About Zuza Zak
Food and writing – these are the two of my greatest passions in life. I am incredibly grateful that what I do now is aligned with what I love most. I have dedicated the past few years of my life to “Polska”, a book that is a love letter to the country where I was born.
My own story began in a land and time very removed and different from the one I inhabit today. I was born in Communist Poland in 1979 and spent the first 8 years of my life in an oppressive regime that I remember with a strange mixture of fear and nostalgia. There was often nothing to be found in the shops. Sometimes people would queue for 8 hours or more to buy one random ingredient that happened to be available that day, yet somehow the Polish people always found a way to eat and to enjoy themselves. Families, friends and communities would work together to find, grow, forage and obtain everything that was needed to create amazing feasts.
Since arriving in the UK, aged 8, I have found that people here know very little about my country, it’s food and culture. Even now that there are so many Poles living here, the cuisine is relatively unknown or completely misunderstood. When I started writing “Polska” I had a full-time job and would get up at 6.30am to do 45min of writing before work. In this way, bit-by-bit, the book wrote itself. All the interest that my book has generated has been heartwarming. I hope that my story is an inspiration to others to follow their passions.
I am now spending my time living, cooking and writing in Hackney, east London, while looking after my 6 month daughter, Delfi.
(Photograph by Laura Edwards)