"zjeść" is perfective, so it focuses on the fact that you're going to it it whole. Imperfective "jeść" wouldn't work so well here, because it would be a bit like "What do you want to be eating?" or "What do you want to eat, regularly?"
So is the difference "what do you want to eat (right now)" vs "what do you want to eat (generally)"? A bit of an explanation of the concept of perfective and imperfective would be useful before just launching into the exercises. This is quite alien to English speakers so I don't think is something you can just pick up by osmosis.perhaps there was something in an earlier lesson and I missed it.cheers
I think this article explains the aspects well without getting complicated. But I find that no matter how many explanations you read, in the end it's still "by osmosis" that you get the hang of it.
"What would you like to eat? " I dont see any difference between this and the given translated sentence.
While the difference is small, we try to keep the "What do you want" and "What would you like" separately, as there's a difference in politeness which is very easily shown in Polish "Co chciałbyś zjeść?"
As this is conditional mood, it uses past tense forms and therefore the gender of the subject is visible: chciałbyś (to a man), chciałabyś (to a woman), chcielibyście (to men or a mixed group), chciałybyście (to women).
Ah interesting. So is "would you like" more of a formal statement, like something one would ask guests perhaps?