Polish book

In a French Kitchen was released in Poland last week (by Wydawnictwo Literackie), and I was in Warsaw over the weekend to promote it.  It was an incredible experience and here is why: I discovered a big group of journalists who are so professional, so prepared, so sincerely involved in their work, and so absolutely kind and respectful that it gave me renewed faith in the profession.  Not only that, but it was great fun.

On the tv set

On the set with FEEL

On the set 2

On the set 2 with happy crew

Who wouldn’t love standing on the set of Poland’s most popular morning tv show at Dzien Dobry TVN, watching  pros as they worked, laughed, and interviewed famous people (yes, me, some medical researchers, and a very hot band named FEEL).  Of all the things I learned, one was how to absolutely silently bake a chocolate cake on the set, which was then enjoyed by the hosts on air, and the rest of the crew afterwards.  As I walked out of the television station, a group of “fans” approached for my autograph.  Instant fame, Polish style.

Pierogis

Pierogis

Kohlrabi soup

Kohlrabi soup

The day proceeded with a photo shoot for Wysokie Obcasy, Poland’s best known weekend magazine, then on to interviews for more press, blogs, and radios. Interspersed with that was the most amazing lunch at Opasły tom PIW (the Fat Book State Publishing Institute – rough translation), a restaurant that offers updated yet traditional Polish cuisine.  I tried  ethereal pirogis stuffed with fresh cheese and nettles,  an intriguing  kohlrabi soup, and an unusual halva mousse dessert, reminiscent of Ottoman days.

The market

The market

PIckles

Pickles

This is how they serve potatoes

This is how to serve potatoes

The next day began with a tour of the farmers’ market in Warsaw, Hala Mirowskie, where smart little stands offered tiny white asparagus, fat, fresh kohlrabi, new potatoes, baby beets, bouquets of dill, piles of cauliflower and cabbage,  and vats of home-brined pickles that filled the air with their dill and horseradish aroma.  Tiny little glassed in cubicles offered sausages of all shapes, and hunks of air-cured hams and beef. While there,  a shopper came up to me and said, in broken English, “Madame, I saw you on television yesterday.”  It doesn’t take long to become recognized in Poland!

Octopus with "pebbles"

Octopus with “pebbles”

PIgeon salad

PIgeon salad

The day ended at Salto restaurant where I enjoyed a snaky octopus tentacle served with two coconut oil and squid ink “pebbles” filled with a  savory sun-dried tomato and herb paste that literally exploded in the mouth.  It sounds odd but was sublime, thanks to chef Martin Gimenez Castro, Warsaw’s finest.  His delicate salad topped with tender, rosy pigeon was no less luscious.

interview in garden

pastries

Beet and yogurt soup

Beet and yogurt soup

The following day was another whirlwind of press, from newspaper to radio passing by television and blogs. The site for several interviews was Restaurant Polska Rozana where mile-high meringue cakes and nut and fruit-filled pastries sat in a bower of garden roses and peonies, beckoning with a siren call.  I had time only for a bowl of chilled beet and yogurt soup garnished with paper-thin slices of radish.  It was sublime, and next time I’ll do what I know is right and begin with dessert!

drinking beer

Friends

Friends

Old Town Warsaw

Old Town Warsaw

Then it was nearly, but not quite, time to head to the airport.  As I sat and sipped a frothy Zwiec (Poland’s most popular brew), basking in the heat and the company of my marvelous interpretor, Margaret Koczkodaj, and my wonderful publicist Agnieszka Minkiewicz, I reflected.  Even a quick and busy visit gives time to appreciate a monumentally courageous city, much of it rebuilt in exact replica of its pre-World War II style, with a heart close to fine food and its sources, and the company of friends who were, just days before, strangers.

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16 Responses to In a French Kitchen, Polish-Style

  1. Great pics. Always so glad when I get to tag along vicariously to places I’ve never been. A neighbor and I have talked many times about visiting Poland, but never have gotten around to it. I’m sending her this link! Travel mercies. (P.S. I want pink soup that’s not strawberries. I’m making that!)

    • Susan says:

      I’m happy to take you along on my travels. Judging from Warsaw and the people I met there, I’d say Poland is definitely worth more of a visit.
      As for the soup, you’ll love it.

  2. Adelia says:

    Lovely! Congratulations and thanks so much for carrying us along on this delicious, intriguing journey!

  3. Anita C. Lee says:

    Susan, congratulations on your book being published in Polan! Love the pictures and glad you were able to make this trip. See you in July!!!

  4. Sara Villat says:

    Beautiful photos and lovely narrative! A great tour!! Congrats, Susan!

  5. Alice Davenport McCarthy says:

    thanks Susan for all the fab photos…we love Poland and the food!! the people!! My youngest son spent 2 years there (one as an exchange student Wrolcaw, one teaching ESL in a college in Leshnow)….oh the town squares (rynec) always so wonderful to see. We flew in and out of Warsaw but didn’t tour it (dang it) so all your pics welcoming…enjoyed every minute I was there 2x…learned to say “pebo prosche” beer please on the train!
    So happy your book is in Polish, that way cool girl!! Superbe. Alice

    • Susan says:

      Does your son read Polish? He might like the book in that language. The publisher did such a beautiful job on it!

  6. Susan C Kosma says:

    You are internationally amazing!!!

  7. Dear Susan, I read an interview with you in Wysokie Obcasy, it was weekend. On Monday I could’t wait, work day was too lond and I wanted to buy your book and spend wonderful evening. Thank you for amazing adventure. I love cooking, love Paris and miss my cooking class which I took in Paris. Hope, next cooking class will be On Rue Tatin. Thank you for tasty adventure! Have a wonderful weekend! Aleksandra

    • Susan says:

      Aleksandra – so happy to hear from you, and thank you! I can’t wait to host you at On Rue Tatin! it was such a nice article written by such a ni ce person!

  8. Joanna T says:

    Dear Susan,
    When I used to live in London I bought your book On Rue Tatin. It was 2005 and I read it, put it on my shelf and then took it back to Poland. And today I picked it up again and went on your web page. And what I see is your amazing writing plus great pictures from your stay in Poland. Believe me I am so happy to read that you liked my country and cusine. You are a person full of joie de vivre, Sun and happiness plus you have a unique ability to show it through your work. I am buying your book right away and please next time come and visit southern, more rular, part of Poland. Thank you for… everything actually:-)

    • Susan says:

      Joanna, I adored my visit to Poland, and I look forward to returning. My daughter was there just before me and she felt the same, so I am quite sure we’ll plan a trip, and will be sure to include rural Poland. Thank you!

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