Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The 'P' Word

Well Easter, or Pascua here in Spain, has finally come and gone and I know you are all aching for an update on the pierogi fiasco that occurred here yesterday.  Let me preface this particular post by saying I cannot be held responsible for any expletives you may or may not garner from what you are about to read.  The pierogies made me do it.
Our story begins at 6am Sunday morning when I arrived home from my first real night out on the town in Alicante.  Here is one photo from the evening.  Please jump to your own conclusions about my state of being Easter morning.

So there I was, for two hours, swaying and woozy, sipping the closest thing to blue Gatorade that I could find and nibbling on slices of bread; shaping and molding these perfect pillows of Polish goodness.  And after each one was completed, it got stacked on this beautiful pile of pierogies (stack).  Those of you who are bakers (stack) may already know where this story is headed (stack).  When it came time to plop the pierogies into the pot of boiling water, my perfect pillows of Polish goodness were all pucking stuck.  
After a concerted effort to separate the pierogies and maintain the half-moon formation to no avail with guests arriving at the door, Borja’s mother Amparo and I resorted to just mushing everything together.  So, my precious, long-labored-over pierogies all became lumped-together turd-shaped mushy dumplings; mixtures of dough and filling with no real rhyme or reason to their composition.  When it was all said and done, I had reached a level of frustration I had not yet experienced on my relaxing, beachside vacation here in Spain.  Pucking pierogies.
A few of the "better looking" culprits.
Everyone was very polite about having a “taste” of that nice American girl’s traditional Easter meal.  I’m sure what they were thinking is, “They eat THIS?  Is it really supposed to look like THAT?”  Personally, I think they tasted mediocre but due to their uneven shaping, they didn’t really cook correctly and were a bit...doughy.  I’ll forever have the image burned into my brain of Borja’s wonderful and adorable 95-year-old grandfather (his birthday was last week), sitting across from me at the table, politely and diligently chewing his pierogies as though he had just put an entire peanut butter sandwich into his mouth.  
Thankfully, Amparo made roasted rack of lamb with potatoes and almendras fritas (fried almonds) in addition to and in anticipation of, pierogi debauchery (she is so wise), so everyone was full and happy by the end of the meal.  As for me, I strongly believe that I need to cook a redemption dinner because Spain is seriously messing with my Martha mojo. I’ll let you know how that goes.  There have been so many lessons learned already on this crazy adventure, and yesterday’s was no less important than the rest: from now on, I’m leaving it to Mrs. T.  She’s got it in the bag...or the box, rather.
Thanks for reading,


  1. What a fantastic story! Your stack was stuck! Oh, puck! The picture actually doesn't look much different from the pierogies I served on Easter. I had purchased mine from the Broadway Market, but they came without any cooking directions. I thought...15 minutes boiling- that ought to do it. After 15 minutes they had swelled to 4 times their normal size and they were oozing fillings into the water. I also lost track of what kind of fillings they had. So when those picky relatives of yours wanted to know what to expect inside their pierogi ("What? You don't want sauerkraut? What's the matter with you?") I had to do some minor excavating. You make us laugh, American girl. Also, that first photo. The only way I knew that person with the big mouth (which you may or may not have inherited from yours truly) was you was that I recognized your dress. Don't show that to too many people. As always, love ya. Mom

  2. Well I cooked mine for 5 minutes and they were underdone. You did yours for 15 and it sounds like they started exploding. It's safe to say that somewhere between 5 and 15 minutes is optimum pierogi cooking time. Or after they stop being gooey and before they start exploding.

  3. I had a similar experience Lish when I tried to make good ole' american apple pie for Christmas one year in England. Ignored the specific direction from mom "don't overstuff it" and loaded the apples in (I blame Mark). My pie turned into a giant shell filled with weird looking shriveled apples and runny brown sugar. Really runny. Next time I'm buying a tub of cookie dough and saying "here's your pucking dessert."

    Anyway your picture actually looks pretty appetizing to me! But I wouldn't know a good pierogi if it slapped me in the face! Love you and miss you good luck next time :)

    Good luck with the next cooking adventure!