01/28/2013 05:10 EST | Updated 03/30/2013 05:12 EDT

Polish Cooking Gets A Dash Of Star Power

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- Michael Ignatieff, Tony Clement, Tim Hudak and CNN contributor David Frum were among the 40 or so people crammed into a Toronto book store last month for the launch of a hot new title from a Pulitzer Prize-winning author.

What book's release drew such political dignitaries and intellectual might?

From a Polish Country House Kitchen: 90 Recipes for the Ultimate Comfort Food. A surprise answer, until you learn more about the authors.

The cookbook is co-written by Anne Applebaum, whose Gulag won the 2004 Pulitzer for non-fiction, and Danielle Crittenden, the international blog editor for the Huffington Post. The pair are good friends and were inspired to redefine Polish cuisine after Crittenden visited Applebaum's home called Dwor Chobielin, a historic property about 170 kilometres (105 miles) south of Gdansk. Applebaum and her husband, Poland's minister of foreign affairs, Radek Sikorski, spent two decades restoring the manor. When Crittenden journeyed to see her friend a few years ago, they took notice of the dichotomy between a growing sophistication in Polish cuisine and the traditions kept alive by home cooks and farmers.

Acclaimed North American Authors Re-invent Polish Cuisine

Like her husband, Frum, Crittenden is Canadian and her understanding of Jewish-Polish food had come from Western recipes that she said were "often really, really disgusting." The opportunity to re-invent this maligned cuisine while also exploring the history of the region suited both women.

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