When I think back to my childhood, I don’t remember much, unfortunately … but what I do remember is eating at my Grandma’s after preschool while watching lots and lots of cartoons. Those were the best days, because everything my Grandma made was absolutely delicious and most of the time traditionally Polish. Today, the food is the most vivid memory of my childhood.
The fact that Poland has some of the best canned foods occurred to me only quite recently, although my childhood has been characterized by them. As soon as it dawned on me, I, the can lover that I undoubtedly am, sniffed my chance: a top 3 of canned Polish specialities is exactly what’s missing on our blog.
My Feel-Good Polish Dishes in a Can
The collection of products below is 100 % subjective and reflects the preferences of my (sometimes strange) taste buds … but you should definitely give those delicacies a try!
I don’t think it gets any more Polish than this: canned meat. In a Polish supermarket, you find meat in cans in various versions, from chicken to pork, pates of all kinds (I absolutely love Mazowiecki pork pate) or goulash.
I love them all, but if you really want to make me happy (and giving me food is definitely one of the most effective ways to achieve that), get me a traditional Bigos or Hunter’s Pork Stew. It’s traditionally made with meat, mushrooms and sauerkraut and tastes absolutely delicious. During the cold time of the year, I sometimes live days only eating Bigos, because it makes you warm from the inside and it tastes – at least in my case – like childhood. Since I’m living alone, there’s rarely a chance for me to cook a large pot of this tasty stew – thank God there’s a canned alternative! And believe me, it tastes just like Grandma’s.
So, whenever I or a friend of mine comes near Poland, I order tons of canned Bigos. This way it’s extremely long durable and ready to eat whenever the craving kicks in.
Masa Makowa z Bakaliami
I’m among the lucky people that have an extra stomach for desserts. This way, I can enjoy an XXL bowl of Bigos and then scoff a typically Polish sweet. Have you ever heard of Masa Makowa z Bakaliami? It’s a mixture of raisins, orange peel, and lots of poppyseeds that comes ready for use in a can. So, it’s the ideal filling for every kind of pastry.
And here’s my guilty pleasure: A table spoon of the poppyseed mixture on a butter biscuit, a second biscuit on top et voilà: my Polish burger dessert. Back in the days, when calories didn’t matter, I used to eat that daily and en masse.
Śledź w oleju
There can’t be a collection of Polish specialities without at least one mentioning of fish. To be honest, my love for Śledź w oleju just developed recently for a simple reason. It’s raw fish (herring to be precise) in oil. Not necessarily something a little child is willing to try, no matter how many adults around you say it’s delicious. As I am a little adultier now, I gave it a shot and what should I say? Stupid me. I’ve missed out on this taste adventure for two decades of my life. Although I’ve always been a salty eater, I have to wash my herrings before I can eat them. Otherwise, the nice herring flavour is lost and all that’s left is salt. Sometimes I like seasoning the fish, nevertheless, with a little bit of olive oil and a little bit of lemon and we’re good.
Personally, I really love canned herrings, but beware: If you are not a regular fish eater, the extreme fishiness of this dish might knock you out. Even lemon and oil can’t completely soften that taste.
Now that I’ve spent such a long time thinking and writing about food, I’m getting hungry. It’s about time to catch up with my Grandma, I think, and hopefully I’ll get to enjoy a traditional Polish meal with her. My Grandma even took to keeping all the cans she uses for my favourite food, because she knows that I love to use them for my DIYs.
What’s your favourite canned dish from your home country? Let us know in the comment section. 🙂