The food of honor today is very filling, but you’ll still Polish off your plate. October 8 is National Pierogi Day!
It’s also National Fluffernutter Day, and while that’s a fun word to say out loud – go ahead, do it – the combination of peanut butter and marshmallow creme is much too sweet for my palate. I’d prefer to honor my heritage (Eastern European) instead, so we decided to celebrate the lowly pierogi.
I say lowly because the pierogi – a dumpling traditionally stuffed with mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, ground meat, cheese, or fruit, that is first boiled and then either fried or baked – was long considered a peasant dish. Similar to Russian pelmini, pierogi (also known as perogi, pyrogy, perogie, perogy, pirohi, piroghi, pirogi, pirogen, pierogy,pirohy, pyrogie, and pyrohy) originated in Poland in the 13th century as an answer to Italy’s ravioli, and were popular with Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Russians, and Ukrainians. Eastern European immigrants in the late 19th century brought their favorite pierogi recipes to America, and remain especially popular in the Northeastern states. They became a staple of ethnic church fundraisers following World War II, and began appearing in the frozen food aisles of supermarkets in the 1960s. To this day, the Pittsburgh Pirates feature a costumed Great Pierogi Race during all home games featuring contestants dressed in pierogi costumes: Jalapeño Hannah, Cheese Chester, Sauerkraut Saul, and Oliver Onion. Seriously, folks. I am not making this up.
Pierogi are easy to come by around here, as there is a large local Eastern European population in and around the Portland metropolitan area. But since our neighborhood European market was closed when we stopped by, we ended up picking up a box of frozen Mrs. T’s. Potato and cheddar pierogies, to be exact. They made a tasty appetizer for tonight’s dinner.
- Pierogies Featured At Heinz History Center’s Annual Food Event (pittsburgh.cbslocal.com)
- Quick Dinner: Emily’s Pierogies and Vegetables (jayandannie.com)
- Polish Cuisine (polishatcolumbia.wordpress.com)