Polish cuisine according to Czerniecki
Museum of King Jan III’s Palace at Wilanów

Passage to knowledge

Museum of King Jan III’s Palace at Wilanów

Polish cuisine according to Czerniecki Jarosław Dumanowski
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The author of the first Polish cookbook considered himself to be an artist and literary man. He felt proud that thanks to him, Poles finally had a book that described the national cuisine. He also believed that a true chef had to know the cuisines and culinary habits of other nations so that his master could properly host his guests, serving French dishes to French legates, German - to German legates, Italian - to Italian legates and Polish - to Polish legates. As if anticipating critique from readers who looked for fashionable novelties from France and Italy, Cherniecki explained that "You should not be disappointed by the fact that I begin my first book with Polish dishes [...] I thought it right that you should first try old Polish dishes and if they do not satisfy your tastes, then you can move on to the more special ones further on in the book." Although he did not resign completely from foreign dishes, the author of Compendium ferculorum purposefully gave priority to the national cuisine, whose hearty supporter he was himself.

What was the Polish cuisine for the apostle of the national cuisine? In his eyes, it was mainly a juxtaposition to foreign cuisine, mainly French. According to Czerniecki, a distinctive feature of the Polish cuisine was lack of pottages and soups, i.e. vegetable soups and cream soups. However, after one hundred recipes for meat dishes, the author added also a few pottage recipes, telling the reader not to be "disappointed by the fact that I first presented the various flavours of Polish dishes. This way, I wanted to satisfy your genius in that you first try the Polish dishes and, should you find that they do not please you, then you may turn to French pottages."

It should be noted that Czerniecki did not count for example broth as soup. He started the list of "old Polish dishes" with sixteen (!) types of chicken soup. Chicken soup was one of the few dishes in whose description Czerniecki used the word "Polish." When commenting on the foreign and Polish cuisines, the author claims that a chef should delight those who do not know pottages or soups with Polish saffron and pepper dishes. Thus, Polish dishes were mostly spicy and hot and had their colour changed by seasoning. They were mainly meat and fish dishes and most of the latter ones (apart from their fast-day versions) were soaked in fat. Apart from hot flavour, they were also characterised by strong aromas resulting from the mixing of various spices and condiments, and unnatural colour. Vinegar was used abundantly and often combined with "sweetness" (sugar, juice, jam, raisins), which made meat and fish taste much different than originally.

Czerniecki was ready to defend at all costs this style, so much different from the delicate French cuisine that favoured natural flavours, aromas and colours.

Translation: Lingua Lab

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