The national cuisine of Poland was formed from the enormous diversity of the peoples of the Commonwealth and the natural wealth of the earth. The diet is replete with vegetable ingredients and meat, which are combined either in oriental or in Italian dishes. The diet of medieval Poland was considered plentiful, nutritious, overly spicy, multi-component and not always tasty. How did the gastronomic preferences of the Poles change and what is happening to them now?
General characteristics of the kitchen
Polish cuisine, like culture, was formed under the onslaught of regional characteristics and external influences. On the territory of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (located on part of the territories of modern Poland) there were many peoples who brought their own characteristics to national dishes and drinks. The result is Eastern, Jewish, Ruthenian, French, German, Italian, Jewish culinary influence.
The most popular dishes: dumplings, cereals, cabbage rolls, dumplings, meat patties, meat chops, meat jelly, pork shank, cabbage soup, tomato soup, pickle, mushroom soup, chicken broth, flask (offal soup), sea or freshwater fish. Poles love dishes with cabbage and potatoes, pickles, rye bread, cottage cheese, currants, apples and pears. Donuts, gingerbread cookies, poppy seed rolls and cheesecakes are prepared as dessert.
Most of the sales in the alcohol market are vodka. Alcoholic liquid insist on potatoes or cereals. Vodka has replaced drinking honey, which was popular earlier, and has become an absolute favorite of the locals. Another high level of consumption is beer. Locals revere beer traditions, go to pubs and have alcoholic parties. Wine is significantly inferior to beer and vodka, imported drinks dominate the market.
Coffee appeared in the country only in the XVIII century. The drink was distributed both among artisans and among wealthy peasants. Tea was most often drunk with sugar and a slice of lemon. The first consignments of tea were brought from England. In turn, tea came to England with the light hand of Dutch merchants. There is also a version that tea was brought in by Russian merchants in the 19th century during the partition of the Commonwealth. It was during this period that Russian samovars appeared in Polish houses.
The basic ingredients of the medieval Poland menu
In the Polish culinary tradition, fast and slow carbohydrates prevail. Among them are various cereals, pasta and bakery products. The diet of an average citizen necessarily includes plant forest products. This is due to the fact that about 30% of the country is covered by forests, and the predominant industry is agriculture. In the diet you can see an abundance of nuts, various herbs, mushrooms, fruits and vegetables.
The diet was formed due to territorial features. Even the predominance of a certain kind of meat in the menu depended on the distribution of a particular animal in the forest area.
The country did not cut down forests for pastures, so there were very few areas for livestock. The animals were not kept in a stable, but were grazed near the place of residence. First of all, cattle was considered as a valuable source of milk. For meat, pigs and poultry were bred. Hunting for animals living in the forest was also common - from rabbits to roe deer and wild boars. Absolutely all parts of the animal were used for food, even blood and tripe were used. For example, they used to prepare blackberries (black watering) - a thick soup of duck / goose blood.
Unlimited marine resources are not available in Poland. Instead of saltwater fish, the diet is dominated by freshwater, caught in local lakes, streams, rivers and ponds. Herring was popular among marine fish. She was pickled in salt and transported to the most remote corners of the country. Perishable seafood, like oysters or shrimp, was not used. Fish caviar was also not very popular.
A feature of Polish cuisine is the variety of soups and broths based on meat, cereals, plants, fruits or vegetables. The most popular plant foods: nettle, dandelion, beets, sorrel, cabbage, cucumbers. Agriculture was concentrated around food with high nutritional value and long shelf life for the winter. In the cold season, the diet was enriched with cereals, legumes, turnips, kohlrabi, acorns, nuts. Among fruits and berries plums, pears, apples, cherries, cherries, currants, gooseberries prevailed. They were added to pastries, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks like compote, jams.
Poles adore sour cream (both fresh and sour). It is used instead of traditional Balkan yogurt. Sour cream is used to prepare sauces, marinades, soups, as well as main dishes and desserts. There was always a lot of dairy products in the local diet. For example, high protein cottage cheese was used as often as feta cheese in Middle Eastern and Balkan cuisine. In rural areas they drank ordinary cow's milk, less often goat's milk. Sheep milk was distributed in the mountains. The main source of fat was butter, lard, vegetable oils (linseed / poppy seeds). In modern Polish cuisine, rapeseed oil is used predominantly.
Bitter oil (past the oxidation process) was never thrown away. It prepared sauces, dressings for salads, bread and pancakes.
In Polish national cuisine, such tastes prevail:
- slightly fermented (sauerkraut, pickles, cottage cheese);
- bread (bakery products and drinks that insisted on grains);
- moderately sharp (onions, chives, garlic, mustard, horseradish);
- spicy and herbal (anise, nutmeg, juniper, caraway seeds);
- sour (sauerkraut, salted / sour sour cream);
- sweet-sour (cranberries, apples, other fruits / berries).
The most popular spices are poppy seeds, dill and flaxseeds. Strong saturated tastes Poles stifle a little sour cream. A similar practice is also observed in the West Slavic territories.
It is important to note that modern Polish cuisine is not much different from medieval. Potatoes replaced cereals and cereals, and instead of game they use pork and poultry. Tomatoes and peppers were included in the daily diet, the volumes of meat consumption increased, but the Poles decided to refuse giblets. Another important step is the production of cheap sugar from sugar beets.
Soups are most often served as the only dish for lunch or dinner. They are eaten with black rye bread or whole grain bun. Poles cook two varieties of borsch - white and red. Red is prepared on the basis of beets, and sorcerers (dumplings) are added to the finished dish. The basis of white borsch is a kvass base. When ready, add finely chopped sausage and several boiled egg halves to the white borsch. The taste of the finished dish is slightly reminiscent of pickle.
Rosul - a transparent broth made from beef or poultry. Add noodles or other pasta to the rosul, sprinkle abundantly with chopped herbs, served with rye bread. Cabbage or cabbage - an analogue of Russian cabbage soup. The dish is traditionally served at the Christmas table. Cabbage is made from unpressed sauerkraut with brine, meat and herbs. Grohowka is a classic pea soup. Flaki - beef / pork stomach or scar soup. Chernina - soup with blood and offal of a duck, goose or pig.
The second most often serves dishes of minced meat with a side dish in the form of porridge or heat-treated vegetables. Often, duck or pork is baked whole. The food is plentifully seasoned, horseradish, mustard and various pickles or pickled mushrooms are added.
Bigos is a traditional dish that is a kind of symbol of Polish cooking. This is stewed cabbage with meat. There are many cooking options for bigos. You can use fresh / pickled cabbage or a mix of them. You can also vary the variety of meat - from game to home-made pork or regular sausage. In addition to meat and cabbage, red wine, tomatoes, wild mushrooms, prunes and various spices / herbs are added to bigos. The finished dish acquires a thick consistency, sour taste and a rich aroma of smoked meats. Bigos is served hot with several slices of bread and strong alcohol.
Saltison - boiled chopped pork offal (kidneys, diaphragm, liver, lungs, heart, lard) with salt. Spices, garlic, pepper are added to the giblets, mixed, then transferred to the large intestine or stomach, boiled and baked in the oven. The output is a spicy burgundy sausage. Saltison is served cold one day after preparation.
Dumpling or dumpling - a dish of potatoes, salt and flour. Raw or heat-treated potatoes are grated or finely chopped with a knife, then salt and flour are added. Diamonds are formed from the potato mass, boiled in salted water or baked in an oven. The capsules are served with mushroom or tomato sauce, vegetable stew or sour cream.
Also, as a second course, various varieties of sausages, dumplings (sorcerers), smoked sirloin tenderloin (nolendwitz) and fish are served in Polish. Fish in Polish is a fried and stewed fish fillet in a sauce with a vegetable side dish.
Various sweet cakes are prepared in Poland, varying the fillings and the composition of the dough. Most often, yeast or yeast sheet dough is used. Popular fillings are apple, curd, with dried fruits, with poppy seeds, and nuts. Classic gingerbread and donuts are also prepared. Donuts are stuffed with jam from a wild rose.
Poles adore ordinary shortbread cookies with jam or jam. Roll the dough with an envelope, put jam, honey or low-fat cottage cheese with fruits inside.
Earlier, shortbread cookies were served at the Christmas table, now dessert is prepared in every house and sold both in family street shops and in large hypermarkets.
Polish grandmother - a traditional dessert made from yeast dough. Previously, the dish was served for Easter, because its shape is very similar to the classic Easter cake. On top of the headstock is coated with chocolate / cream / fruit glaze. Inside, in addition to yeast dough, there is alcohol, raisins, dried cherries and candied fruits.
The absolute leader is vodka. Strong liquor of different varieties is replete with each store. Moreover, they are engaged in alcohol production even at home. The most famous tincture is cramming. She is insisted on the stems of the bison grass, which the bison feed on. The Polish analogue of whiskey is stark. The alcohol concentration in the old reaches 30-40% vol. The liquid is obtained by aging rye vodka in oak wine barrels. Linden flowers, pear leaves and apples are added to the drink. Fruit alcohol liquors are also popular.
Beer is a traditional Polish low-alcohol drink. There are several breweries in the country, which are known for centuries-old traditions and quality beer (Zywiec, Elbl ,g, Varka). In the cold season, locals drink heated beer or wine with the addition of honey and fragrant seasonings.