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History of the Polish potato (what did Polish people eat before?)


copol 1 | -  
5 Jan 2009 /  #1
The potato is a very popular food in Poland but the potato arrived in Europe towards the end of the 16th century.

What did Polish people eat before they had potatoes?
slick77 - | 127  
5 Jan 2009 /  #2
What did Polish people eat before they had potatoes?

How do you think Poland became so large in the 16th century? We ate our enemies.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446  
5 Jan 2009 /  #3
Mainly groats (buckwheat, millet, barley and oats) or mushess (kulesza, lemiesza) made from the meals and flours thereof, all manner of dumplings and noodles and penty of root vegetables: rutabaga, parsnip, beetroot, carrots, etc. not to mention cabbage -- fresh and cured. And of course bread.
Softsong 5 | 495  
5 Jan 2009 /  #4
Copol, thank you for asking that question, and Polonius3 for answering it. I found myself wondering the same thing when a class I had mentioned that the potato was exported from the New World during the age of explorations.

Not many people in America from what I can observe are familiar with buckwheat groats, or even millet. But millet is beginning to be an ingredient in some dried cereals or even the main ingredient. Mostly in the natural foods section. People that are into health foods are also probably more familiar with millet.

When I made it on the stove years ago, my friends thought I was eating bird seed. LOL

Those grains are all really good for you. Time they be eaten more. :-)

However, I do love potatos, too.
Jethro - | 28  
5 Jan 2009 /  #5
Good question.
I researched this same question a couple of months ago.
It seems like Europe was in the middle of the mini ice age in the 16 century. Temperatures dropped by a couple of degrees,and the rains and snows ,flooded the fields then the low temperatures froze the grains in the fields depriving the people of bread and other cereals. There were reports of people selling their children for food. This happened all over Europe including the British Isles.

About that time the Spaniards in their quest in South America, discovered the Inca Indians growing a tuber which was eventually referred to as a potato.( interesting story, look it up)

People were leery of it, but the slavs ate it.. It did well in the frozen ground.. It took a much longer time for the French to eat them.. For some crazy reason they referred as Satan Food

It took some French nobleman to convince the French to eat it.
eteune  
7 Jan 2009 /  #6
The French even ignored their own king's admonition to grow potatoes and some claim that the French Revolution would not have happened if the French had only begun eating potatoes earlier, thus preventing the famine and misery that caused them to revolt.
loco polaco 3 | 352  
7 Jan 2009 /  #7
softsong, buckwheat is also known in america as either bulgur wheat or tabouli.

there is also wold rice in PL so i'd imagine that was also consumed way back when.
mafketis 29 | 9,976  
7 Jan 2009 /  #8
buckwheat is also known in america as either bulgur wheat or tabouli.

No, tabouli is a salad made with bulgur wheat

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulgur

buckwheat is gryka, also known in the US as kasha (strange but true)
Regina 1 | 3  
3 Mar 2009 /  #9
Is there another name for wolod rice? Does it have a flavor that is distinct?
Olasz - | 69  
3 Mar 2009 /  #10
what is wolod rice? never heard of it...
plk123 8 | 4,149  
3 Mar 2009 /  #11
i'm guessing "wild" is what they mean.. ??
JohnP - | 210  
3 Mar 2009 /  #12
Hope so...although if not, one begins to wonder about this mystical "wolod" rice.
It's probably FAR more delicious than plain rice..... ;)
Lori 4 | 118  
3 Mar 2009 /  #13
Wikipedia, not always the best source, says Wild Rice grows in North America. It did at one time grow in China but lost out and apparently went extinct there. Wild rice wasn't in Europe until 1974 when it was introduced into Hungary. Wild rice is actually a grass. I have seen brown rice, really rice, sometimes labeled as wild rice. Living in a place where wild rice is plentiful helps me know the real thing.
plk123 8 | 4,149  
3 Mar 2009 /  #14
no, there are three kinds of wild rice in N. Am. that's one of the things wiki says. there is another variety in china. rice comes from south east asia anyway. not far fetched that it could have been moved to poland via the amber and silk routes millenia ago. i recall reading about wild rice in the lowlands of the Wisla delta and the wet surroundings. couldn't tell you where i read it as i'd post that up... but if i come across it again, i'll make sure to let you know.

also, white rice is just bleached rice.. brown rice is rice.
MrBubbles 10 | 614  
3 Mar 2009 /  #15
For some crazy reason they referred as Satan Food

Probably because it is in the same family as deadly nightshade (so are the tomato and tobacco)
osiol 55 | 3,922  
16 Mar 2009 /  #16
Family: Solanaceae.

Not only nightshade, tomato, tobacco, but also aubergine (eggplant), capsicum (peppers), mandrake and the attractive flowering climbing garden plant Solanum.

Modern potatoes are sensibly shaped, quite large and uniformly yellowy white. The original Andean potatoes looked like big guinea pig turds. Potatoes took a long time to catch on in France, Russia and various other places.

There is a wide variety of native European root vegetables that were consumed in the years BP (before potato).
MrBubbles 10 | 614  
16 Mar 2009 /  #17
Family: Solanaceae.

Not only nightshade, tomato, tobacco, but also aubergine (eggplant), capsicum (peppers), mandrake and the attractive flowering climbing garden plant Solanum....

There's not a lot you don't know about potatoes, Osiol. I love them. I'd pretty much live on them if I were a vegetarian, but then again, I'll stop eating animals when they stop making them out of meat!

In fact I heard it was possible to survive on a diet of solely potatoes and milk

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