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Which ingredients/vegetables/fruits/meats are nonexistent in traditional Polish cuisine?


RandomUser    
10 Apr 2019  #1
For example, I'm quite certain traditional Polish recipes in general don't contain ingredients such as artichoke, avocado, broccoli, cauliflower, chevon (a.k.a. goat meat), coconut, duck, ginger, kiwi fruit, mango, mutton, pineapple, shellfish, turkey, etc.?
jon357 65 | 14,420    
10 Apr 2019  #2
You'll not find much rhubarb (when the markets have it, it's sad, pale and limp). Lamb isn't very popular in PL either. Samphire isn't traditional, nor are strong cheeses.
OP RandomUser    
10 Apr 2019  #3
Thanks for your reply. I forgot to ask about asparagus, brussel sprout, kale, okra, pumpkin, spinach, squash, sweet potato/yam, veal etc - are all those also nonexistent in traditional Polish cuisine? I'm quite sure I've also never seen those in traditional Polish recipes
jon357 65 | 14,420    
  10 Apr 2019  #4
asparagus

You don't mention which country you're from, however if you're from one where asparagus is usually green, you'll be surprised to see that Polish asparagus is almost always the white type (very popular when it's in season, grows well in PL). Green asparagus is something newish, and most often found in bigger supermarkets. A bit like Britain in reverse. The same inversion with parsley. Flatleaf is normal (and much-used), the curly type is something of a novelty.

Kale is a new revival, rather like the UK. Okra is very rare. They have squash and plenty of pumpkin. Veal is quite common (more so than in the UK) however it's German-type 'rose veal'.

Swede is almost unheard of. There's a Polish name for it (brukiew), however it's generally used for cattle feed (when I do it with butter and black pepper, people are amazed).

Parsnips (pasternak in Polish) are very rare. My neighbour (late middle-age and a real foodie) had never had it or noticed it for sale; she asked me to bring some from Britain.

Shellfish, BTW, isn't traditional at all (due to the only bit of coast being on the Baltic), altough it's becoming popular now especially in cities.
OP RandomUser    
11 Apr 2019  #5
I'm in Canada, and I've seen both green and white asparagus in Canadian grocery stores but I've eaten only the green ones (not bad with lots butter, or cut into pieces and mixed with canned soup). In Canada/USA we call swede "rutabaga", which I've actually never eaten before. The traditional Polish recipes I've seen contain beets, cabbage, cucumbers, beef/pork etc among many other common worldwide ingredients. Are traditional Polish chefs and home cooks incorporating non-Polish ingredients into traditional Polish recipes, or do they generally stick with only traditional Polish ingredients? And which non-Polish ingredients are now popular (or at least becoming popular) in Poland? Oops I forgot to ask if eggplant is popular in Poland (I don't think I've ever seen a traditional Polish recipe containing eggplant)
jon357 65 | 14,420    
11 Apr 2019  #6
Yes. Modern Polish cuisine can be very eclectic, and there's also modern takes on traditional recipes.

A lot of things grow well in PL, however the centralised distribution of foods from 1948 to 1989 (and if truth be told, afterwards too) as well as the very lean years of the war, had an effect on what made it to the shops.

Oops I forgot to ask if eggplant is popular in Poland

It was rare until a few years ago, now it's easy to buy. Courgettes are very popular, as are red/green/yellow peppers. Traditional tastes tend towartds the bland, however chillies etc are becoming more popular.

There were some rather 'posh' recipes like poppy seed pierogi and pierogi Lwowskie (filled with something like a dryer bolognese sauce) which became rarer but are now making revivals. The economic decline of the better off and more cosmopolitan people (who suffered terribly in the war and shortly afterwards) meant that traditional Polish food and 'peasant food' became almost synonymous, and some things fell out of fashion.

Income levels are unfortunately still low, and this does have a bearing on what people eat. As you'd expect, people in cities as well as people who've travelled, are more adventurous.

Right now, if you go to potluck meals etc in Warsaw, tabbouleh seems to be everywhere.

Some older traditional foods are making a comeback. Czeremcha, used in winemaking is something that is modestly regaining popularity.
kaprys 1 | 1,409    
  11 Apr 2019  #7
@RandomUser
When you talk traditional cuisine, you talk about products that can be cultivated in a given country. Afaik, you can't grow avocado in Poland. I don't think it's possible in Canada either. However, you can easily buy pretty much everything in supermarkets here.

Duck is very traditional. Mutton isn't really. As for other meats, all are eaten here.
Cauliflower and broccolli are common and eaten at least since my childhood. Rhurbar was used for making pies and compote when I was a kid. Pineapple, coconut, avocado or ginger are available on daily basis. So is eggplant or zucchini.
OP RandomUser    
11 Apr 2019  #8
The items I mentioned in my above posts aren't traditional ingredients in the sense of "National Dish(es) of Poland" traditional cuisine, even almost all are readily available in Poland. For example, beets and cabbage are well-known for being ingredients in famous traditional Polish recipes - but broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini etc are not famous/traditional ingredients, at least not in the "National Dish(es) of Poland" sense.

Another example is how tomatoes are readily available in all countries, and yet aren't even famous/traditional ingredient in traditional Chinese/Japanese/Korean/Vietnamese cuisine (Ironically, China is actually the world's largest exporter of tomatoes). Same with chevon/lamb/mutton and also potatoes/yams, all of which are also not part of their famous/traditional cuisine in the "National Dish(es) of China etc" sense
kaprys 1 | 1,409    
11 Apr 2019  #9
In this sense, cauliflower is very traditional. Present in the Polish cuisine since the times of Bona Sforza. I guess it's eaten in most Polish households with bread crumbs in summer.

As for tomatoes, well, there's Polish zupa pomidorowa - again very often eaten in Polish households.
jon357 65 | 14,420    
  11 Apr 2019  #10
Another example is how tomatoes are readily available in all countries

Allegedly introduced to PL by Queen Bona Sforza too. A late addition to any cuisine, they were once universally regarded as inedible.

broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini

They are a good fit to the Polish agricultural ecosystem and taste in food.

What's Polish cuisine? If you go back to Mieszko's time you wouldn't see orange carrots, red beetroot or a cabbage. You'd see grains and kale. You wouldn't find of course potatoes which reached PL in the late C18 and were slow to be adopted in continental Europe generally.
OP RandomUser    
11 Apr 2019  #11
As for tomatoes, well, there's Polish zupa pomidorowa - again very often eaten in Polish households

I was giving an example about how tomatoes (and also cheeses, and potatoes/yams) are extremely common ingredients worldwide in almost all (inter)national cuisines & recipes including Polish, and yet they're nonexistent in famous/traditional Chinese/Japanese/Korean/Vietnamese cuisines & recipes in terms of "National Dish(es) of China etc...". So my posts are regarding extremely common worldwide ingredients that are nonexistent in famous/traditional Polish cuisine & recipes (other examples of nonexistent ingredients in famous/traditional Polish recipes are olives and chili peppers)
jon357 65 | 14,420    
  11 Apr 2019  #12
Fresh sea fish is surprisingly rare in traditional Polish cuisine. Fresh river fish and soused herring, yes. Fresh sea fish, no. For most of its history, Poland didn't really have a coast and when it did, most of the population centres were too far inland before the days of refrigerated logistics...

Turkey too. It exists, however it doesn't really figure in traditional dishes. Even now, it's (hard to believe) often more expensive than chicken, and there's a perception that it's better quality! Even though it's intensively farmed in a rather unwholesome way.

Horsemeat (konina) and horse sausage are available though unpopular in Poland, yet quite common across the border in Czech.
OP RandomUser    
11 Apr 2019  #13
Fresh sea fish is surprisingly rare in traditional Polish cuisine. Fresh river fish and soused herring, yes. Fresh sea fish, no.

From what I can see, carp seems to be a favourite freshwater fish in Poland, as shown in these videos below:
youtube.com/watch?v=NodGUi5e7fI
youtube.com/watch?v=AKCKd9xr1cg
youtube.com/watch?v=39DrQ6hZyyc
youtube.com/watch?v=uv2b4dGyL5s
jon357 65 | 14,420    
11 Apr 2019  #14
Traditional at Christmas, not so popular as it used to be during the rest of the year (very bony).

You do find Karp po żydowsku, basically gefiltefisch, which is boned, and often boned and set in aspic, however it seems far less popular than it was (whereas salmon and shellfish is growing in popularity).
kaprys 1 | 1,409    
11 Apr 2019  #15
Carp actually became a traditional Christmas Eve dish only after WW2.
OP RandomUser    
11 Apr 2019  #16
@ jon357

Traditional at Christmas, not so popular as it used to be during the rest of the year (very bony)

@ kaprys

Yes, I just now noticed all 4 of the above videos are posted on Youtube in December months
jon357 65 | 14,420    
  11 Apr 2019  #17
Carp actually became a traditional Christmas Eve dish only after WW2.

That's interesting, and just like turkeys (relatively rare and localised before factory farming and now rather downmarket) in the UK.

Was there a favourite seasonal dish before or was it a matter of personal choice/familiy tradition as in the UK?
Miloslaw 6 | 1,400    
11 Apr 2019  #18
You'll not find much rhubarb

Maybe not in current Poland.But my parents grew it in the garden and made plenty of Polish dishes with it.
I was never too keen......

Duck is very traditional.

Agreed.

Fresh sea fish is surprisingly rare in traditional Polish cuisine

Lack of coastline........but,as you say,herring is popular.
jon357 65 | 14,420    
  11 Apr 2019  #19
But my parents grew it in the garden

Was that in England? It does grow much better in cooler, damper environments. I can see it would do well as a substitute for redcurrents etc. in some dishes.

but,as you say,herring is popular.

And delicuous too!
Miloslaw 6 | 1,400    
11 Apr 2019  #20
Was that in England?

Yes.

And delicuous too!

I used to hate that herring when I was young, but like many people, my tastes have changed as I have got older and I now love many foods that I hated when I was young.

Maybe I should give herring another go.....it was "dem bones" that got me the first time...... :-)
OP RandomUser    
12 Apr 2019  #21
Are canned/packaged soups massively popular in Poland? (for example soup brands such as Baxter's soups and Campbell's soups etc in USA/Canada and UK/Australia/NZ? But instead with traditional Polish soups in cans/packages?) If internationally available, what brand names of canned/packaged traditional Polish soups, and where to buy in Ontario Canada? (specifically Toronto and surrounding area)?
Miloslaw 6 | 1,400    
12 Apr 2019  #22
Poles make their own soups.
jon357 65 | 14,420    
  12 Apr 2019  #23
Are canned/packaged soups massively popular in Poland?

All food shops have a large and growing range; once just packets, now tetrapaks too.

If internationally available, what brand names of canned/packaged traditional Polish soups

Winiary, Knorr (both Unilever, Knorr are a bit more expensive) and Hortex barszcz/żurek.

Barszcz is also sold by weight in plastic tubs.

People do still make their own too, of course. That was easier in the days when the man worked and the woman didn't. In villages where people are poorer, have more time and often have the fresh ingredients, it's more likely.

Rosół z kury much the same as traditional Jewish chicken soup, can be bought as stock cubes, however if it's served the traditional way, with the chicken pieces first and the broth afterwards, that's worth doing as a whole meal, with pasta (the Polish type) in with the broth and chicken pieces, They almost always put marjoram in this.

One interesting product in Poland is bags of frozen soup vegetables; quite handy just to boil up with a stock cube. Not quite as nice as fresh however, or as convenient as the packet/tetrapak stuff.
kaprys 1 | 1,409    
13 Apr 2019  #24
I have never seen Polish soups in cans - I've seen some 'instant' ones but they're terrible and aimed at students, backpackers etc. But I never look for any - like my working mother and grandmothers did I make soups at home. ..

Stock cubes won't make a real rosół (we don't add marjoram, it's for żurek, fasolka po bretonsku etc )
@RandomUser
Why don't you go to a Polish restaurant?
jon357 65 | 14,420    
  13 Apr 2019  #25
I have never seen Polish soups in cans

I've seen them a few times though not recently.

but they're terrible and aimed at students, backpackers etc

The TV adverts for them aim them very much at families. And the volume of sales/size of market suggests that far more people than students/backpackers by and use them.

About marjoram, I've certainly had rosół a kury with it in quite a few times, made by a farmer from near Lublin.
kaprys 1 | 1,409    
13 Apr 2019  #26
Well, perhaps it's a regional /personal thing. Marjoram helps you to digest so I don't think it's necessary in rosół especially that it'd dominate the flavour.

We add allspice and bay leaf, salt and pepper, of course and parsley.
Also in a lot of households Sunday rosól becomes the broth for other soups - so it makes things a lot simpler.
The problem with ready made soups is that they don't taste or smell of veggies and spices but of preservatives.
pawian 144 | 7,546    
13 Apr 2019  #27
... coconut, duck, ginger, kiwi fruit ...

Funny you included duck into that list. I thought ducks are universal food all over the world, except the Antarctic, probably. Did you study any Geography at school? :):)
jon357 65 | 14,420    
13 Apr 2019  #28
The problem with ready made soups is that they don't taste or smell of veggies and spices but of preservatives.

Some of the tetrapak ones are pretty well indistinguishable from home-made ones, especially if you use them as a base for something.

I thought ducks are universal food all over the world,

You need plenty of fresh water for ducks.
pawian 144 | 7,546    
13 Apr 2019  #29
I didn`t mean only keeping ducks. I also meant hunting them - don`t Beduins shoot at ducks flying over the Sahara desert? :)
jon357 65 | 14,420    
  13 Apr 2019  #30
There are some ducks where the Sahara meets the coast however not in any quantity that would make them a common part of the diet. Plenty of what ducks like in Poland though, fresh water and a mild climate.


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