Polish dinner party? Please help!!!
My husband's boss is Polish..I mean, not from Poland recently, but his parents are. He's around 55?
And, he's coming to dinner!
I thought I would make Polish food...
Maybe some suffed cabbage rolls? cucumber soup?
I am looking for insights, advice and recipes!
Also, if you think this is a crappy idea, let me know. I can pull something else off. It just seemed fun! We just moved to Nothern VA from Vermont and I found this GREAT russian market, but I don't know what half the things in it are....maybe there some good stuff I could pick up there, too!?
My thought is to have a menu that combines comfort food with a couple of new things thrown in?
Thanks for your help!!
Bigos (sp?) (Hunter's Stew), the national dish, has kielbasa and saurkraut in it and sounds good, though I have not made it.
Are there maybe two sides to this idea? Years ago I knew a couple that got engaged where they lived on the East Coast---she was Catholic and he was Jewish. She took him home to meet her family in the Midwest not sure of how they would accept him. When they got there her brother asked him to come into the kitchen---my friend thought maybe for a not-so-nice private talk. What he found was that the kitchen table had been spread with stereotypically "Jewish" food---bagels, cream cheese, lox, challah, etc. On one hand the welcoming gesture was meant kindly, but on the other hand it was stereotyping---imagine if you are white and invite your husband's (black) boss to dinner at your home and serve fried chicken and watermelon. Or if your husband's boss were Japanese-American two generations removed from Japan and you served sushi with chopsticks followed by sukiyaki and the Tea Ceremony. Some people might not take it kindly. The gesture could be seen as heavy-handed as if saying "when I look at you, I see a person who is different and not one of us".
Hi again! I have made stuffed cabbage several times and it was great! I got confused about the bigos because there seem to be so many different variations...also, I may be totally off base here, but my guess was that he might have had more of a polish-american type of cuisine vs. completely authentic? I don't mind the tedium of stuffed cabbage if I can get it all done ahead of time!
My heritage is really not the most inspiring....irish...norwegian...
but, okay...if it sounds too smarmy...thought it would be fun to do something new!
thanks for all your tips!!!
I don't think it's necessarily a crappy idea but your husband, knowing his boss, would probably be a better judge. It could, however, be a time consuming, labor intensive one for you.
Is it going to be a simple, informal dinner or are you planning on something fancier, with multiple courses?
You may consider serving soup at the beginning of dinner:
- Clear red beet soup (borsht), traditionally served in demitasse cups. Tricky to make, but cheap. That soup can also be served on a plate with small ravioli or tagliatele type pasta.
- Wild mushroom soup. Very easy to make, but expensive because of price of dried porcini mushrooms.
- Sauerkraut soup (Kapusniak)
- Pickled cucumber soup (Ogorkowa)
If you decide to make cabbage rolls, you could make them the size of Greek dolmas and serve as appetizers.
For a main course, just about any meat dish made with sauce, pot roast style, would go very well with buckwheat (kasha) or potato dumplings (kopytka), very similar to gnocchi, instead of more pedestrian regular boiled potatoes. My choice would be beef rolls (zrazy, rolada) - easy to make very thin pounded slices of beef, also well known in Germany as rinderrouladen (well, it IS German dish, but very popular in Poland, especially Silesian region). Vegetable choices could include red cabbage-either hot or coleslaw style, sliced cucumbers in yogurt with dill weed, red beet salad, sauerkraut salad with julienned carrots, onions and apples.
Of course Polish dumplings (pierogi) are always fantastic, but fairly time consuming, unless you have access to a Chinese market that carries dumpling wrappers. Pierogi could be filled with sauerkraut and mushrooms, potatoes and onions or meat. Or check in that Russian market – they sometimes carry specialties of neighboring countries. But specifically ask for Polish pierogi (they look like Chinese pot stickers). Russian pierogis are quite different from Polish ones and only Pelmieni come somewhat close, but not in size.
Well, I made myself very hungry and only just scratched the surface, but if you don’t have much time for cooking, the hunter’s stew is of course a great idea. It is time consuming but, apart from initial prep/ cooking, only in a sense that it should be made over the course of 2-3 days, re-heating it each day and waiting until it becomes darker. Addition of red wine and few sliced prunes is often omitted in English written recipes, but greatly helps in developing more complex taste.
Smacznego (Bon Appetit)!
THANKS, Bigos! That's great advice! I don't mind the labor, as long as most of it is beforehand and not while they are here. His wife is from chicago...so I think she will probably be familar with this kind of stuff as well?
I think I will print out these comments to share with them at the dinner. I think some of them are pretty humorous!
The Polish meal sounds lovely and fun (though a bit heavy). I will give it a go and let you know how it turns out!
Thanks again to all for your time and for your help. I appreciate it!
That does sound good...and a bit easier.... I'm not so fixated on the heritage piece...more something I can do ahead of time and trying to find a focus from the zillions of ideas.... Also, I believe his wife is a bit of a trad. eater, so I figured I should stay more mainstream as opposed to "delighting?" her with my Indian feast...or middle eastern.....?
Yeah, I'd totally go mainstream. As others have pointed out (and I'll stay out of the PC-ness of it all) it's likely that he has had many versions of traditional Polish food. And if his wife isn't adventurous, Indian and Middle Eastern spices may not be to her taste. (And this is not the occasion to educate her, at the risk of having a guest go hungry!!) You could certainly provide an appetizer along the lines of what you wanted to do, though; mini stuffed-cabbage rolls perhaps, or do a side of a great cucumber salad, which pretty much goes with anything but then head into a more all-'round menu that will make everybody happy. And at the risk of sounding like a broken record: I know of NOBODY that doesn't love perfect roast chicken. Zuni, maybe?
With due respect to others.....I find the whole being politically correct , non offensive approach to be a little too sensitive. I on the other hand believe the boss would be appreciative of your efforts and considerations for whatever menu you decide on, without any underlying meanings. The Polish friends I have love a good meal....and believe it or not, many love Chinese food. If you served that to them, they would love it. Whatever you serve will be fine.
I find there is a lot of cross over in Eastern European foods.....the Polish restaurants and markets around my area feature dumplings and pork as specialties. You could serve Kielbasa, Pork Roasts, Schnitzels, Stuffed Cabbage or any roasted meats.....braised cabbage/red cabbage and mashed/boiled potatoes as sides.
For dessert....strudel or blintzes.....fruit alone or with cheese.
I agree, Fourunder! I mean...if you go to some effort, and are cooking with love and enthusiasm, how is that offensive? I guess, worst case scenario, which several have pointed out, is he thinks, "wow -- not like mom's" or "what was she thinking?" I just thought it would be fun for a change.... At the very least, this discussion will provide me with a fun topic for dinner conversation. : )