Saturday, November 17, 2012

on making pierogies...

They are just little potato-filled pasta pockets...there is nothing fancy about them, no "special" ingredients or secret recipe. 
They aren't well-known down here in the South, unlike up North, where there are many more Polish and Serbian influences in kitchens.
They were a staple in my dad's house growing up with 4 other siblings and sometimes boarders.
They are one of the unique recipes that my "Baba" has always made, along with her nut-roll and cabbage rolls.
I decided about a week ago, after my family made Thanksgiving plans, to surprise my parents and my brothers by making a batch of beloved pierogies.  None of us grandkids had ever attempted the day long task of making the pasta, rolling and cutting it out, stuffing it with the freshly mashed potato mixture, forming the cresent shaped pockets, boiling and then finally sauteing the little bundles...
Until today! I spent most of the day doing my best to re-create her technique, hearing her words as I added the eggs to my flour. I could just see her hands, wrinkled and gnarled from years of hard work, as I pinched the sides of the pasta together. I carefully counted each batch, just as she did, knowing why she was so proud of the 80+ that she would make from her dough. I only managed 64...but made another batch to ensure plenty to share tomorrow.
My dear Baba, you see, is 97.  I don't see her often and wish my kids could spend more time with her. She is quite a remarkable lady, my grandmother. Still living alone, still bowling and gardening...stubborn, strong, and beautiful. 
About 7 years ago, while she was visiting, I asked her to come over and teach me to make pierogies. I wrote everything down, even though she laughed at me when I asked her for her recipe. When Carolina asked her who taught her how to make pierogies, she answered; "my mother, of course!"
I am determined to keep these pierogies going...even if it takes me an entire Saturday, and my whole kitchen, including the dog, is dusted with flour, and even if they don't look nearly as pretty as hers do...
Because this week my dear Baba broke her hip.  Apparently God is well aware that I am not quite ready to be the sole pierogi maker of my family just yet.  I am so grateful, so thankful. And so happy to share a little bit of Baba at our Thanksgiving table!

1 comment:

  1. Ah Leslie -- first, such a well written post. I too loved my Nanie dearly and we lost her 2 years ago right before her 95th b'day. You do your Baba proud. :) Second, YUM. I love pierogi's and yours look fab. I know your family will love yours and they will taste the love you put into them. Happy Turkey Day my friend..... love your blog. Keep up the good work.