Skip to Main Content

University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Polish Language




This link leads to a series of videos showing how to prepare classic Polish dishes.  The videos are narrated in English. Click on the picture of the dish to play video.

This is an excellent link with 100 Polish recipes divided into groups:soups, main courses, appetizers, drinks, and desserts.  A section on the history of Polish food is included.


Polish cuisine reflects the history of a nation situated at the crossroads of Europe.  Throughout its tumultuous history Polish cooking has been influenced by foreigners who came in peace or with the sword.  And so, today's Polish cookbook is very varied, showing influences of Eastern Europe: Russian, Lithuanian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, and Hungarian.  Present are also strong influences from Austria, France, Germany Italy, and Armenia.  There are even some dishes borrowed from Turks and Tartars, a memento of wars of the past.  Some of the most popular dishes have been borrowed from the Jewish cuisine.  The complicated history, partitions by foreign powers, cross-border influences, have caused the Polish regions to vary widely in their traditional dishes.  The variety is really broad and truly worth exploring. From simple yet flavorful dishes, to sophisticated delicacies that take days to produce, Polish kitchen has a lot to offer.  Explore this bounty, you will not regret it!



Who makes the best vodka in the world? Well, this is a topic for a major discussion, but one fact would be hard to deny.  Poles make some of the absolute finest vodkas available anywhere, and no wonder since the tradition of brewing wódka goes all the way back to the Middle Ages. Besides untold number of clear vodkas (wódki czyste), there are many excellent flavored vodkas. In the latter the flavoring agents are a legion, varying from every possible fruit, spice and honey combination, to exotic grasses (Żubrówka), to oak shavings (Dębowa).  

The most popular traditional toast?  Na zdrowie! [For health!]



Beer in Poland has always been important part of the Polish menu. There are over 70 breweries in Poland.  During the period of communist regime the breweries were nationalized and the quality suffered. After Poland regained independence from the Soviet Bloc, the quality skyrocketed and the beer is enjoying a renaissance.  Some traditional Polish beers (polish: piwo) are Okocim, Królewskie, and Żywiec.  Most Polish beer tends to be in the Pilsner/lager family, but the tastes have greatly expanded with a host of good porters and flavored beers.

Poland's leading brewery at the moment is Tyskie (from the name of a Silesian town, Tychy).  This 400 year old brewery has been honoured twice with the most prestigious award of the world beer industry: the Gold Medal and  Grand Prix during the Brewing Industry International Awards, conducted since 1886 and referred to as the Oscars of Beer.  The woman in the picture above is about to enter a pub which advertises Tyskie on its door.  This is truly the sign of changing times. It is only recently that it is not considered crass for women to drink beer and that they are seen frequenting beer halls.