Among the cool, rolling hills of Central Europe, which stretch like green tomcats beneath the blue sky, lays Poland … where waters run clear from the city’s industrious lip, all the way to the edge of her spiny mountains.
Situated between Germany and Belarus, the best Polish food can be summed up by that which is hunted, foraged, or fished. Under the filtered forest canopy, mushrooms are not just dinner, but a hobby. Fish, straight from the river, is a way of life (think herring, carp, pike, perch, eel, and sturgeon).
There’s no denying the local love of Pierogi – a dumpling filled with anything from potatoes and cheese to sauerkraut. You might enjoy it fried in butter and onions, served with kielbasa sausage or simply with just a dollop of sour cream. Speaking of which, sour cream is a “go-to” in Poland, as popular as ketchup here in the United States. You’ll even find this cool, tangy milk product in everything from pie crust to cucumber salad to pierogi (and this time, I don’t mean the garnish, I mean in the filling).
After all that comfort – if you have the room – saddle up to beets. TTry them roasted, boiled in borscht-like soup (barszcz), or in salad. They’re good for you. Every Polish mama will tell you that much. For those who prefer something a little more unique, I read on a Polish travel site that the “oldest Polish dish, and one which cannot be found anywhere else in the world, is the sour żur, a fermented soup made from rye flour and dried bread, served with kiełbasa and a boiled egg.”
Dessert includes apple cake (szarlotka), any sort of nut or poppy seed roll (makowiec), cherry pie, and even sweet prune filled pierogi…. possibly enjoyed with Polish Żubrówka Vodka, a popular brand that comes complete with a blade of grass from the Białowieża Forest in every bottle.
And why not. Tastier than the tequila worm, I’d imagine.
Those of you who are pregnant can skip the vodka in favor of a Polish pickle feast, either the standard salted (ogórek małosolny) or the sweet and sour (ogórek konserwowy).
Actually, pregnant or not, I’m all about the pickle.