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Beata: All About Polish Lesson 7 - Top 5 Polish Dishes You Have to Try and Top 5 Dishes for the Really Brave!
Nick: Hi, everyone, and welcome back to PolishPod101.com! This time we'll be talking about Polish cuisine! The Poles really love their food. There is no shortage of mouthwatering Polish dishes.
Beata: There are so many great Polish foods that it's going to be difficult to summarize them in just one lesson!
Nick: We have chosen for you the top five Polish dishes; however, before we get in to the food, we want to touch on a phrase you'll often hear when you have meals with Poles.
Beata: First, it's customary to say "smacznego" before starting a meal. It literally means "bon appetit."
Nick: And after the meal, it's customary to say "dziękuję," which translates to "thank you."
Beata: And, Nick, this is something for you. If you're having an alcoholic drink, you can say "na zdrowie!" as you touch your glasses, which means "cheers!"
Nick: I even know the literal translation of "na zdrowie!" which is "to health."
Beata: I have to say, you've done your homework for today. (laugh)
Nick: Thank you. Could we hear our phrases again? What do we say before a meal?
Beata: "Smacznego."
Nick: And after a meal?
Beata: "Dziękuję."
Nick: "Cheers" is?
Beata: "Na zdrowie."
Nick: Okay, shall we start?
Beata: I've got the list of the top five foods to try in Poland.
Nick: Who decided them?
Beata: Well...the great team at PolishPod101.com... So it's not based on official research or anything.
Nick: So, basically, these are the foods we think the listeners should try. What's the first food on the list, Beata?
(Drum roll!)
Beata: "Pierogi!"
Nick: Now, "pierogi" don't need an introduction. I would say they are one of the most popular Polish foods in Poland, and beyond. They look almost like Italian ravioli but are a little bit bigger. What's inside of "pierogi?"
Beata: There are many possible fillings for "pierogi." I've noticed that abroad, people usually eat "pierogi" with meat, cheese, or potatoes. I would like to stress, however, that there are also "pierogi" stuffed with fruits, such as strawberries, blueberries, or prunes.
Nick: So those with a sweet tooth will find something for themselves.
Beata: Absolutely. You can also top fruit "pierogi" with homemade whipped cream and some sugar and you won't be able to stop eating them.
Nick: Sounds addictive. Okay, so what's second on the list?
Beata: "Bigos."
Nick: "Bigos" is a hunter's stew made up of...
Beata: It's made up of cooked cabbage, sauerkraut, dried mushrooms, and pieces of meats such as sausage, bacon, and ham. Then it's all mixed together in tomato paste.
Nick: Sounds time consuming.
Beata: It definitely is. If you hear a Pole saying "I'm making 'bigos' today," expect a huge pot of "bigos" that could serve at least ten people, if not more.
Nick: Wow, that's a lot of "bigos."
Beata: Also, another interesting thing about "bigos" is that the more it's reheated, the better the taste becomes.
Nick: That would make sense because all those ingredients have more time to marinate and enhance each other's flavor. What's next?
Beata: Next is..."gołąbki."
Nick: The literal translation of "gołąbki" is "pigeons," right?
Beata: Very good. We could say that "gołąbki" look somewhat similar to those birds.
Nick: So what are the ingredients for "gołąbki?"
Beata: They consist of cabbage leaves that are stuffed with a mix of rice and meat and are covered in tomato sauce. You're probably thinking "Gosh, those Poles eat only cabbage."
Nick: Actually, I know that there is a lot of cabbage in Polish cuisine. This dish, again, looks like it's time consuming. You probably make them in bulk? (laugh)
Beata: I know you're joking but it's absolutely true. We make lots of them at once. It's a huge project! (laugh)
Nick: The next dish on our list is...?
Beata: "Placki ziemniaczane!" Yum.
Nick: Ah, the famous Polish potato pancakes. I was hoping they will be mentioned.
Beata: "Placki ziemniaczane" are one of my favorites. They are very simple to make at home. You basically have to puree potatoes; the number of potatoes depends on you. Once they are pureed, add an egg, some flour, puree a little onion, and season the mix with salt and pepper, and you're ready to fry the mixture in oil.
Nick: Sounds delicious. When they're done, how can they be eaten?
Beata: I like them without anything, but I know a lot of people like to eat them with sour cream or sugar.
Nick: I have to say that this sounds great. I can't wait to make them myself.
Beata: And last but not least on our list is "żurek," also known as "barszcz biały."
Nick: It's definitely one of the most well-known Polish soups. It's made from rye flour and it has this delicious sour taste to it. How can this soup be eaten?
Beata: It can be served with sausage, hard-boiled eggs, and potatoes or bread. And also what's interesting about this soup is that many Polish families eat a special "żurek" for breakfast on Easter morning.
Nick: What do you mean by "special?"
Beata: Besides eggs and bread, people also add many different types of meats, ranging from a variety of sausages, ham, or even pieces of bacon.
Nick: Wow, that sounds promising. (laugh) So, Beata, other than this list, what food do YOU recommend to our listeners?
Beata: I would for sure recommend trying some Polish pastries. Poland is famous for many of them, perhaps the most recognizable being "kremówka." You really can't miss it.
Nick: I love "kremówka." You definitely have to try it when in Poland. It's basically a cream cake. I've heard that Pope John Paul II used to eat a lot of them as a young boy. This is how they were made famous.
Beata: That's exactly right.
Nick: All right. Now here's another fun top five…the top five Polish foods for the brave!
Beata: Yes, the foods on this list require some bravery to try. What's the first one?
Nick: "Fried liver," which in Polish is "wątroba."
Beata: Well, it might sound kind of suspect, but actually it's very tasty. Try it with caramelized onions. You can't resist, it's soooo good.
Nick: Next on the list is tripe.
Beata: In Polish, we call it "flaki" or "flaczki." It's kind of a Polish meat stew with pieces of beef tripe.
Nick: Other common ingredients are different vegetables, such as carrot and parsley, then beef itself and spices, including salt, pepper, and lots of marjoram.
Beata: Okay, now the next one is "kiszka," also called "kaszanka," which is popularly referred to as blood sausage.
Nick: It's one of my favorites. It's basically a pig's intestine stuffed with different meats and buckwheat or barley, all soaked in pig's blood.
Beata: Poles like to eat "kiszka" for breakfast and supper. It's served fried with onions and bread.
Nick: When you go to Poland, try "kiszka." I'm telling you, it's delicious.
Beata: Okay, now the next one might top the list for me. It's called "salceson," which translates to head cheese.
Nick: Even though it has cheese in its name, it has nothing to do with actual cheese. It's a meat jelly with pieces from a pig's head in it, often including the tongue.
Beata: It's a cold cut and, at least in Poland, there are different types of "salceson."
Nick: You can have a darker type of "salceson" with blood in it or a whiter version with a variety of seasoned meats and no blood.
Beata: I mean, with blood or without, it doesn't sound too promising to me.
Nick: I don't know what you're talking about. It's delicious, especially if eaten with spicy mustard.
Beata: If you say so. And the last one on our list is jellied pig's feet, known in Poland as "galareta."
Nick: Another treat for me. It's basically a jelly made from a meat stock, in our case pig's feet. Some people like to sprinkle vinegar on top of that. I personally like it with mustard and chopped raw onion.
Beata: It looks like everything that you eat must have mustard on it, which, by the way, Poles also love. Okay, so there you have it. The top five foods for the brave. If you're feeling adventurous, give some of these dishes a try!
Nick: Polish cuisine has a huge variety of food for you to try. You're sure to find something you like. That does it for our lesson on cuisine!
Beata: Don't forget the two phrases you say before and after meal.
Nick: "Smacznego" and "dziękuję," right?