Many people of Polish decent, particularly in the USA, wax lyrical about Polish Food and the plethora of Polish Restaurants, particularly around Chicago bear this out with very attractive dishes that bear very little relationship to the ”old country”.
Living in Poland and travelling to the USA and other countries I find quite a difference in the traditional Polish and traditional Polish American food. I much prefer the latter; Barszcz for example is a very sour beetroot soup in Poland often served with a Roulade, being a rolled piece of meat stuffed with wild mushrooms. In the USA in many places it has become thicker, creamier and is very nice on its own.
Poland has arguably the largest selection of sausages (Kielbasa) of any country I have visited; it is not uncommon in Poland to find a small shop with 80 or 100 different styles. Usually the names of these sausages are associated with a different area of Poland. One of the most Popular is Slansk, which is quite palatable and tasty, usually served at barbeques in Poland, along with copious amounts of Vodka.
Some of the sausages are very nice others seem to have a similar texture and flavor to burnt rubber. One recommendation I would make to any visitor to a Polish home, in Poland that is, would be do not touch homemade sausages. I know of at least three people who have eaten this delicacy, which actually looks like small limbs with varicose veins, and regretted it after the event. I think that at the time of eating the Vodka acted as an anesthetic.
Polish Perogis are popular in many different countries, I have tried them many times and I have to admit that the tastiest Perogi I have ever eaten was in Prince Edward Island Canada, in a Sunday shopping Mall. The US version is also nice, but generally in Poland they are boiled and served with a sour cream called Kefir, which is a little too strong for most people.
Most main courses in Poland include large pieces of Meat, in Poland Meat and particular Beef, Pork and Ham is very cheap comparatively. Quality can vary in the supermarkets, although small butchers tend to supply an excellent quality.
Poland isn’t the ideal country for vegans; every meal seems to have meat of some kind, usually with potatoes, rice or some type of pasta. Generally the main course is usually nice although calorie laden. This puzzles me as in Europe the Poles appear to have the slimmest figures. Many dishes such as Flachki, Bigos and other mixture of cabbage, trip and offal are based on fermenting cabbage that with other ingredients has been held in a large earthenware pot for many days or even weeks. I am not a true fan of these types of products, the instant they are consumed they seem to go into battle with your stomach and result in a considerable amount of wind.
Deserts in Poland are very simple affairs such as apple pie, (charlotte), or ice cream. Usually by the time you reach the dessert stage you are very glad of something less filling.
The view of Polish food is purely my own, although many of my friends hold similar views. If you are visiting Poland try everything, only by experiencing will you find what you like. If you are interested in finding out more about the Polish culture, please visit www.about-poland.com