If you ask a contemporary Pole what are traditional Polish dishes, certainly, among others, he will mention ‘schabowy? (pork chops) with potatoes or ?bigos?. But only a few know that both dishes are quite new to Polish cuisine.
Potatoes were brought to Europe from America, initially as ornamental plants. Their culinary advantages had not been noticed until the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. In Poland, potatoes became widespread by the end of nineteenth century, which was slightly more than 100 years ago. ?Kotlet schabowy? became popular in the PRL period (Communist Poland 1945 – 1989), and it is a copy of the Austrian Viennese style schnitzel (not Wiener Schnitzel which is made from veal). ?Bigos? was already known in the sixteenth century, but, in fact, it was rather similar to contemporary ?goulash? ? just pieces of chopped meat. It did not evolve into the contemporary form ? dishes made of cabbage and meat ? until the eighteenth century.