I decided to review this book exactly because unlike all our other BIGOS UK members, I normally don’t blog about food. I much prefer eating it than working on preparing it:) (Huge respect to my fellow blogger ladies, here!). I noticed the “Polska: New Polish Cooking” on the shelf of our local Waterstones when I was looking for a present for a friend and since she is always visiting us with a nice homemade cake, well…I thought it would be nice to present something from my homeland. Zuza Zak, the author of the book, is actually based in London at the moment so it’s nice to read something from a fellow expat who treasures her culinary roots.
I really love love love the feel of the book – it’s really good quality with really hard book covers, beautiful folk patterns (it really stands out on the shelf) and really stylish, modern imagery. Every image is really well considered: it speaks to the locals, but it also reminds me of a lot of childhood memories from Poland.
I really like the opening of the book and a great explanation of the Polish cuisine together with its regional influences. It’s really difficult to pin down the Polish cooking to one particular style – the history of the country was so complex that obviously, the meals reflect that too.
But the best aspect of the book is the actual content: a great combination of tradition with modern twists to meals. In places where additional explanation is needed, the author provides context but also practical tips. A meal that might seem quite boring at first, gain a lot of excitement from small, quirky, really modern but balanced additions.
There is something magical in this cookbook. Simple meals featured in this book can be used by anyone, but they also do speak a little bit more to us, Poles living in the UK. An omelette with stewed berries sounds almost ordinary, but not if you remember exactly the morning hunt for strawberries in the back garden or family trips to the woods to collect wild blueberries. And this approach sums up with the UK is all about: the wonderful mix of influences, love for heritage and tradition and openness to the new, innovative and quirky.
I strongly recommend this book. If you want to try out a few ideas first, there is a good article with those here. If you want to find out more about the author, follow her on her blog, Twitter or Instagram. You can get the book in all major bookstores and on Amazon. It’s so worth it!