If you want to cook authentic, traditional Polish food, these 12 cookbooks are indispensable for English-speaking cooks. They're perfect for neophytes as well as for seasoned cooks who like to know a bit of the history of Polish cuisine.
"Rose Petal Jam: Recipes & Stories From a Summer in Poland" by Beata Zatorska and Simon Target (Tabula Books, 2011) is a beautifully photographed book, which is as much travelogue as it is cookbook. The recipes are traditional yet simple to prepare and are given in American and European measurements. "Rose Petal Jam" took first place in the 2012 About.com Readers' Choice Awards in the Favorite Eastern European cookbook category. The book also won first place in the World Cuisine category of Eastern European cookooks at the 2012 Gourmand International Awards. Here are three recipes from "Rose Petal Jam":
"Polish Cookery: The Universal Cook Book" by Marja Ochorowiz-Monatowa (Crown Publishers Inc., 1979) was originally written in Polish ("Uniwersalna Książka Kucharska") and translated into American English and measurements by Jean Karsavina. There are no photos in this book but the recipes are comprehensive ranging from peasant fare to szlachta dishes. It's a standby in most kitchens in Poland.
"Polish Heritage Cookery" by Robert & Maria Strybel (Hippocrene Books Inc., 1993) is one of the most extensive and varied Polish cookbooks I've come across. There are 2,200 recipes in 29 categories written especially for Americans with American weights, measurements and temperatures. Each recipe is indexed under its American and Polish name. American measurements and some photos.
"Polish Holiday Cookery" by Robert Strybel (Hippocrene Books Inc., 2003) is a companion book to the author's "Polish Heritage Cookery." There is some overlap in the books, but this volume distills typical Polish celebrations and the foods associated with them. Expect recipes for wigilia (Christmas Eve), Święcone (Easter feast), wesele (weddings) and so much more. American measurements. No photos.
"Treasured Polish Recipes for Americans" edited by the Polanie Club of Minneapolis was first published by the Polanie Publishing Co. in 1948 with subsequent printings up to 1975. The book is still available and is a treasure trove of recipes you may remember your grandmother making or talking about. They are given in American measurements and the names are provided in both English and Polish. No photos.
"Polish Chicago: Our History, Our Recipes" by Joseph W. Zurawski (G. Bradley Publishing Inc., 2007) is not just a cookbook. This tome documents the saga of hundreds of Poles who immigrated to Chicago over the past 150 years, making the Polish diaspora in Chicago the largest outside of Warsaw. American measurements and black-and-white and color photos.
"The Art of Polish Cooking" by Alina Żerańska (Pelican Publishing Co., 2006) is a compendium of 500 authentic Polish recipes using American measurements and modern, fast and easy methods that was originally published in 1968. In addition, there are descriptions of Christmas, New Year's Eve, Easter and other celebrations. Żerańska grew up in Warsaw, so she knows whereof she speaks. All the usual Polish dishes are represented along with seldom-seen specialties like fish in aspic. No photos.
"The Cuisine of the Kings of Poland in Malbork Castle" by Bogdan Gałązka (Multico, 2010) is finally available in the United States. This beautifully photographed book is presented side by side in Polish and English with metric measurements by the executive chef of Malbork Castle in the Gdańsk region of Poland. He includes historic recipes using modern ingredients to recreate the flavors of 15th-century Poland. But don't be put off by this. The recipes are easy to prepare and the food is familiar and contemporary. Here are recipes from "The Cuisine of the Kings of Poland in Malbork Castle":
"The Cuisine of the Teutonic Grand Masters in Malbork Castle" by Bogdan Gałązka (Multico, 2009) is the predecessor to the author's "The Cuisine of the Kings of Poland in Malbork Castle" and it is finally available in the United States. This beautifully photographed book is presented side by side in Polish and English with metric measurements by the executive chef of Malbork Castle in the Gdańsk region of Poland. He includes 50 medieval recipes for soup, meat, fish, seafood and desserts adapted to contemporary times. The photography is stunning. Here are recipes from "The Cuisine of the Teutonic Grand Masters in Malbork Castle":
"The Food and Cooking of Poland" by Ewa Michalik (Anness Publishing Ltd., 2008) is a beautifully photographed book that explores the geography, festivals, culture, history and cuisine of Poland. You'll find recipes for traditional mizeria (cucumbers in sour cream), żurek (sour rye soup) and pierogi along with seldom-seen wild boar and calf brains recipes. Recipes are given in American and European measurements. Beautiful photos.
"The Polish Country Kitchen Cookbook" by Sophie Hodorowicz Knab (Hippocrene Books Inc., 2002) is just one of several books Hodorowicz Knab has written on Polish customs and cuisines. This book includes not only 100 recipes adapted for the American kitchen and using American measurements, but also discussions of the utensils used at the turn of the last century in Poland, Polish pottery, mushrooms, holidays and more. Black-and-white photos and illustrations.
"Encyclopaedia of Polish Cuisine: 2,400 Traditional & Modern Recipes" by Hanna Szymanderska (REA, 2006) is available in Polish and English. When I ordered this book, I thought it would be a reference book on the history of Polish cuisine. Instead, it's a compendium of recipes given in metric measurements from old Polish cuisine (Staropolska) to modern dishes. But, alas, no Polish names are included in the English version. Still, Szymanderska's books are scholarly and comprehensive and are definitely worth a look-see. Some of the highlights are chapters on liqueurs, mushrooms and game. No photographs.