16 Nov, 2008
Posted by: Michał In: feeeed me!
Ask any Pole in the UK, what food they miss and I’m sure quite a few of them will say they miss Polish bread. I do. Why?
To begin with, we hardly ever eat toast. Bread is something Polish people will be picky about. Take Tarnów, for example. This city in south-eastern Poland (116,000 people) sells almost 160 types of bread, including 40 types of ‘traditional’ bread. Its bakers were recently describing on Polish TV how to recognise a well baked loaf of bread (it’s all bout the crust, since you’re asking). So toast slices are perceived as something really inferior.
Then there’s the religious aspect – in a deeply Catholic country like Poland bread has always been revered as a highly symbolic type of food. Many people still make a sign of cross on a fresh loaf before slicing it.
Bread is also an important accompaniment to many dishes and is in itself an ingredient. For example, a Christmas delicacy called makówki, made traditionally in the region of Upper Silesia in the south of Poland, consists of layers of sliced bread (or baguette) soaked in a sweet mixture of ground poppy seeds, milk, nuts, almonds, raisins, orange peel and sugar. Hopefully I’ll be able to post a detailed recipe for this closer to Christmas.
And since I mentioned Upper Silesia, I also need to mention what is probably the only Museum of Bread in Poland. It’s situated in a small town of Radzionków, near Bytom and was set up several years ago by a local man who was extremely passionate about this most basic of foods. I remember interviewing him as a young journalist in the 1990s when was trying to convince Bytom’s president, that having a unique museum in a unique pre-war bakery building in the centre of the city would be a fantastic opportunity to attract some tourists. Sadly, as far as I am aware, the building is still decaying and the museum was later opened a few miles down the road and so far has been visited by tens of thousands of visitors.
Next time you’re in that area, go off the beaten track and see for yourself why Poles are so crazy about their bread.
No related posts.