Chicago has the largest Polish-American population of any city in the United States. In total, Chicago boasts a population of over 1,900,000 people of Polish ethnicity. Now, Love and Light Productions LLC is bringing the food, culture, and traditions of Polish-Americans to WTTW with The Polish Cooking Show.
In the Polish tradition, when a young man gets married, it is the duty of his mother to take her new daughter-in-law under her wing and teach her the family recipes and the cultural stories that go with them. The Polish Cooking Show captures this dynamic with two charismatic cooks in a real Polish kitchen. It is one part cooking show, and one part history.
“The Polish culture is beautiful and full of meaningful stories and lessons,” explains producer Rikki Lee Travolta. Despite his recognizable Italian surname, Travolta is 25% Polish. “The Polish Cooking Show brings the splendor of Polish cooking and culture into the comfort of your home.”
The producers found their dream hosts in newlywed Natalie Rokita (Czupta) and her adorable mother-in-law Ala Rokita, affectionately referred to as Mama Ala. Together they demonstrate delicious family recipes with easy-to-follow instructions, while sharing interesting and educational tidbits about Polish culture.
“Natalie and Mama Ala are magic together,” reflects Travolta. “What really stands out is that they genuinely love each other. At the end of the day, the show is about love…love of Polish culture, love of Polish food, and love of each other. Viewers will love tuning in to share kitchen time with Natalie, Mama Ala, and The Polish Cooking Show.”
For the pilot episode of The Polish Cooking Show, Natalie and Mama Ala teach viewers the recipe for golabki, which are rice and minced meat stuffed cabbage rolls. This is where Mama Ala shines, offering advice on what cut of meat to use for the most tender results and how finely to chop the other ingredients. Natalie soaks up the knowledge like a sponge and keeps the show moving with witty banter.
Immigration from Poland to Chicago came in three waves. The first spanned from 1850 to the early 1920s. As a result, by the 1930s Polish replaced German as the largest ethnic group in Chicago. The second of Polish immigration to Chicago included hundreds of thousands of Poles displaced by World War II and the Communist takeover of Poland. The third consisted of Poles fleeing the imposition of martial law in Poland starting in 1981.
For a fresh and loving prospective on the celebration of Polish food and customs, tune in to The Polish Cooking Show on WTTW on Saturday, November 20th at 11:00AM and airs again on Sunday, November 21st at 10:30AM. Check local listings for channel information. For more details visit www.ThePolishCookingShow.com.