Fresh from Poland: New Vegetarian Cooking from the Old Country

Image of Fresh from Poland: New Vegetarian Cooking from the Old Country
Release Date: 
March 17, 2020
The Experiment
Reviewed by: 

An award-winning photographer and food blogger, Michal Korkosz has written a beautiful cookbook with gorgeous photographs that will inspire home cooks.”

Michal Korkosz loved discovering new cuisines and flavors but he missed the nostalgia and comfort of his childhood food. Even though he was just 22, the award-winning food photographer found himself going back to his childhood recipes for inspiration.

“Memory, for me, is the sixth taste, and recipes are a crucial part of our heritage,” he writes in his debut cookbook, Fresh from Poland: New Vegetarian Cooking from the Old Country.

Polish food is known for dishes such as pork schnitzel and kielbasa sausage, but Korkosz decided to showcase the wonderful fruits and vegetables, the culture of dairy products, fermented food, and different grains from his homeland.

From a tender age of nine, the author was ready to cook and learn under the guidance of his grandmother and mother.

“After every recipe I made, I would anxiously await her [mother’s] opinion, hoping she would find my dishes tasty. Most of the time, she liked them!” he writes.

He discovered how food could not only satisfy the body but it could also soothe the soul, and to share his passion he founded Rozkoszny, a popular food blog. He named his blog, Rozkoszny   which refers to “those magical moments of human experience and the most pleasing sensations in the world [in this case, the sensations of preparing food].”

He also learned that he had a passion to cook and feed others.

“My hope is that my recipes inspire people to run into the kitchen and re-recreate the delectable dishes to make their day more rozkoszny.”

To make his recipes more accessible to the home cook, Korkosz has compiled a whole chapter on his Polish pantry. Here he lists the basics needed to cook Polish food from flours and grains to cheese, rose petals, and even vodka.

The book is divided into easy to use sections: Breakfast, Breads and Baked Goods, Soups, Main Dishes, Side Dishes, Pierogi and Dumplings, Desserts and Preserves, Jams and Pickles.

Breakfast is the author’s favorite meal of the day, but as a youngster he was a fussy eater. To make sure he ate something, his parents woke him up early but he was always too sleepy and tired to eat, and so the meal was frustrating for everyone. But it was not a problem on weekends where the slow pace suited his personality.

He likes to follow the old adage: “Eat breakfast like a king, share your lunch with a friend, and give dinner to your enemy.”

So the breakfast section reflects his love of this meal. There are cheesy and nutty spreads, comforting oatmeal bowls and fruit crumbles, pancakes and fritters. Choose from an array of mouth-watering selections such as Creamy Millet Pudding with Blueberries and Lemon-Vanilla Honey or Brown Butter Scrambled Eggs.

Learn how to make your own sourdough starter and turn it into Sourdough Rye Bread. Recipes for delectable treats such as Sweet Blueberry Buns, Whole Wheat Challah with Almond Streusel, or Onion-Poppy Seed Buns. Baking is comforting during troubled times, and these recipes are sure to become household favorites.

A variety of vegetables and grains play a leading role in the soups and side dishes chapters and recipes such as New Potatoes and Buttermilk Soup or Buttery Peas with Salted Almonds and Parsley or the unusual (but tasty) Sautéed Cucumbers with Fennel Seeds. The star of the book is the Pierogi and Dumplings section. Korkosz has clear directions on how to make silky smooth dough and roll out this ultimate comfort food. Whether served with butter and a dusting of salt or filled with Sauerkraut, Mushrooms and Candied Orange Zest or filled with Plums and Cinnamon-Honey Butter, the Polish dumplings are sure to please everyone.

As an award-winning photographer and food blogger, Korkosz has written a beautiful cookbook with gorgeous photographs that will inspire home cooks. This book tweaks old favorites, from an ancient land, to make them healthful, plant-based, and relevant for today’s home cook.