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Tasty Polish Food - Mutton
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Easter in Poland

 

If you are in Poland in April, on one Saturday you might see people heading somewhere with small baskets in their hands. If you look closer, you'll notice that there's food in the baskets. Those people are carrynig it to church for blessing, because it's Holy Saturday, just before Easter. And having your food blessed on that day is an old Polish tradition.


Polish Easter - food blessing
(source: pl.wikipedia.org)

 

Just like Christmas, Easter in Poland has its special culinary dimension. The food which is blessed on Holy Saturday is eaten on Easter Sunday during what is called Easter Breakfast. What is carried to church in a small basket is of course just a sample of the whole Easter Breakfast.

 

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Prince Charles and Polish Tatars' food

Poland is a place where culinary traditions of several nations have coexisted and mixed through the centuries. This is still visible in today's Polish cuisine. But there are some elements of this old and valuable legacy which are quite obscure even to the Poles themselves.

Prince Charles 1

Prince Charles and Dzenetta Bogdanowicz (source: AFP)

This is certainly the case with Tatar dishes. Today's Tatars are descendants of a Mongolian people which belonged to the Genghis Khan's empire and then came to Europe. From the 14th century on some of them were permitted to settle in Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, usually in return for military service.

 

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Polish cuisine inspires


It is really hard to describe Polish food in just a few words, but this short movie does it briliantly. Smile

 

 
Christmas in Poland

 

Christmas is a special time. Also for Polish cuisine. Christmas Eve is most significant in this regard. On that day a traditional dinner is served in almost every Polish home. The dinner begins in the evening. In the past it used to include as many as twelve dishes. These days not many people still prepare that amount of meal. Nevertheless Polish Christmas Eve dinner is still a remarkable event.

Tradition requires that Christmas Eve dishes are meatless. And this custom is generally observed in Poland. Christmas Eve dishes are actually quite healthy, because they include mainly fish, vegetables and cereals. So what does a typical modern dinner on that special day in Poland look like?

 


Traditional Polish Christmas Eve meal.
source: en.wikipedia.org

Details vary, depending on geographic location and personal preferences. However we can specify the most popular dishes. The dinner usually starts with red borsch and noodles stuffed with mushrooms (“uszka” – literally “litttle ears”). Some people though serve herring as a starter, before the soup. Then come dumplings (pierogi), stuffed with sauerkraut and mushrooms. An indispensible and actually the central dish of the dinner is fish. The classsic Christmas Eve fish in Poland is carp. But sometimes people replace it with some other kind, say trout or salmon. The fish is served fried. Frequently jellied carp is also prepared for Christmas. A sweet dessert follows. The most typical is poppy seed cake or kutia. The latter is frequently encountered in the eastern part of the country. It consists mainly of cereals, poppy seed and honey. Cheesecake and other kinds of cakes are possible too.

It is worth mentioning that Christmas Eve dinner is preceeded with sharing wishes with every one present, along with sharing a piece of a Christmas wafer (opłatek) with them. The wafer cannot be considered a dish of course. It’s more of a symbolic element which stresses the solemnity of the moment. Another tradition is to left an empty plate for an unexpected guest who might appear. But this custom is no longer universally observed.


Polish Oplatki (Christmas Wafers)
source: en.wikipedia.org

During “propper” Christmas (after Christmas Eve) there are no strict traditions. Dishes are prepared freely to suit taste. Certainly poultry deserves mentioning. Duck is very popular (especially roasted with apples). Goose and chicken are also common. Generally, Poles indulge in food during Christmas. Heavier dishes and sweets abound. As a result the beneficiary effects of the healthy Christmas Eve dinner are all in all lost. But it is fully excusable to enjoy the tasty Polish cuisine to a slight excess once in a while Laughing

 

 
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