Potato Discs Recipe From 1898
Today we are going back in time, a long way back in time as in 1898, to be precise. I wanted to share a unique recipe with you recently published on a popular blog from Poland called Pularda. The author of the blog adapted her recipe from a historic old vegetarian cookbook written by Maria Czarnowkska in Poland in the 19th century.
I love exploring old recipes and traditional cuisines—especially that of my roots which is Poland. Whenever I read old cookbooks, I noticed the cooks often used fresh ingredients with highly nutritious meals. Nobody ate corn flakes for breakfast. Instead, people ate farm-fresh eggs, ranch bacon, various scones, jams, and fresh fruit. Back then, of course, everything was made from scratch, including butter and bread.
Dinner was always a feast with friends and family gathering around the table to share daily stories, tell jokes and laugh at the minute things. I noticed that presentation and color coordination were also very important. Food had to look good, smell good, and be exceptionally well presented, usually on porcelain platters with a white table cloth. Children were often seated at separate mini tables to have more freedom to do what they wanted and socialize with their little peers.
Those are just some of the things that I’ve read about in books or saw in old movies because I’m seeing less of such traditions today. Though, they still do exist. Somewhere.
Alas! Back to the potato topic, when I go to the supermarket in the US, I usually see three varieties of this versatile vegetable. Russet, Golden, and Sweet. When I lived in Poland, the variety there is tremendous. Polish people love potatoes so much that they grow endless variants of them.
When you go to an outdoor market, you have to ask what the name is and what the taste is like before you buy because each stall owner will be selling some unique variety of these common roots. Such an open-door market is a potato lover’s dream.
Consequently, potatoes are still quite popular in the Polish kitchen, and many recipes developed over time with this simple tuber vegetable. I noticed that in Poland potatoes accompanied most lunch and dinner dishes with some form either baked or boiled or fried. Most notable was boiled, served with butter and some dill on top.
When I was little, we had potato sacks stored in my parent’s cellar, ready to be converted to any dish that stroke my mother’s fancy on that day. My favorite always was pancakes made from shredded raw potatoes and fried in lard. Sometimes if there were leftover pancakes, we ate them warm sprinkled with sugar.
About The Recipe
Now let’s talk about the potato discs from Pularda blog and how the author cleverly converted the ancient recipe. By the way, do note that when you read 19th-century recipes, they are much less detailed in the process of preparation because back then, most people, primarily women, knew the essentials of cooking. Think Julia Child basic cookery skills. You could have given Julia a cold supermarket chicken, and she would have made you a lavish feast for five without using any recipes. Mrs. Child knew the fundamentals of food preparation.
You can serve these delicious discs any time of the day. Moreover, children love them. It’s also a great meal to take to work as it doesn’t have to be refrigerated right away.
Potato Discs Recipe
220-gram all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
Lard for frying
Boil the potatoes in their skins, then cool, peel and shred. Add flour, salt, and eggs and formulate soft dough. An optional ingredient is a pinch of baking powder so that the discs can rise better during frying.
Roll the dough about 1 centimeter thick (half an inch), and cut out round shapes using the top of a glass. You can use a large cookie cutter. Fry potato discs on medium heat in hot lard, on a preheated pan until golden brown.
Serve warm with powdered sugar on top or with your favorite fruit jam. Optional variation is to serve the delightful discs with salt, just like fries.
Enjoy with someone you love!
Photos: Monika Grabowska, cottonbro, Pularda.com