British People Try Polish Food For The First Time
"Pierogi ruskie is basically carb on carb which is the best idea in the world and I want to eat them every day."
1. Kefir (fermented milk drink – a great hangover cure)
Tabatha: OK, this smells beyond gross, but it’s actually just kind of like Greek yoghurt. Like, it’s fine, but I wouldn’t drink a pint of it.
Tom C: The one time I definitely wouldn’t touch this stuff with a bargepole is on a hangover. This is the sort of thing that should be drunk by health people. People in Lycra should drink this. Basically, it’s Yop without the sugar.
Remee: I only put a bit in the glass and watched it trickle down towards my mouth. Pretty sinister stuff.
Tom P: I am drinking cheese. I AM DRINKING CHEESE. (It’s actually quite nice.)
Jamie: A bit like a Yakult, but probably not as expensive.
Chelsey: Right before I took a sip I heard Tom say it was like drinking cheese, so it was over before it started for me.
Carl: This was a weird one. As someone who often accidentally drinks gone-off milk, I’m now wondering if this is a whole new world of hangover cure. Bring on the kefir.
2. Smalec (lard with bits of meat)
Tom C: It’s bread with fat and meat smeared on top, which is hard to get wrong. I mean, my arteries probably won’t thank me.
Remee: It actually tasted better than it looked, but I just can’t get over the fact that it’s lard on bread. LARD. I mean, it’s not exactly peanut butter, is it?
Tom P: I did not like looking at it or holding it in my hand, but then when it was in my mouth it was surprisingly enjoyable. (If any of you bastards quote that previous line out of context, I will sue you.)
Carl: I went into this thinking it just looked like tuna mayo, and it brought me the same amount of mouth party as tuna mayo. Good, simple, no nonsense. Will probably make you a bit sick if you eat too much of it though.
3. Twaróg (aka quark, a curd cheese made with soured milk)
Tabatha: This looked like it was going to taste like really strong goat’s cheese but then it didn’t actually taste of much. Like, it’s fine, but there are better cheeses out there.
Tom C: This was really nice when I ate it at the start, when I was starving. I ate it again at the end when I was stuffed and it made me sad.
Jamie: It looked and tasted like the ghost of a cheese.
Remee: Don’t like cottage cheese and this tastes pretty much like it, albeit a firmer version.
Chelsey: I like this MUCH more than cottage cheese but I would never eat it on its own. BREAD PLEASE.
4. Pierogi ruskie (potato, quark, and onion dumplings)
Tabatha: This is basically carb on carb which is the best idea in the world and I want to eat them every day.
Tom C: Hurray for these things. Mini Cornish pasties stuffed with fat and carbs.
Tom P: Little dumpling-pasties of joy. Could probably eat a whole plateful of these and only feel a small amount of shame. And nausea, probably, but good nausea.
Chelsey: Team Pierogi 100%. I just like starch.
Carl: Shits on Ginsters, this. Shits on it. A triumph.
Jamie: Yeah, these were OK. I felt a bit like a giant eating a Cornish pasty, which was an enjoyable experience.
5. Kabanosy (dry-smoked pork sausage)
Tom C: This is literally a Pepperami. There is no shame in that.
Tom P: I am here for this sausage. This sausage is a great sausage. Like you say, it’s a Pepperami, but it’s a really classy Pepperami. Like that kid you knew at school who was always muttering to themselves and smelt slightly of dog, but then you go back for your 15-year reunion and they rock up driving a fancy car and they’ve completely changed and now they earn more than you ever will but they also seem really happy and still down-to-earth and generous with their time, and you wonder what changed between then and now, and maybe it was just that you failed to see them for what they really were all that time. Like that, but with sausages instead of people.
Tom C: Alan Cumming’s character in Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, but as a Pepperami. OK, I’ll go with that.
Remee: Sausage never fails you. Well, sometimes it can, but this time it did not.
Carl: REMEE. BEHAVE.
Jamie: Pepperami, but with a very thin layer of plastic coating.
Chelsey: This made me sad to be a vegetarian because I am convinced it would be tasty.
6. Żurek (sour rye-flour soup)
Remee: This filled the room with a meaty, sweaty smell, although tbh I kinda liked that smell. Didn’t taste as good as it smelt, if you liked the smell, which I did. Am I weird?
Tom P: Yep, chicken soup except not quite chicken soup. There’s some uncanny valley of soup thing going on here. It’s unsettlingly not quite chicken soup.
Carl: This is a proper “make a meal out of everything in your fridge” dish. Got a real week-before-payday feel to it. You’ll eat it, but you can’t wait for better stuff later on.
Jamie: I missed this one because I was getting spoons, soz.
7. Flaki (tripe)
Tom C: On Saturday Kitchen they do that thing with "food heaven" and "food hell", and every week I think about what my food hell would be, because I like all food. The answer is tripe. It just tastes wrong.
Remee: Didn’t even go there, especially after Lynzy said it was octopus willy. Although octopuses don’t have willies, apparently, do they, Tom C?
Tom P: This tastes like somebody somewhere has made a terrible mistake.
Tom C: I have to admit I actually don’t know about octopus willies. I’m so sorry for pretending to be an expert. I feel we’re drifting off the topic, though.
Chelsey: I was sad not to eat meat before, but I was pretty grateful at this point.
Jamie: I briefly became a vegetarian for this one.
Carl: My main thought while chewing (and chewing, and chewing) on this was that this may be the most junk part of an animal I’ve ever had in my mouth. Kind of OK with that.
8. Barszcz (beetroot soup)
Tabatha: This is such a glamorously coloured soup.
Tom C: I mean sure, why not, I’ll have some of this. It’s got so much garlic you could kill people two rooms away after a bowlful of it, though.
Remee: Not one for a date, methinks. Bib recommended.
Tom P: Wouldn’t have a whole bowl, would totally go for it as a palate cleanser. If I was the sort of person who ate meals that included palate cleansers. Which I’m not. Actually, I’m not sure my palate has ever been cleansed. I should probably look into that.
Carl: It was a fun tongue-scrub. At this point now, a lot of things have a vaguely familiar taste to them, but just left of centre. So you have some and go, “Huh, that’s WHUT?”
Chelsey: I really hate beetroot. I really hated this.
Jamie: Giant thumbs-down for me.
9. Ptasie Mleczko (chocolate-coated milk soufflés)
Tabatha: These were fine. Not delicious, but definitely edible.
Tom C: The taste of adequacy.
Remee: I’d take a Tunnock’s over these any day, but yeah, edible.
Tom P: It’s like Mr Tunnock went on holiday to Poland as a child and then spent the next 30 years trying to re-create these from memory, and didn’t quite get there but did a decent job anyway.
Chelsey: I would probably not eat a box of these in one sitting, which to me, means it’s not doing its job as chocolate.
Jamie: I felt like I was cheating on Mr Tunnock with a cheap prostitute.
10. Śliwka w czekoladzie (chocolate-covered prunes)
Tabatha: This tasted like something you’d find in an Aldi Christmas selection pack, which is no bad thing.
Remee: Wanted to eat two, was advised against it. Good sign, really – naughty little chocolate prunes.
Tom C: I ate two. I’ll report back later, presumably from a locked cubicle.
Chelsey: Again, confused by chocolate I wouldn’t eat in bulk.
Jamie: These I liked. Apparently eating more than one kills you or something?
Carl: This bangs. I’ve eaten four or five now. Been to the toilet a few times. Regret nothing. We need more ace snacks that help us go to the loo.
11. Raczki (“Lobster Tails” – caramel, rum, and nut sweets)
Tabatha: These were awkwardly shaped and not that nice. They taste like something your nan would give you on a long car journey to make you be quiet.
Remee: I appreciate a lot of booze went into these things, and thankfully you would only need to have two to forget you ever even had any.
Carl: Huh, this is interesting. Like a mini version of a cake you'd get served at the church fair.
Chelsey: I would have rather it was chocolate than hard candy shell, tbh.
Tom P: These taste like when your mum accidentally put too much booze in a recipe but everybody was too polite to say because they didn’t want to cause a scene, and so everybody just sat there silently eating through their grimaces, slowly and resentfully getting drunker and drunker, until the bad thing happened and then Daddy was shouting and Uncle Kevin had blood and you had to go to bed very quickly and cry as quietly as you could.
12. Jeżyki (“Hedgehogs” – biscuits with crisped rice, nuts, raisins, and caramel)
Tom P: It’s like all the desserts in a single dessert! Great idea. Chocolate, biscuits, fruit stuff, caramel stuff, crunchy and chewy at the same time. Could only be improved by a tiny kernel of ice cream lurking in the centre.
Tom C: Really reminds me of something which I think is called Rocky Road, which has all sorts of stuff in it covered in chocolate too. Splendid.
Remee: Like cut-up Picnic bars, YUM YUM!
Jamie: These were good. Big fan of these.
Chelsey: I think I had three of these.
13. Kisiel (thickened fruit soup dessert)
Tabatha: I really like this stuff, but we have it in Finland too. It feels like a grown-up dessert because it’s not too sweet. But also it’s exciting because it’s pink.
Tom C: It is the precise colour and consistency of the river of ectoplasm in Ghostbusters 2. A skin formed on it when it was left for any length of time. I vaguely expected it to crawl out of the bowl and attack Rick Moranis at some stage. But it tasted quite nice in a sort of uneventful way.
Remee: I didn’t like how it wasn’t quite soup and wasn’t quite jelly. Jelly would have been good. Soupy jelly not so much.
Tom P: It looks like something you would expect a minor EastEnders actor to be dropped in for Comic Relief. It tasted like all the fruits had a fight, and all of them lost. It’s like a bucket of the corners from Müller Fruit Corners.
Jamie: You know that kid whose birthday parties were always a bit rubbish because it was all just arranged last-minute? This was the jelly from that party.
Chelsey: This almost had flavour. Didn’t really do anything for my dessert craving.
Carl: This reminded me of the fruity goo you get in cheap packet apple-pies.
14. Tyskie (a pale lager)
Tabatha: Yum yum yum. I drink this loads.
Tom C: It was lager. I quite like lager. Normally used to seeing drunk people buy this stuff at £5.50 for six in the local cornershop, but let’s pretend that we’re having a cultural experience.
Jamie: Yeah, it was lager. I don’t mind lager.
Remee: Yeah, lager (I HAVE NO IDEA ABOUT LAGER).
Tom P: Definitely lager.
Chelsey: I liked the three sips I had of this, which is what I say about most beer.
Carl: Had a couple tins of this yesterday while watching the football. Staple of the cheap-beer cornershop diet. Beats Carling.