At CarePenguin, we love hearing about family traditions and fond memories growing up with loved ones. A CarePenguin follower and loyal supporter, Lura, shared a heartwarming memory from her childhood: her grandmother’s cooking. Please enjoy this beautifully written story she shared with us.
Bringing the family closer together one pierogi at a time
Is there anything more special than a homemade meal when you visit your grandmother’s house?
My Grandma Ann was an immigrant from the Ukraine, and my Grandfather Serge was from Belarus. They met here in the States, fell in love, and married. Neither one of them ever lost their Russian accents, nor did they lose their Old European way of feeding guests and family. If everybody didn’t leave the dining room table completely stuffed, Grandma wasn’t happy.
I was a skinny kid back then, and Grandma was always trying to feed me. “Eat, eat!” she’d say. “You’re too skinny!” I could always count on Grandma to have candy for me and my brother.
Grandma’s signature dish was homemade pierogi, or pedaheh, as it is known in the Ukraine. If you’ve never had homemade pierogi, you haven’t lived. She would spend hours upon hours making the dough, cooking the potatoes, mashing it into cheese, and filling and crimping the dough into little dumplings. Once made, the pierogies are boiled, and then finally sauteed in butter before serving with sour cream. Grandma’s pierogies would melt in your mouth. The outsides were crispy, the dough incredibly tender, and the cheese and potato filling creamy and smooth.
I remember Grandma proudly serving her little potato dumplings to the entire family sitting around the dinner table. She wouldn’t sit until everybody had been served. Instead, she stood at the doorway to the kitchen, ready to get more food if anybody wanted some, her hands clasped in front of her and a big grin on her face. An uncle would usually say, “Mom! Come sit down!” and she would reply “No, you eat! I’m fine!”
The best thing about the pierogies, though, was that Grandma made massive amounts of it at a time. My family lived several hours away, and we would bring an empty suitcase with us so that Grandma could fill the suitcase with frozen pierogi for us to take home. A month later, we’d pull the frozen goodness out and cook up some for dinner with kielbasa. It was like revisiting Grandma all over again.