It is once again time to eliminate a contestant from the qualifying stages of The World Cup of Food and to promote another. This week’s cuisines, English and Polish, were, as usual, difficult to separate into a winner and loser, but that is exactly what we must do.
Each nation’s cuisine impressed with its chosen signature dish. English fish and chips, firm and flaky with crispy thick-cut fries and malt vinegar, have been a favorite food of both of us for as long as either of us can remember. Fresh, handmade Polish pierogi, a vast improvement over the mass produced frozen ones of our youth, were an excellent showcase of what creative cooks have made from Poland’s historically limited kitchen inventory. The potato, cheese, and onion filling, while only three ingredients, was rich and complex in flavor, perfect for managing a robust Polish winter. Our side salad, surówka, provided a vitamin-packed, crunchy foil to the tender, soft pierogi.
We would love to advance England in this competition and have the opportunity to present Cornish pasties or Yorkshire pudding, but the case against Poland simply can not be made. Pierogi are a fast food hit both at home and wherever Poles have dispersed over their people’s history, and for good reason. Poland advances to the final qualifying round, where it will vie with Germany for a spot in the final thirty-two of the World Cup of Food.