I hope you’ve enjoyed time with family and friends over Christmas and want to take a moment to wish you and yours health and happiness in the coming year. There has always been something about this time of year that makes me eager to return to structure and routine after holiday festivities. Our youngest daughter, her boyfriend, and her dog left for California this morning, the last of our house guests. On Christmas, there were twelve people and five dogs in and out over the course of the day. Now, Ed is at work, and our pups, Ellie and Rigby are snoozing beside me as I write this. Since we’re just finishing up leftovers, I thought I’d talk about one of my favorite subjects, Polish cookbooks.
There are eleven Polish cookbooks in our kitchen, twelve if you count an e-book on sausage making. Two are in Polish; the rest are in English. Fortunately, most of my Polish vocabulary, other than the basic niceties, is centered around food. If there are ingredients I don’t know, google translate can usually fill in the gaps. There are a few tricky things I can clue you in on:
- If something translates as protein, they mean egg white
- Carnation, that means whole clove
- English Spice, we know it as Allspice (usually used whole, not ground)
One of my prize cookbooks isn’t pictured. Treasured Polish Recipes for Americans is out on loan to a colleague. If you’re reading this Stella, I wonder if you’re holding it for ransom until I return your tablecloth?
I’m happy to say that my own cookbook has joined my stack ever-growing stack of Polish cookbooks!
I thought I’d share a brief review of my books with you and when possible give you a link to purchase (by clicking on the photo of the books below) in case you’d like to add one of these to your bookshelf. The links that are from Amazon are affiliate links, which means simply that if you buy something after clicking on the link, Amazon will pay me a small percentage of your purchase. It doesn’t change your price, and helps to offset the cost of maintaining this website, and I thank you.
My own collection of favorite Polish recipes, including soups, breads, pierogi, mains, sides, desserts, and beverages. Each recipe includes a color photo. The sections and many recipes offer background on the dishes. Most of the recipes are easy, but I have a few for the more adventurous cook. It’s available on Amazon, or a signed copy can be purchased from my website (expect to allow at least 2 weeks for a signed copy).
My first Polish cookbook was Polish Cookery by Marja Ochorowicz-Monatowa, translated and adapted by Jean Karsavina. The original was published around 1900. It is an American adaptation of a famous standard cookbook in Poland. The measurements are converted for American kitchens. With 53 soup recipes and 18 more recipes for soup garnishes, you know there is a good understanding of Polish cuisine. I’ve made a few recipes from this book and enjoyed reading many more. My one complaint would be that there are no photographs, and the photos are my favorite part of any cookbook.
My second Polish cookbook is one written in Polish that a bought at the train station in Poznan. While I have to translate everyting. I’m happy to say that it has color photos on every page! Regionalna Kuchnia Polaska, as the name suggests, presents recipes from seven different regions of Poland. I used the Rogale Swietomarcinskie from the Kuchina Wielkopolska section along with a baking session with the head of the Baker’s Guild to create my recipe for Poznan’s famous pastry.
My next Polish cookbook was Nela’s Cookbook by Nela Rubenstein, the wife of pianist Arthur Rubinstein. I love this book and reading it makes me love Nela. There are wonderful head notes with every recipe, giving the reader a true feel for this woman and the joy she took in preparing food for those she cared about. New copies are getting pricey, so I suggest selecting a used copy of this book which I highly recommend. The recipes are Polish, Lithiuanian, and American.
Polish Cooking is a small book recommended to by my friend Klaudia and gifted to me by my friend Elzbieta. It is written by Izabella Byszewska and photographed by Christian Parma. Besides recipes, it talks about typical foods for morning, afternoon, and evening. Recipes are identified by region. The color photos are lovely. My one complaint is that in this very small book, it’s probably 6 inches x 6 inches, and half an inch thick, the text is VERY small.
The next Polish recipe book I added to my collection was Wielka Ksiega Nalewek, the Big Book of Tinctures; it is written in Polish. My copy is from 2011, but there are multiple versions out there. This book was recommended to us by our friend Slawek. He mentioned it when we sampled his homemade raspberry liqueur, Maliniak. This book has convinced me that Poles have made an art form of steeping anything and everything in vodka. I’ve made several of the liqueurs. It’s a classic and must have if you enjoy sipping something yummy after dinner that is, of course, good for the digestion.
My next Polish cookbook, From a Polish County House Kitchen by Anne Applebaum and Danielle Crittenden, I was lucky enough to win in a weekly competition hosted by a now defunct English language news website. I’ve cooked from this book more than any other, and enjoy reading the author’s head notes and the many color photos. Anne Applebaum you may know is a journalist who has written extensively about Communism and post-communist society in Central and Eastern Europe. She is married to Radosław Sikorski, a Polish politician and journalist, and they have a Polish country home. It gives me some perverse pleasure that the authors have had some complain about things that are not authentic or traditional, just as I have. Everybody’s grandmother puts her own spin on traditional dishes, and the authors have put their own modern, lighter versions in their cookbook.
I bought Rose Petal Jam because it is similar to something I would like to write one day, part memoir, part cookbook. I have enjoyed reading it but I haven’t cooked from it yet. Perhaps getting off the shelf today, will be what I need to make that happen. Author Beata Zatorska and her husband, photographer Simon Target have done a lovely job with this book. Whether you cook from it or not, you’ll find it a great read. The photos are more than just the food, it’s the countryside, the ingredients, family photos, an armchair peek into Polish life.
If you know an American cook who makes Polish food, chances are they have Treasured Polish Recipes for Americans. It seems to be one of the most popular Polish cookbooks and has been around for generations. I’ve made a few of the recipes, and have found them to be excellent. As I recall (remember this book is loaned out at the moment), this was put together by a group of Polish-American women and the proceeds were originally used to help with relief efforts in post-war Poland.
Polish Sausage, Authentic Recipes and Instructions is one I have only perused so far. It includes a history of sausage making in Poland, a chapter on food safety, and more info on Polish sausages than I would have imagined possible, hot, cold, smoked, fresh, liver, blood, head cheese, you get the idea.
Wild Honey & Rye by Ren Behan. A modern take on classic Polish recipes is the newest addition to our bookshelf. The author is passionate about good food, eatiing the seasons, etc, and the photography is breathtaking.
My most recent addition to my collection comes from my blogging buddy, Anna, who writes Polish Your Kitchen. It’s a wonderful collection of recipes and memories centered around Christmas.
I’ve recently added Fresh from Poland: New Vegetarian Cooking from the Old Country. It’s a wonderful collection from the award-winning photographer and food blogger, Michał Korkosz.
So that’s my lineup. What Polish cookbooks are on your bookshelf?
An accountant by trade and a food blogger since 2009, Lois Britton fell in love with Polish cuisine during the years she lived in Poznań, Poland. As the creator of PolishHousewife.com, she loves connecting readers with traditional Polish recipes. Lois has a graduate certificate in Food Writing and Photography from the University of South Florida. She is the author of The Polish Housewife Cookbook, available on Amazon and on her website.
My first Polish cookbook was “Polish Heritage Cookery: A Hippocrene Original Cookbook” by Robert Strybel. The recipes that I’ve made from it were great & I particularly love the poppy seed roll recipe.
I have the Treasured Polish Recipes for Americans, too.
I received this book from an Italian friend married to a Polish boy back in 1974 when they came to visit us. They live in Trenton NJ.
My daughter has it now. She lives just one mile away from me.
I have made some of the items.
What a nice gift!
Happy Holidays! Thanks for your posts.
MARY LEE DECKER
My Polish cookbook Bible is Polish Heritage Cookery by Robert & Maria Strybel, too. I’m 70 years old and all my Grandparents came from Poland. My Grandmothers and Mother were amazing cooks. The recipes in this book are the ones I go to when I need comfort food. The stories bring back amazing memories of my childhood in Chicago. Unfortunately, there are really no pictures and the recipes are not shown with ingredients listed first but contained in the body of the recipe. But, for the food I grew up with and cherish this is #1 of the six I have.
Thank you for your posts and Have a Very Happy New Year.
My books belonged to my Mom at one time. And they are Dobra Kuchnia and Kuchnia Slaska. Most of the recipes I use are the once collected by my Mom over the years. As I cook, I write in the US measurements next to the metric system. I was born in Poland and lived there until I was sixteen when we made the move to St. Louis, MO. Both my parents passed since then so now my brothers look to me to make the polish dishes….and believe me, I do not disappoint.
Good on you, Marietta, for keeping up the traditions.
great article and very informative, my mum has most of these books 🙂
So sorry about the cookbook! As soon as I saw the title of your post I felt a pang of guilt. I should have returned it long ago and think of you every time I come across it. I enjoy looking at it so much!
I have Treasured Polish Recipes for Americans that belonged to my Cioci. As she aged I used to go to her house on weekends for my Polish cooking lessons. She loved sharing her recipes as well as my Babci’s and I cherished the time we had together. I have some up on my blog but really would like to try more. My cousins live in Warsaw and I am waiting for her to send some of our family’s recipes. Your site is fantastic!
Hi Lisa! Isn’t it great to bond over family recipes? I like your site too!
Old Polish Traditions in the Kitchen and at the Table, Leminis and Vitry
The Art of Polish Cooking Zeranska,
Woman’s Glory, Slovanian
Strybels large book.
And your last Sausage book
Hi, you should add Renata Behan’s “Wild Honey and Rye” – a modern take on traditional Polish recipes. She is a friend of mine and it was published in UK last year and in the USA earlier this year. It not only has great recipes but you get the whole feel of Renata’s emigrant experience growing up as the daughter of an ex-Polish soldier.
Love your line up! Not many of those available in the UK.
Hi Ania, thanks for the suggestion. I have purchased Renata’s book since I originally wrote this post. I need to update it. Aren’t you lucky to be a friend of hers. In reading her book, I know that she’s someone with whom I would love to spend some time, especially in the kitchen!
I have ‘The art of POlish cooking’ by Zeranska, I make her Piernikowa krajanka swiateczna cookies every year. I have Peters Dessert book as well. Also ‘Old Polish traditions in the Kitchen and at the table. Just bought Polska new Polish cooking by Zuza Zak. Others from the community I grew up in are Favoite Recipes of the First German Congregational Church Denver Co. 1973 and Womans Glory the Kitchen, Slovanian cookbook great Poteca recipes 1971 Also have Treasured Polish recipes. I tend to copy recipes from the net, pinterest Polish Housewife, Polish your Kitchen, Niebo na Talerz itd. Pozdrawiam is dzieki
I just ordered a polish cookbook my mother used to have. My Great-grandmother who came here from poland had a real thick cookbook hardcover and it was green. I do not know the name or author but a lot of recipe’s were in polish. very old book. If anyone has any ides what I am talking about and knows where to find one,please let me know! Thank you
We’ll keep our eyes open for it, Yvonne!
I too like the Treasured Polish recipes, have the 1954 Version, Also like The Art of Polish cooking by Alina Zeranska. Plus I have a book Old Polish Tradition in the Kitchen and at the Table by Maria Lemnis and Henryk Vitry published in 1979, recipes are in a prose format.
Nice selection! Do you find the prose format difficult to follow?