cover image From a Polish Country House Kitchen: 90 Recipes for the Ultimate Comfort Food

From a Polish Country House Kitchen: 90 Recipes for the Ultimate Comfort Food

Anne Applebaum and Danielle Crittenden. Chronicle, $40 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4521-1055-4

Crittenden admits in her preface “Anne and I are unlikely cookbook writers” (Applebaum is a columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner for Gulag and National Book Award nominee for Iron Curtain; Crittenden is a writer and editor who specializes in politics and women’s issues) and that “Polish food is an unlikely topic for a cookbook.” The authors do an excellent job of ridding readers of any preconceived notions that Polish cuisine is bland or unenticing. Both women were inspired by the beauty surrounding Anne and her husband’s Polish country house, Dwor Chobielin, which the couple spent two decades rebuilding. While visiting the manor house, Crittenden says, “the culinary renaissance we encountered everywhere thrillingly symbolized Poland’s national rebirth.” The use of fresh, seasonal ingredients is a passion both women share, made clear in their recipes for soups, Salads, main courses, and desserts alike. Some dishes are traditionally Polish (Barszcz, Beet Soup, Three Ways), while others have been tailored (butter lettuce and endive salad calls for olive oil dressing rather than the typical white, creamy Polish dressing), but all are distinctive. Highlights include braised cabbage with wine and nutmeg; pierogi with truffles and brown butter filling; and wiener schnitzel, Polish style. This artful, beautifully photographed book will open readers’ minds and inspire home cooks to tackle Polish cuisine, regardless of their familiarity level. Agents: David McCormick and George Borchardt. (Dec.)