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Deliver us!

So with all things. Creation is God’s living room, the place where He sits down and relishes the exquisite taste of His decoration. Things, therefore, as things, are inseparable from God, as God.


Omnes dii gentium daemonia sunt; Dominus autem coelos fecit. Deliver us, O Lord, from religiosity and Godlessness alike, lest we wander in fakery or die of boredom. Restore to us Thyself as Giver and the secular as Thy gift. Let idols perish and con jobs cease. Give repentance and better minds to all pagans and secularists; in the meantime, of Thy mercy, keep them out of our cellars.

So since I’ve done Lent for real this year — for the first time ever — something deep down pushes me toward doing Easter for real too. I guess that’s the point of Lent in the first place: to set us up for Easter.

We didn’t do Lent growing up. We didn’t do Palm Sunday. We did have a Good Friday service which always started out with a scolding about how we should be doing a Good Wednesday service or some such complaint. . . .

Since I’ve abstained from rich foods for 40 days, I’ve been fantasizing for weeks about the best way to celebrate the Resurrection. And, of course, I landed on kielbasa. Not that lousy smoked stuff you find in the grocery chains. No. No, no. The real deal. Fresh!

I could order it online. I considered it. I found it at Whole Foods, but in-the-know people say it’s not that great. No, I went to the New York Butcher Shop and reserved some.

And now it sits. In my fridge. Waiting for Easter morning. It smells divine. It smells like home. Real home. It smells like Easter.

Reading that Kowalsky’s deli site threw my haven’t-touched-carbs-tastebuds into overdrive. Pierogi. . . . Oh pierogi. Sure, sure . . . you can buy the frozen Mrs. T’s. But why? And if we were home, we’d just go get some at Kowalsky’s. No biggie.

But I am here — south of the Mason-Dixon line. So I must do what my foremothers have done and make them myself. Surely I can. Surely I can make pierogi. One thing I’ve discovered about vintage cooking — it’s not hard. It’s practical and tasty. It uses the simplest ingredients and methods. So if Grandma Chciuk can do it, so can I.

I found and adapted this pierogi recipe (it made about 8 dozen):

  • 8 cups flour, plus extra for kneading and rolling dough. The advice sites say “King Arthur” flour, but we are in the South, so White Lily will have to do.
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 large eggs. I wish I had had the forethought to get farm-fresh eggs.
  • 16 oz sour cream, plus extra to serve with the pierogi. I love how so many Polish dough recipes include sour cream.
  • 1 cup butter, softened and cut into small pieces. I used Happy Cow Creamery butter. No other will do.

I mixed together the flour and salt, beat the eggs, and added it all at once to the flour mixture. Then the sour cream and the butter pieces and mixed well (about 5-7 minutes). The Kitchen Aid dough hook works great. I wrapped the dough in plastic and refrigerated it overnight.

Then the rolling. I usually hate rolling dough, but this dough worked quite well. I rolled it into 1/8″ thick and used a wine glass to cut out 2″ circles and then another for 3.5″ circles.

The smaller ones I filled with farmer’s cheese.

And the larger ones with plum butter.

Then boil until they float, rinse with cold water, and drain.

Before serving, I will fry them in butter. The cheese ones will be savory with chopped onions fried alongside. And the plum will be the sweet alternative.

And well . . . I’m still abstaining. So like a bad cook, I did not taste them. No sooner had I lobbed them into the deep freeze for Sunday, when my dear Grant offered to sample one of each. He gushed loudly enough that Gavin, my foodie, offered his services as well. And after his loud approval, Sir Finicky himself begged me for some. . . . So they are a success!

The smell of the raw dough and the the pierogi cooking was . . . I can’t describe it. It was blissful, yes, but it was familiar. A smell I didn’t know I knew! What other familiar bliss don’t I know? Oh to be delivered from the boring, manufactured food that enslaves us to a functional life. God enslaves no one. Not ever.