Among European countries, it’s those to the east—Croatia, Georgia, and Poland, for example—that tend to have the most misunderstood cuisine. But according to Washington Post and Slate columnist Anne Applebaum, “there’s kind of a food revolution in Poland now,” so if you’re not familiar yet, it’s time to do some homework.

In From a Polish Country House Kitchen: 90 Recipes for the Ultimate Comfort Food, she and co-author Danielle Crittenden highlight the traditional alongside the updated aspects of Polish cuisine. As Applebaum explains to Journal Sentinel contributor Kristine M. Kierzek, “The flowering of Polish food and restaurant culture is connected to the release of civil society and all these associations that wouldn’t have existed before, like slow food.”

In addition to lighter versions of pierogi, cabbage rolls, and bigos (Hunters stew), the book covers steak tartare, infused vodkas, and jams. Unlike the United States, where food preservation has only recently become trendy again, the art of making jams and jellies was never lost among the Polish, and the authors emphasize the importance of fresh jams and pickles.

To sum up the new era of food in Poland, Applebaum says, “Polish cooks are making up new ways to use ingredients… It’s not the cooking of 40 years ago, or that of Polish-Americans.”

[via Journal Sentinel]