Way back when I met Lettuce in our first week of law school, one of the reasons that we bonded immediately was that we had that whole, “children of immigrants” tie, her parents being straight from Poland. Throughout the years, we’ve shared food stories and recipes, and it always struck me how similar our childhood foods, not surprising I guess when you note the proximity of Hungary and Poland. A lot of the dishes are the same, really, but called by different names. In researching a bit more about Polish food traditions and culinary habits, I realized that I’ve noticed them in Lettuce throughout the years, but never pegged them as a cultural thing until now. A prime example? The girl has a thing for open-faced sandwiches and apparently so does the whole country!
According to the website Tasting Poland:
Geographical and political factors had a strong influence on Polish cuisine. [The] country is located in a climatic zone with cool and barren winters. From that reason in traditional Polish meals vegetables, fruits and fish which can be easily preserved and stored for 3–4 months period played the great role (pea, the broad bean, kohlrabi, or the turnip). The food was preserved above all with readily available fossil salt and usually with drying, pickling or slight fermentation. After implementation of cooling and tinned technologies in the 20th century salting, drying and pickling were kept in the Polish cuisine by the account of historic habits and from the will of keeping traditional tastes – impossible to obtain with those new, technological ways.
So there you have it! Here’s the menu for the week:
Polish Rye Bread
Polish sausage charcuterie with Beet and Horseradish Salad (Cwikla) and Boiled Green Bean Salad (fasolka szparagowa)
Polish Dill Soup (Zupa koperkowa)
Sweet Curd Cheese Open-Faced Sandwiches