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The Warsaw Voice » Other » March 28, 2007
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Fatty but Flavorsome
March 28, 2007   
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Silesian food differs from the cuisine of other regions of the country. It's more fatty and has more calories. And its traditional flavors are savored in many homes-despite the advice of modern dietitians.

The Association of Enthusiasts for Żur and Wodzionka came into existence in one of the oldest districts of Katowice, Józefowiec. Żur and wodzionka soups are the two most popular Silesian dishes. The recipe for wodzionka is simple:

Cut two or three slices of stale bread into cubes and fry them gently in butter or in lard. Place them on a deep plate; add a tablespoon of butter or lard, or fried bacon, a chopped clove of garlic and a cube of bouillon. Pour boiling water over the plate and season it for example with Provencal herbs or chopped parsley leaves.

This is a more contemporary and a more refined version of wodzionka. It was traditionally a soup for the poor because it was easy to make: cut or crumbled stale bread, which had earlier been gathered in paper or linen bags, was poured over with boiling water with a tablespoon of suet.

In Silesian culture, tables laden with food symbolized affluence and good luck. But not every family could afford this. The food was often not only simple but also the food of poor people. They used various ingredients to assuage their hunger. The result of that is the enormous variety of Silesian dishes. The history of the region and elements of Polish, German, Czech and Jewish culture interwoven with each other contributed to the culinary richness as well.

In addition, despite stereotypes, Silesia has never been solely a region of coal and steel. Almost 40 percent of Silesia is arable ground. The food processing industry is one of the best developed branches of the economy.

The economic and ethic diversity of Silesia is reflected in its cuisine. Various dishes from different parts of the region and from different cultures are popular as everyday meals as well as on special occasions. Some of the dishes feature on the List of Traditional Products.

The list was created in 2004 under a bill on the registration and protection of names and brands of agricultural products, food and traditional products. The first delicacy entered the list in July 2005. A year later the list contained over 200 products and is still growing.

The list contains 35 dishes, characteristic of the Silesian district, including Silesian wedding kołocz cake, Herbski bread, Silesian beef roulade, blue cabbage, zacierka from Zagłębie (broth with small dumplings), Silesian żur, white Silesian noodles, Silesian barley soup, klagany cheese, smoked wołoski cheese, złotopotocki fried carp, and złotopotocki trout baked on a gridiron.

Other Silesian specialties such as żur with potatoes and tatarczuch bread are waiting to enter the list. But few of them are famous in Europe as a whole. Only oscypek cheese from Żywiec made it onto the list of Protected Designation of Origin-PDO.

But the ordinary man in the street is not bothered by this. People relish tradition in Silesian homes anyway. One goes for Sunday dinner to one's mother, who like her mother and grandmother before her, serves traditional broth and blue cabbage and other regional delicacies.

Regional products are very popular in EU countries. Consumers trust food made in a traditional way rather than food produced on a mass scale. It is clear that a new style of consumption is being created. Silesian food plays a role in this process.
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