Pirohi are too much work

One of the Writing 101 directives this week was to start with a memory of your favorite childhood meal and run with it.  There were also some instructions about writing in your own voice. My writing voice, so far as I can tell, tends toward mild sarcasm with excessive use of semicolons and parentheses.

And one-sentence paragraphs.

I don’t cook very often.  I can cook – although I lack the intuition of an experienced kitchen denizen, I can follow The Joy of Cooking to produce something decently edible – I just don’t.  In large part, this is because my husband both enjoys cooking and is good at it.  It’s also because I’m incredibly lazy when it comes to food.  Left to my own devices, I will happily eat Cheerios and peanut butter for dinner.  (Or popcorn and frozen yogurt.  True story.)

All this is to say that I haven’t yet made Christmas dinner.  Thanksgiving dinner, yes – my family came to visit when husband had to be away for work, and I learned that roasting a turkey is not nearly as hard as it’s hyped up to be.  Also, in my defense, my husband and I have spent 80% of our married Christmases at the homes of relatives who have been more than happy to feed us their own traditional dinners.

Christmas dinner (actually Christmas Eve dinner) is a big production in my family.  My mom must really love my father, because she took on his family’s Slovak tradition of making pirohi by hand.  You have to make the dough, make the fillings, roll out the dough, cut the dough into precise little squares, put a spoonful of filling on each square, pinch each square into a tightly-sealed dumpling, boil them all in batches, and finally, brown butter to go on top.  (They are delicious, in case you were wondering.)  All this is done while simultaneously making several other traditional components of the meal.

The production level goes up a few notches when the whole extended family is involved.  Everyone is required to help with the sealing and pinching.  My grandpa “supervises,” beer in hand.  Anyone else who’s old enough to drink grabs an adult beverage of their own and prays that my grandma will stop talking before she says anything truly cringe-worthy.  In other words, it’s your standard traditional family activity.

This past Christmas was my son’s first, but even though my family was in town, I didn’t make anything special for Christmas Eve.  Laziness won out, for sure.  Also lingering exhaustion and the tail end of postpartum depression.  My Little Boy had no idea what was going on, of course, but eventually he will, and it would be nice to establish some family traditions of our own.  So maybe I’ll find the energy next year.  After all, it would be a shame for him to miss out on the cheesy-potato-dumpling goodness of pirohi.

Readers, what does your family eat for Christmas?  How have you adapted your childhood traditions to your adult life?

4 thoughts on “Pirohi are too much work

  1. Crazygradmama, I too came the generation after a mom who gladly hosted family holiday dinners. I hope she liked it at much as she seemed to. These family meals lasted during her lifetime, meanwhile, my son’s families were making new traditions of their own; consequently when mom was gone, my husband and I were invited into the goings-on at our children’s homes. (Don’t tell, but I like it that way. There’s not a cooking pot in my house designed to cook food enough for more than eight people!)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This reminded me of holiday lunches at my grandmother’s house where we would all cram into her tiny kitchen as she made the traditional meal of stuffed vine leaves and zucchini or rice and meat. Those were always my fondest memories but I doubt I’ll be able to carry on the tradition.

    Thanks for sharing, this was a great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. They are TOO much work.

    How funny that we both thought of Pierogi, or pirohi, as the focus of this writing assignment. Making them is fun and such an accomplish when you see the tray of finished dumplings! I want to make sure I know how to make them by myself (even though making them yourself is nearly impossible). I don’t want the tradition to get lost, so I am sure to take photos of each step and write down all the “issues” we have so I can learn more each time. I look forward to our pierogi-making sessions twice a year. I am also surprised that some of my friends ask to help just to experience the “chaos.”

    I am polish and make circles of dough to fill. I have noticed that the Russian tradition is often to make squares… it all works.


    • It’s perhaps not that surprising that we both thought of them, since making them is such an event – it’s very memorable!

      Taking pictures and writing down each step in detail is a GREAT idea.

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.