If you’re going to teach your kids to cook you better damn well know what you’re doing. I’ve been taking mental stock of the kitchen habits and traditions that make up my culinary ‘body of work’. Sometimes the traditions are not obvious turkey dinner with that special stuffing that mom makes. Experimenting with pierogy-making is but a squealing infant of a tradition in my family. Many stops and starts, experiments, and what seems like many years, in between attempts. But in the dead of winter, during yet another snow squall in northern Ontario, eating potato and cheese filled dough fried in bacon grease then smothered in sour cream is the only way to watch the hockey game.
The brain child of my new-momma sister, the ‘tradition’ has been born again. We developed our system as we went – muddling through to unwittingly form what I hope becomes something of an annual tradition for us sisters and next year, the youngest girls of the extended family, Clover & Belles. The recipe was chosen: a cue card with a gramma recipe scrawled with very vague instructions. We proceeded with gusto.
Almost immediately we commented that the dough was tough. The dough was really tough. I heard rumour of dough left to hang on the backs of chairs to stretch out. Our arms and backs ached. We day dreamed of other (read: softer) dough recipes. The sister with ‘Mommy arms’ prevailed and the engineer sister (that’s me) came up with a system that created workable doughy circles.
Ninty-six half moons later we has prepared the makings of a feast. We froze most for another day and saved 10 each for dinner.
Okay, we took a cocktail break. It was just – awesome. And required.
The only way to finish pierogies in my opinion is to boil them until they float, about 5 minutes, and they fry them up in bacon fat and onions. Serve with a ton of sour cream, a hockey game and some beer and you have a new tradition, a back breaking labour of love.
Next year, new dough and more cocktails.