many of the palace secrets, he and his brother found they needed to leave. They made their escape and hooked up with a group of traveling gypsies and stayed with them until they found safety.

His other grandfather, Matthew Moran, was a baker. Paul remembers waking up on Sunday morning visits to his grandparents to the smell of wonderful baking dough.

PALACAINTA

Hungarian Crepes

4 eggs, beaten

2 cups milk*

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. sugar

*For a lighter crepe use 1 cup milk and 1 cup of seltzer water.

Whisk the flour, salt and sugar. Combine eggs and milk together, mixing well. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, beating into a thin batter. Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of batter into a very hot greased skillet or crepe pan. Rotate batter to cover entire bottom of the pan. Crepe will be very thin, and it may take a little practice at first. Brown lightly on both sides. Continue making crepes until batter is used up. Spread with your favorite topping, roll up and serve.

Enjoy!

Let me hear from you: banjack303@verizon.net. Search YouTube for “Look Who’s Cooking with Bette Banjack,” as well phoenixvillenews.com (search bar: Banjack) for this column. Find Bette on Facebook by searching “Bette Banjack’s Downtown Kitchen.”