The Wizards will play the Nets later tonight at Capital One Arena. We’ve gone over quite a bit of stuff on Marcin Gortat’s time in Washington and some other interesting things on Poland. So on this Saturday, let’s talk about Polish food. What’s it like?
The Polish food and drink Americans readily know: Pierogi, Kielbasas, Bagels, and Vodka
If there are three kinds of Polish food and drink that we can think of really quickly, pierogi, kielbasa sausages, and vodka quickly come to mind.
A pierogi is a dumpling made of dough and have filling in them. They are often with potato filling or sauerkraut. In the United States, we generally eat pierogi solely as an appetizer, but it can be a main dish as well.
There are even pierogi made for dessert, but the filling will be made of something sweet, like fruit.
Kielbasa is literally the Polish word for sausage. There are many types of kielbasa, ranging from the kiełbasa wiejska or a farmhouse sausage to a biała kiełbasa or a white sausage.
I’ve generally eaten my kielbasa for breakfast, but when is it traditionally eaten? They are often eaten during parties and weddings, but really, you can eat kielbasa anytime you want!
I embedded a video from Ballistic BBQ’s YouTube channel to learn how to make your OWN kielbasa instead of going to the supermarket to get a pre-made one.
Bagels are another type of food that comes straight from Marcin’s neck of the woods. They originated from Poland’s Jewish community from around that 17th century or so, but are probably more popular with Americans today than in Poland. They became popular here after many Jewish Poles emigrated to the United States over the course of the 20th century.
And finally, vodka. Many may call this the unofficial distilled drink of Poland. It originated in the Middle Ages as where it was distilled from grains and potatoes. Though vodka and most liquors are consumed at the consumer’s pleasure today, these types of drinks were used as medicine back in the old days.
Fabiana Santana has an article on Wide Open Eats on vodka’s past and its health benefits. For example, vodka was originally used as an antiseptic — and it still can today. Of course, like any other alcoholic drink, be of age where you live and consume in moderation.
More kinds of food you should try
Okay, the four types of food above are readily available in the USA. But here is some more Polish food. So let’s take a look at them, shall we?
Oscypek is a smoked cheese made mostly of sheep milk. It’s only made in the Tatra Mountains of the country and has an EU Protected Designation of Origin label on it!
Every nation has its own type of street food. It’s lightweight, filling, and tastes delicious. In Poland, you’ll find many stands that sell a zapiekanka. It’s a baguette topped with mushrooms, cheese, and ketchup that originated in the 1970’s. Demand for the zapiekanka fell in the 1990’s when communism ended, but there’s been a new wave for hungry people today when they’re looking for a quick bite to eat.
Kotlet schabowy (pork chops)
Pork is another popular meat among the Polish. Here is their take on pork chops which are breaded.
Babkas are cakes that originate in Poland and other Slavic nations nearby. There are two notable types of babka. First, there’s babka of the Christian tradition when Polish Christians typically eat them during Easter. It looks like a round cake. It’s not the most popular type though.
There is another type of babka made in the Jewish tradition. It is a yeast braided cake often with chocolate or cinnamon and you can buy them at many bakeries, including at a place like Dean and Deluca. That’s where I bought my first babka.
Watch the video above on how to make your own babkas!
There’s a lot more Polish food and drink I could talk about, but I’m getting hungry. Time for me to eat and for all of us to get ready for Polish Heritage Night!