My family is Polish, and if there’s one thing I know, it’s pierogies. They are the main staple to family holiday meals. We always have a variety of pierogi choices on hand, and there isn’t ever any leftovers to be had. We’re pretty serious about our pierogies. Which is why today is a great freaking day. It’s National Pierogi Day! A day in which to celebrate the glorious, wonderful, scrumptious pierogi!
For those of you who don’t really know, a pierogi is basically a dumpling stuffed with an endless variety of fillings. Fillings can range anywhere from sweet to savory, anything your little heart desires. The current running favorite fillings in my family are sauerkraut and pork, cottage cheese, spinach and lamb, and the classic potato. You can have them boiled, baked, or fried. My family boils them, then fries them so they get all crispy golden in butter. YUM!
One thing that I really like about Pittsburgh is the fact that it loves its pierogies too! If you’ve ever been to a Pirates baseball game, you know what I’m talking about. Each game there’s a Pierogi Race. Pittsburgh loves pierogies so much that it has 5 costumed mascots race around the field… just because! They even have an official page on the Pirates website. They all have names and stats of how many races they’ve won. Crazy! Pittsburgh even has it’s own Pierogi Food Truck. I’ve had them, and they were delish.
So, I’ve just realized that I’ve been saying ‘pierogies’ as plural of ‘pierogi’. Here’s a fun fact: the word pierogi is actually already plural in the Polish language. It’s the original ‘betcha can’t eat just one’! Also, there are many MANY different spelling of the word pierogi: perogi, pierogy, perogy, pierógi, pyrohy, pirogi, pyrogie, pyrogy, and even Pierożki. Whoa, where did that ‘Z’ come from? Oh, us silly Polski’s gotta stick them in everything!
But seriously, do you want to know why October 8th is National Pierogi Day? It was the day in 1952 when Ted Twardzik Sr. founded Mrs. T’s Pierogies and produced the first samples for a local grocery store. Mrs. T’s, by the way, is the largest producer of pierogi in the US. USA! USA!
Wanna know something else that’s cool? Pierogies have their own patron saint! Oh yeah, Saint Hyacinth! There’s a Polish saying, “Święty Jacek z pierogami!”, (St. Hyacinth and his pierogi!) which is an old expression of surprise, roughly equivalent to the American “good grief” or “holy smokes!” Looks like I just found my new favorite saying.
Wanna know how much I love pierogies? I really REALLY wish I had written this Ode to Pierogi.
So today, get out there and track down the nearest polish grandma (cause we all know that only gramma’s make them the best) and stuff your face with little pockets of goodness! You know I will!