18 Dec, 2008
Polish Christmas food
Posted by: Michał In: feeeed me!
Here I was, trying to find time (and inspiration) to write a post on Polish Christmas food, but it looks like yesterday’s thelondonpaper did a relatively good job.
Tom Moggach wrote a piece on how different countries celebrate Christmas from a culinary perspective and included this, rather well-researched, concise, yet informative bit:
Eat: Borscht soup [how many spellings does this word have?!], carp, mushroom dumplings, herring, potato salad, poppy seed cake and fruit compote.
Tradition: Christmas Eve is a day of fasting, before a feast of 12 dishes [oh, yes] – and no booze or meat until midnight. One place at the table is left free for unexpected guests [or as some prefer to call it, a lost traveller or a person in need], while custom dictates the sharing of ‘opłatek’, a thin wafer, with family and friends.
It’s actually surprising how much information there was in this short piece. Obviously, he didn’t even manage to scratch the surface, as there are as many variations of the Christmas Eve dinner as there are regions, cities and families in Poland.
My family for example never eats carp. We substitute it with another kind of fish, usually haddock. We don’t have mushroom dumplings, but we have a rich mushroom soup. The fruit compote tastes brilliant if it’s made from smoked dried fruit and cloves. YUM!
The area of Poland I come from also has several variations of the dessert – some of them are really rich and fruity, some sound weird (and include – among other things – beetroot), some are simply divine. Like makówki.
Now, this is a Silesian specialty with poppy seeds, almonds, nuts, milk, honey, vanilla, raisins, lemon peel, butter and milk. (Some people also use coconut and alcohol.)
I’m still hoping to make it for Christmas this year and if I do, I promise a photo recipe. That’s provided I can buy ground poppy seeds. The dish itself are supposed to have a drug-like effect on you, but I guess it’s just the combination of sugar and carbs that’s so sleep-inducing.
Anyway, have you ever experienced Polish Christmas food? What’s your favourite? I’m curious….
Image © rois Têtes (TT) via Flickr under CC licence