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Monday, 23 May 2011

Tropical Polish Cuisine


While researching golabki I discovered a Polish food blog with historical background on galabki.


"Legend has it that a king of Poland (Casimir IV Jagiellon) fed his army with golabki before a key battle in 1465 and the subsequent victory was credited to this hearty meal beforehand."

However, recipes refer to the tomato based sauce with golabki, and Cortez did not return from the New World with the tomato and syphilis until 1519! So they could have had no tomatoes in their sauce?

A google search also provides this blog reference:

"In 1518, an Italian princess, Bona Sforza, married King Zygmunt of Poland. Missing her native Italy, Bona brought architects and artists from there to Poland, as well as seeds and expert cooks, so that she could still have a connection with her now distant ...In 1518, an Italian princess, Bona Sforza, married King Zygmunt of Poland. Missing her native Italy, Bona brought architects and artists from there to Poland, as well as seeds and expert cooks, so that she could still have a connection with her now distant homeland. Such was the impact of her actions that some Italian words slipped into the Polish language, such as kalafiory ( cauliflower), pomidory (tomato) and salata (lettuce)."

However, this doesn't fit either as the date is far too early for the tomato to have reached Poland. History of the tomato is interesting, not widely used for food in USA until as late as mid 1800's, and was believed by many to be poisonous both in the USA and Europe. Thomas Jefferson was an early grower and 'tomato pioneer' from around the time of the Declaration of Independence. There is a possibly apocryphal story of Jefferson eating tomatoes on the steps of Salem courthouse to prove they were not poisonous. There is a similar story of a plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln by convincing his chef to cook him tomatoes. Lincoln survived and apparently took a liking to tomatoes! French influence introduced them to Louisiana. Even in Italy they didn't become pervasive in the cuisine until the late 1700's and it seems the first actual record (Wikipedia) of a written pasta tomato recipe was as recent as 1871.

So when did the tomato arrive in Poland?


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