03 January 2007

Heavy tradition

















I am deeply in love with culinary traditions even though I would be glad to explore some unknown ones instead of sticking unchangeably to our national pot heritage. Especially that there are some points on the menu which do not stimulate my ethusiasm to eating.

One of such immortal dishes - traditionally served on the New Year's Day - is bigos, supposedly brought to Poland by king Władysław Jagiełło (coming from great Lithuanian dynasty) in 15th century. I wonder how a nation can eat bigos for more than 500 years and still be alive...

















The main ingredient is sauerkraut usually combined with fresh cabbage and simmered for ages with different kinds of greasy meats and sausages as well as dried mushrooms and plums, onion and other condiments. There are options of adding wine, tomato sauce, honey, smoked plums or even plum jam as well.

The longer the proccess lasts, the better the outcome is supposed to be. So you have it re-heated every day and then left overnight, and again, and then you eat it for several days as nobody would put so much effort into a small pot. Bigos best companions are bread and vodka.

















Men that I know would go at any length to have it cooked for them even if many of them pays the price of feeling sick after these heavy marathons.

Personally, I strongly dislike the smell and do not care about the flavor, too. I'd rather have my endive baked with camembert and garlic under sighs of true disbelief about his unforgivable rebellion against tradition.

5 Comments:

Blogger John J. Goddard said...

The endive and Camembert looks and sounds very nice, but I don't think it would fortify me after a day of working in the fields. I would probably eat it for dessert after a big bowl of bigos with black rye.

Strong food makes strong people. The national pot heritage you speak of is definitely worth embracing. Besides, I'm sure you know how good for you sauerkraut is. I have some photos of a nice kraut and kielbasa I recently made in Brooklyn that I should post soon.

7:30 PM  
Blogger gagatka said...

John
I am aware that you have to feed your hard-working man well so I've learned all about making bigos - still, I'd rather look for other magic potions for myself :)

As to sauerkraut, we usually have it here, at the coast,as a salad with delicious fried fish - and that's one of the best dishes you can eat in Sopot. You'll have to try it on your own :)

8:39 PM  
Blogger simon said...

Urgh!.. Looks like the sort of thing that would reduce a man to remain intoxicated 24 hours a day...

I guess traditional food does keep people alive though... A bit like eating ants or or a semi raw kangaroo....

:o(

10:51 PM  
Blogger gagatka said...

simon
To be honest - and in spite of my personal lack of affection for bigos - I guess it's a part of national wisdom: people are trying to make the best use of their local resources to survive harsh winters and have enough strength and resilience.
You know this king Jagiełło won one of the greatest battles in Polish history :)

12:25 PM  
Blogger simon said...

yes you are right... Vikings survived on oat biscuits when rowing across to Britain.. made them very fit & great fighters..

Seriously our Aboriginals do not survive well on a "western diet".. so they way they cook traditional food is really important for their health..

11:16 PM  

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