You say pirohy...

...I say pierogi. Slovak, Polish, Ukrainian...wherever they're from and however you spell it, pirohy/pierogi are one of those foods that can instantly send me into a fit of nostalgia.

Growing up on these things, I've felt a duty to learn how to make them and preserve a small piece of my family heritage. As it is, I have a good friend, Barb, whose family history also involves pierogies...err....pirohy, and also had a hankering. We talked and decided she was willing to spend a couple hours running a whippersnapper through the ins and outs of cooking up a few dozen.

At this point, I'm going to take a detour in the story to fess up. Once I realized the stars would align and I could get a pirohy/pierogi making evening on the calendar with Barb, I immediately started planning, listing, and (yeah) salivating.

The anticipation got so bad that on one Saturday I sent an "are you still on for Tuesday?" message which elicited a reminder that "it's a week from Tuesday".

"That's what I meant," I casually replied. Lies. I was ready to cook and cook now. It was like one of those mornings you wake up thrilled that it's Friday, only to realize that it's still Tuesday. Dammit.

I digress. When the time actually came, I dutifully started shopping, and only stopped shopping when I had enough ingredients for 10,000 each of four different fillings. Well, that and also Barb sent me a pointed message: "Stop shopping!"

The cooking itself was straightforward. I prepped a bit before she got there and we dove right in. Kneading, poofing flour, rolling out the dough, fillings, boilings, butterings and onionings. Pretty much a well-oiled machine with the blessings of Barb's "insider tips".

We agreed that I shopped way to damned much.

We cooked and noshed. Barb hummed and I made a lot of guttural grunts. I made a few mistakes and she swiftly corrected.

Like food can be way more than food, the whole process was more than just two people cooking and conversing. We didn't cover all of the ground in conversation, but I think pirohy/pierogi making has a number of deep, personal aspects of significance for both of us. I know it does for me.

In case you are wondering, they were in-cred-i-ble! Potato-cheese, sauerkraut, cottage cheese, and prune filled. Every one a hit, as far as I'm concerned.

Besides the food itself, keeping the tradition alive was tremendously rewarding. So was satisfying a strong desire I've had to be more intentional with friendships (in an age of clicks and "likes" and such). I was grateful for her time and generosity of sharing the craft with me, and helping me hone a skill I plan to use for a lifetime.

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