Byczki (bulls)



One of the things I like so much about Zuza Zak’s book is the amount of history and lore associated with a book ostensibly about Polish dumplings she calls Pierogi. I’ve been making dumplings professionally for over half a century. Besides the fact this is the first time I’ve heard some of the really fascinating history of Poland – a country that William Woys Weaver once said has a diverse, region focused cuisine as varied as France – some of the recipes included are not what I would have considered a pierogi, or even a dumpling. Zuza explains. Take potatoes. Here is an excerpt about them from her new book.

Her video on how she makes byczki is in the showcase now with the description: “Looking at these buttered byczki (the name means bulls) in a dish, we can assume that they are so named because of their shape: wide and stout, with little horns at the edges. “ With leek and apple slaw. Yes, please.

And this includes sweet potatoes, and gray potatoes. “Whether they’re eaten with plenty of dill as a side dish to pork cutlets, fried until crispy the next day with a glass of kefir, enjoyed in the form of dumplings, or eaten straight from the fire in the last light of the setting sun, potatoes are undeniably
a big part of Polish (and Eastern European) cuisine. 

Potatoes have also been a symbol of both hardship and of women’s roles within a poor society. In 2001, artist Julita Wójcik peeled 50kg (110lb) of potatoes at Zachęta Gallery in Warsaw as an exploration of gender roles within Polish society. She made a poignant point, as many of my memories of my babcia Ziuta (who was a cook, both professionally and within the large family) involve her peeling potatoes, and her roughened hands also told that story. However, the symbol of the potato as the quintessential food of the Poles isn’t historically accurate. 

Potatoes came to Poland only after Jan III Sobiecki won the Battle of Vienna in 1683. Even then they were viewed with suspicion by the lower class, though they were used decoratively (in the court gardens) by the nobles. It was only in the 17th century, when the Saxon kings’ policies, mismanagement by the gentry and frequent attacks brought poverty to the peasants that the potato finally became an indispensable part of the Polish diet – through necessity rather than enjoyment.

So, if you can make it you should jump on this Sunday, Sept. 25th at 11AM EST. Passcode: ZuzZZ


Pierogi: Over 50 Recipes to Create Perfect Polish Dumpling by Zuza Zak is available now in both digital format and hard cover the in the US on Amazon and anywhere books are sold.  Photos in the book are by the amazing Ola O. Smit @olasmit. Register to attend a live event on September 25th, 11AM EST of the month of Dumplings at the Vimeo site:  https://tinyurl.com/ybzedfhh , then $10 to PayPal.me/ZuzaZak

$10 gets you the addresses and codes for the demonstrations by Zuza on making dumplings from this lovely, simple and tasty looking book that will have you eager to make dumplings and other things. There is no charge for the live event. No charge for annual members or video makers, but you must register for the live event, though.

Cultures.Group

An annual membership for $75 gets you access to hundreds and hundreds of videos, as well as live events like the one above with 5 videos and to the December events and access to the library until the end of the year on 12/31/2022.



Winter of Our Content



Pierogi: Over 50 Recipes to Create Perfect Polish Dumpling by Zuza Zak is available now in both digital format and hard cover the in the US on Amazon and anywhere books are sold.  Photos in the book are by the amazing Ola O. Smit @olasmit. Register to attend a live event on September 25th, 11AM EST of the month of Dumplings at the Vimeo site:  https://tinyurl.com/ybzedfhh , then $10 to PayPal.me/ZuzaZak

$10 gets you the addresses and codes for the demonstrations by Zuza on making dumplings from this lovely, simple and tasty looking book that will have you eager to make dumplings and other things. There is no charge for the live event. No charge for annual members or video makers, but you must register for the live event, though.

Cultures.Group

An annual membership for $75 gets you access to hundreds and hundreds of videos, as well as live events like the one above with 5 videos and to the December events and access to the library until the end of the year on 12/31/2022.




Rosehip and Rye


The North and Rye - November 7, 2021, 1 to 3:00 PM Eastern Time (Live Event), then all November.
Rye Spoons by Katrina Kollegaeva

Dr. Darra Goldstein, Gabriella Gershenson, Zuza Zak, Laura Valli, and Katrina Kollegaeva of Rosehip and Rye will discuss the history and current state of food and drink in Russia, The Baltics (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) and The Caucasus, especially the love of things fermented, sour, and rye. Zuza Zak has recently published her book, Amber and Rye (Kitchen Arts and Letters). Darra’s most recent cookbook is Beyond the North Wind, and she will also give us a preview of her upcoming book, The Kingdom of Rye (pre-order, Amazon). Videos on kama, hemp seed butter, fermented walnuts, walnut shio-koji, kvass, Serbian fermented stuffed peppers, fermented foods for kids, pumpkin-fermented pickles, brined tomatoes, and rye!


Chetvergovaya rye black salt (Четверговаясоль) by Katrina Kollegaeva

Katrina Kollegaeva 
Katrina Kollegaeva is a food anthropologist, cook and writer in the UK. She is the co-founder of Rosehip and Rye @rosehipandrye (www.RosehipAndRye.co.uk)

Sprats, Dill Pickles and Russian Borodinsky Dark Rye Bread

Register for WritersCultures: https://conta.cc/3bplEtj


December 19, 2021, 1 to 3 PM EST Fruit From the Sands

The Silk Road Origins of the Foods we eat. Dr. Robert Spengler III, the author of the book, Fruit from the Sands will discuss the book and field questions. The most fascinating archeobotanical history of the dissemination of food and culture and civilization from Central Asia to the rest of the world through The Silk Road and it’s predecessor.



All Zoom events are free. A subscribers ticket to any event allows you to watch videos until 12/31/21. An InRetrospect ticket provides access to all events (live or prerecorded, although we don’t make actual replay event recordings available), 200+ food, fermentation and culture videos. Includes videos from the last 5 years including never before screened archive interviews and full length videos. Until 3/31/2022. Gets rolled out over a four month period. 


Videos by Sandor Katz (author of the newly released book, Fermentation Journeys), Mara Jane King, Dr. Johnny Drain, Dr. Darra Goldstein, Dr. Robert Spengler III, Dr. Maya Hey, Dr. Esther Miller, Dr.Tejas Sameer, Dr. Julia Skinner, Dr. Maria Jimena Ricatti, Dr. Peiman Khosravi, Dr. Ann Yonetani, Zuza Zak, Jelena Belgrave, Terri Ann Fox, Anne-Marie Bonneau, Zoe Mitchell, Chef Greg Dunmore of The Japanese Pantry, Esteban Yepes Montoya, Danny Berke, Misti Norris, Ann-Marie Bonneau, Alexis Nikole Nelson, Katrina Kollegaeva, Laura Valli, Andrea Billar, Ed Delteil, Cortney Burns, Alan Callaham, Nancy Matsumoto, Kristine Krauss, Jessica Alonzo, Meredith Leigh,  Mallory O’Donnell, Sonoko Sakai, Llewelyn Maire, Mika and Nicholas Repenning of Go-en Fermented Foods, Shinobu Kato of Kato Sake Works, Markus Shimuzu, Pao Yu Liu, Rich Shih, Priyanka Bhuyan, William Rubel, Soirée-Leone, Heidi Nestler, Naomi Duguid, Danny Berke, Will Moffat, Holly Davis, Maria Mantilla, Chef Sean Doherty, Umair Khakoo, Anna Drozdova, Sònia Dguez, Maya Seetharaman, Kirsten Shockey, Zoe Christiansen, Margaret Sevenjhazi, Jae-Sang Choi, Eve Jazmati, Ma!Condimentos, Jennifer Solow, Haruko Uchishiba, Connie Chew, Leda Meredith, Yoko Lamn, Andrea Billar, Kimiko Ito, Christine Krauss, Ellie Markovitch, Jo Webster, Pratap Chahal, Harry Rosenblum, Pascal Baudar, Priya Mani, Melanie McIntosh, Ekta Maheshwari, Laurent Serin, Pork Rhyne, Javier Gutiérrez Carcache, Kartik Sinha, Zizinia de les Flors, Alex Hozven and Kevin Farley of The Cultured Pickle Shop, Sharon Flynn, Riley Henderson, Eiko Takahashi, Jeremy Umansky, Nina Mong, Gabriella Gershenson, Anton Nicola, Eleana Hsu, Kevin Gondo, Amy Kalafa of Cultured and Cured, Taylor Erkkinen, Jenny Bardwell, Joel Orsini, Mark Tan (in formation)


The North and Rye – WritersCultures


Dr. Darra Goldstein, Gabriella Gershenson, Zuza Zak, Laura Valli, and Katrina Kollegaeva of Rosehip and Rye will discuss the history and current state of food and drink in Russia, The Baltics (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) and The Caucasus, especially the love of things fermented, sour, and rye. Zuza Zak has recently published her book, Amber and Rye (Kitchen Arts and Letters). Darra’s most recent cookbook is Beyond the North Wind, and she will also give us a preview of her upcoming book, The Kingdom of Rye (pre-order, Amazon). Videos on kama, hemp seed butter, fermented walnuts, walnut shio-koji, kvass, Serbian fermented stuffed peppers, fermented foods for kids, pumpkin-fermented pickles, brined tomatoes, and rye!


Rye Bread and Chocolate Mousse from Amber and Rye, by Zuza Zak. Photo Ola O. Smit @olaosmit

Zuza Zak calls herself a Storyteller-Cook and her aim is to inspire the world to cook and eat more food from Eastern Europe. Zuza was born in Communist Poland and spent her childhood watching her grandmothers cook (and often queue for hours). Zuza’s interest lies in the culture and history of food and as such she uses storytelling as a medium for delving into another cuisine and through it, into another culture. Both in her writing and her food-focussed PhD at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (UCL), Zuza explores food as a cultural anthropologist, in the context of identity, society and culture. She is the author of Polska, Amber and Rye, and is currently working on a new book and her PhD.


Zuza Zak and her daughter from Amber and Rye, recalling her Baltic Journey. Photo by Yasin Salazar


Fermentation Journeys by Sandor Katz is now available – inscribed however you like by Sandor from Short Mountain Cultures  in Tennessee. It’s also available from our good friends at The Cultured Pickle Shop in Berkeley, California. They sell the most amazing pickles, some packaged for pick up orders. If you are lucky enough to have an actual hard copy in hand you know what all the fuss is about.


Kevin Farley of The Cultured Pickle Shop. Alex Hozven and Kevin created a great video for our WritersCultures event celebrating Sandor Katz and the International Fermentation Community. It’s running for the entire month of November in our Vimeo showcases. have you registered yet?


December 19, 2021, 11 to 1 PM EST Fruit From the Sands

Fruit From the Sands

The Silk Road Origins of the Foods we eat. Dr. Robert Spengler III, the author of the book, Fruit from the Sands will discuss the book and field questions. The most fascinating archeobotanical history of the dissemination of food and culture and civilization from Central Asia to the rest of the world through The Silk Road and it’s predecessor.


“The foods we eat have a deep and often surprising past. From almonds and apples to tea and rice, many foods that we consume today have histories that can be traced out of prehistoric Central Asia along the tracks of the Silk Road to kitchens in Europe, America, China, and elsewhere in East Asia. The exchange of goods, ideas, cultural practices, and genes along these ancient routes extends back five thousand years, and organized trade along the Silk Road dates to at least Han Dynasty China in the second century BC. Balancing a broad array of archaeological, botanical, and historical evidence, Fruit from the Sands presents the fascinating story of the origins and spread of agriculture across Inner Asia and into Europe and East Asia. Through the preserved remains of plants found in archaeological sites, Robert N. Spengler III identifies the regions where our most familiar crops were domesticated and follows their routes as people carried them around the world. With vivid examples, Fruit from the Sands explores how the foods we eat have shaped the course of human history and transformed cuisines all over the globe.”
University of California Press

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