Sunday, January 1, 2012

Taste of Home

I am as American as apple pie. I didn't always own up to it, I used to joke that I was going to go to school for Canadian studies, eh and I am still waiting for my Canadian Nordic skier to sweep me off my feet, marry me and take me away to Saskatchewan. Over the years though, and especially after living in Montana and becoming a park ranger I have started to come to terms with my citizenship. My family's american roots can be traced back to the mayflower and not traced back to illegal immigrants who would never tell the whole story of how they got here for fear of being sent back. I grew up in a great little city on the north coast where I ate food from just about every country people in america come from.
My Dad's side of the family is eastern european. The exact country varies depending on who you talk to and how the borders were drawn on the map. The one thing that seems to be agreed upon is pierogies in some shape or form. Even if my own family was not part eastern european, Cleveland is very much so. I can not remember making pierogies as a kid, though I have my grandmother's recipe. The pierogies of my childhood mainly consisted of Mrs. T's. Easy and ready right from the freezer in less than half an hour. Once as a child my Mom took us kids on a pilgrimage to Parma Pierogies. This is where I discovered that pierogies could be deep fried and filled with things other than potato. What a revelation! There was even a brief time when Parma Pierogies opened an east side store where we would sometimes eat lunch. For the most part though our pierogies were made by Mrs. T and that meant bacon. You see if you read my grandmother's recipe you are supposed to use salt pork to keep the doughy dumplings from sticking together. Since salt pork is not so common now a days my Mom would always serve up a side of bacon with our Mrs. T's to provide a similar flavor. I of course do the same.
Pierogies are one of those great comfort foods because weather you make them or buy them you can keep them in the freezer to always have on hand. For a while I had to make my own here in Montana as Mrs.T had yet to settle the frontier. Then this summer, there they were in the freezer section of my local grocery store. I literally exclaimed in the aisle, "this is the best day ever!" Before adding them to my basket.
Now I am going gluten free for awhile to see if it helps my belly at all. I anticipate experimenting with a gluten free pierogie recipe. As long as there is soft dough, warm potato and bacon, I know it will taste like home.

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