It is rich in meat, especially pork, chicken and beef , winter vegetables, and herbs. Generally speaking, Polish cuisine is hearty and uses a lot of cream and eggs. The traditional dishes are often demanding in preparation.
The Polish national dishes are bigos, pierogi, kiełbasa, kotlet schabowy, gołąbki, zrazy, roast, sour cucumber soup, mushroom soup, tomato soup, rosół, żurek, flaki and barszcz.
The main meal might be eaten about 2 p.m. or later. It might be composed of three courses especially among the traditionalists, starting with a soup like a popular rosół and tomato soup or more festive barszcz or żurek or other cured meats and vegetable salads. The main course usually includes a serving of meat, such as roast or kotlet schabowy, or chicken. Vegetables, currently replaced by leafy green salads, were not very long ago most commonly served as surówka – shredded root vegetables with lemon and sugar or sauerkraut. The side dishes are usually boiled potatoes, rice or more traditionally kasza. Meals often conclude with a dessert such as makowiec or drożdżówka.
Bread and bread rolls makes the Polish cuisine and tradition complete. It has been an essential part of them both for centuries. Today bread remains one of the most important foods in the Polish cuisine. The main ingredient for Polish bread is rye or wheat, Traditional bread has a crunchy crust, is soft but not too soft inside, and has unforgettable aroma. Such bread is made on sourdough which lends it a distinctive taste.
Traditional Polish alcoholic beverages include mead, beer and vodka. In recent decades beer has become very common, while wine is less frequently drunk, though in recent years the trend for its consumption is rising. Among the alcoholic beverages, Polish vodka is traditionally prepared from grain or potatoes – it essentially displaced the formerly widespread mead.
In contemporary times, tea is perhaps the most popular, drunk sometimes with a slice of lemon and sweetened with sugar.