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Cultural Transfer Through Vegetables
Cultural transfer is not always a matter of architectural styles, musical genres or fashion. Sometimes the arrival of a foreign queen affects more mundane things and she make a lasting contribution to the lives of her new subjects and not just to the court. An example of this is the vegetables that Bona Sforza (1493/4-1557), daughter of Gian Galeazzo, Duke of Milan, introduced into Poland-Lithuania after her marriage to the Polish King Sigismund in Krakow in April 1518. We can see the Italian origin of these vegetables in their names. Tomatoes - pomodori in Italian - are pomidory in Polish, cauliflower - cavolfiore in Italian - is kalafior in Polish, artichockes - carciofi in Italian - are karczochy in Polish, green beans - fagiolo in Italian - are called fasola in Polish and salad - insalata in Italian - is sałata in Polish. Even the bundle of vegetables for the stockpot that you can buy in the market consisting of carrots, leeks and parsnips is known in Polish as włoszczyzna, which literally means ‘something Italian’ or ‘something from Italy’ (Italy in Polish is Włochy). Thanks to Queen Bona, these vegetables, up to that point unknown in the north, found their way into Polish gardens and kitchens. Every child in Poland today knows that it was Queen Bona who brought them with her!