Cooking is a universal language, but when reading recipes, a good translation helps. In its series of bilingual cookbooks, Hippocrene provides the ideal tool for adventurous cooks: authentic recipes in the language of the country being featured, side-by-side with a reliable English translation. If A Treasury of Polish Cuisine is typical of this series, which also offers bilingual volumes on French, Italian, Cuban, and Russian cooking, it is a gem.
Polish food is simple and hearty. Most of it remains close to its peasant roots, in a satisfying pork roast stuffed with prunes and walnuts, or thick, potato-based leek soup flavored with caraway seeds. Many dishes share their roots with Russian classics, from Krupnik, the dense mushroom and barley soup that gets intense flavor from dried mushrooms, to Pasha, the stunningly rich pyramid of creamy cheese studded with dried fruits and nuts traditionally served at Easter. Chapters featuring dishes for Easter and Christmas will tempt even non-Polish cooks to bake a Mazurka--buttery, flaky squares spread with chocolate, ground almonds, or other toppings.
This elegant little volume, with its 53 recipes and witty drawings of the good life, will enchant anyone of Polish background. It is also a fine gift for someone interested in learning to make a good selection of popular Polish dishes. --Dana Jacobi