Before the holiday season our London Cookbook Club met up again at my house to share the fruits of our efforts in Polish cooking. The cookbook, Polska: New Polish Cooking, is a modern take written by Zuza Zak. Our group was drawn to sharing a meal around cozy soups and hearty dumplings as the weather grew gray and cold here in London.
Per usual, our cookbook club’s efforts to draw the best from Polish cuisine was superb. An electric-pink borscht had just the right amount of acidity to make it zippy. “Horse hoof” dumplings, similar to Italian gnocchi, got a generous coating of pancetta, which made it one of the most popular dishes of the night. We gave our bellies love through toasted barley cakes, rich venison and prune stew, and thick slabs of rustic sourdough slathered with chanterelle mushroom butter. Polish cooking is as one would expect — hearty, satisfying and starch-laden.
Cookbook Club has evolved since our first meeting back in 2017. We’re a rotating cast of characters, and now many of our kids are experimental, enthusiastic Cookbook Club members, trying their hand at making their own recipes. My son, for example, roasted sea bass (!) and topped it with a dill sauce and creme fraiche.
Polska’s strength lies in the fundamental beauty of Polish cooking — it’s simple and straightforward, enough so that even a kid can tackle some of the recipes. But unfortunately that didn’t hold true for all of the recipes in the cookbook. A few of our members, while producing delicious dishes, found the recipes to be too complicated or required extra steps and experience that aren’t mentioned in the printed step-by-step directions.
For our next meeting, we’ll be journeying to the Middle East and reviewing Zaitoun: Recipes from the Palestinian Kitchen. You can join us virtually online by visiting our online Facebook group. Happy cooking!
Looking to start your own cookbook club? Read about how to start your own here.
For previous Cookbook Club posts, check out:
- Chapter 1: The Really Quite Good British Cookbook
- Chapter 2: Persiana
- Chapter 3: Ceviche
- Chapter 4: Tartine
- Chapter 5: Tasting Georgia
- Chapter 6: Chicken and Rice
- Chapter 7: Made in India
- Chapter 8: Orange Blossom and Honey
- Chapter 9: Christmas and Other Winter Feasts
- Chapter 10: The Lee Brothers Southern Cookbook
- Chapter 11: The Little Paris Kitchen
- Chapter 12: Season