Here’s the second course of our summer/winter reflective series “12 things I’ve learnt living 12 months in Poland“.
2. Eat and cook to the seasons
The ever changing, more extreme seasons of Poland, mean you’d better just embrace whatever time of year it is to the fullest while it’s here. Poland has taught me that this also ought to include your everyday eating.
Of course in modern, post 1989, Poland, the majority of its population does their food shopping in large (nearly entirely foreign owned) supermarkets, where everything is available all year round, with exotic fruits imported from as far away as New Zealand… However, in most cities the local markets still exist and there is a revival of young people choosing to shop at them, while the older generations never ceased to do so. I’ve learnt (and loved) tuning into what food is in season at my local market, Stary Kleparz, in Kraków.
In my big homeland of many climates, it’s possible to buy most things Australian-grown all year round. Here in, Poland it’s rather different. Strawberry season is a mere 3 weeks! At Kleparz, I watched with interest as Polish strawberries started to appear and the prices slowly decreased until it was 3zł/kg (close to $1 AUS!) With such a short season coming just once a year, there’s nothing to do but eat as many strawberries as you can for these 3 weeks! Every time one of our housemates went out they seemed to return with yet another half kilo for us to get through! How many strawberry-kefir smoothies I consumed, I don’t know! And then, before you even had a chance to get sick of this strawberry paradise, it slips away, as quietly as it had appeared. Slowly the prices rise, until it’s not possible to buy Polish strawberries… Until next year!
I like living around these people who know how to cook to the seasons and also have clever tricks to preserve food to enjoy later in the year, when less fresh local produce will be available.
More lessons from Poland appearing here soon!