Dining Room, Nowy Wiśnicz Castle

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The old Polish hospitality was legendary. A feast consisted of a lot of dishes and, in line with the ‘Keep up with the Joneses’ rule, people might destroy their finances to organise expensive parties. People ate out of necessity, habit, boredom, for fun, company and show. A well-laid table was very important. Cuisine was hearty, heavy and spicy. More emphasis was placed on the appearance of the dish than on its taste. Food was seasoned excessively to show off wealth. Old Polish cuisine was full of contrasts. It was a mixture of cultures, with traditions of the West seasoned with tastes of the East. Its description can be found in the first Polish cookbook, which was written in Wiśnicz Castle. ‘Compendium ferculorum albo zebranie potraw’ (‘Compendium Ferculorum’, or ‘A Collection of Meals’) is a cookbook by Stanisław Czerniecki, the chef of Aleksander Lubomirski. In addition to the general memorial relating to the preparation of a banquet, it includes recipes for one hundred meat dishes, one hundred fish dishes and the same number of milk dishes. The 17th-century cookbook contains the majority of dishes that are well-known today. There is the Polish chicken soup, chicken with liver, fried fish with onion, pancakes and patées; snails are the only food the contemporary Polish palate is not accustomed to.


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