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Books in Brief
reviews by Mary Lanham

Wild Honey & Rye: Modern Polish Recipes
by Ren Behan
Interlink Books, 2017, 208 pgs.

Starting with sweet and savory breakfasts and ending with desserts, fruit liqueurs, and flavored vodkas, Behan covers the gamut of both traditional and new original recipes inspired by flavors of modern Polish food. Wild Honey & Rye contains over 150 clear and easy-to-follow recipes.

Dishes such as the fruit souffl omelet and the Italian take on bigos are interspersed with the more conventional recipes of forest mushroom soup, cucumber and dill salad, and, of course, pierogi. Behan devotes several pages to these little filled pockets of dough. Buckwheat, bacon, and curd cheese; strawberries, honey, and pistachios; and cheese and potatoes are a few variants. For dessert she includes instructions on making Polish fudge ice cream, caramel and cherry cheesecake, and Polish spiced Christmas cookies.

Many recipes are paired with her beautifully-styled vibrant photos that seem to pop from the page. Each entry is headed by the name in English followed by its Polish translation and is accompanied by a short introduction that explains the history or inspiration for the food.

Behan provides a helpful list of what a traditional Polish pantry contains. Key ingredients such as horseradish, anise, dill, and marjoram are mentioned as an explanation of the dishes for which they are commonly used. A brief history of the significance of honey in Poland is also included.

Wild Honey & Rye: Modern Polish Recipes by Ren Behan is the perfect addition to your cookbook collection.

Ren Behan was born and raised in Manchester, England to Polish parents. Behan’s mother was an avid cook and passed her love of food to her daughter. Behan went on to earn her law degree but food remained a constant through her career. She took courses in food journalism, food styling, and cooking. One of her assignments for one of her classes was to start a food blog, and so in 2010, her other career in food writing began. Behan blogged as a hobby for a couple of years before she was approached for freelance commissions and brand collaborations. This enabled her to write online feature columns for other publications. Behan continues to write for both print and online publications. She has contributed to Great British Chefs, JamieOliver.Com, and Food 52.com among others. Wild Honey & Rye is her first book.

 

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