I’m in Warsaw on my iron curtain expedition looking for fun things to do with the locals. Food is everyones favourite topic and really brings people together, so I decided to do a Polish cooking class with Tingly and Polish your cooking. Food is fuel when you're on an expedition cycling 150kms per day. I haven't home cooked a meal in months since I've been away and really enjoy cooking at home so I was looking forward to this.
We started off sat around the table sampling tasty traditional Polish meats, pickles, cheeses and breads. Our host, Michael told us about Polish cuisine, where all our food came from and how its made. Everything was locally sourced by Michael from small family farms not far from where he lived. What he told us about food availability, or lack of and how people cooked differently in communist times with what they could get with rationing cards was really interesting. A little history lesson too! Polish school dinners sound just as bad as ours back home. I think I ate too much plumb bread and cottage cheese but it was so good! I also made big dent in the smoked meats platter, we simply couldn’t eat it all there was so much.
We then moved to the kitchen whereby Michael taught us how to make the pastry and the fillings to make traditional Polish Pierogi, a type of filled dumpling. It was easy and fun. Everyone ate what they made and there was so much of it we all took the left overs home. The evening was so much more than I had expected. It was like hanging out in the kitchen cooking and eating with your friends, so much so that after wards we all went out for drinks.
What really made the evening was Michaels descriptions of his childhood cooking with his mother, family stories and his mothers homemade cherry vodka which he served us. His Granddad sounds likes a legend, making his own vodka and patrolling his village in his tractor, hopefully not mixing the two! My favourite story was the one of keeping a Carp fish in the bath tub for 2 days in the lead up to christmas which meant that not only did the children have a pet for a couple of days, they also got out of bath time!
It was a very enjoyable, stomach busting evening. A cooking class is definitely something I’ll do again as a really fun, alternative way to learn about local life, food and culture.