November 10, 2013

The "army" at work

I belong to a small parish, with only about thirty families and a small church. It is logical that being so tiny necessitates a way to generate income, unless we want to be sitting in a church without air conditioning every Sunday, never a good thing in Florida. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the slavic kitchen. There is a tiny sales counter in our tiny hall, adjoining our luckily not-so-tiny kitchen. Run by members of the parish, it sells all sorts of slavic goodies, predominantly kolach, kielbasa, halushki, halupki, and pierogi. My, how spell-check despises those names.

The best part is that it is all homemade, by none other than us parishioners. And oh, what fun it is! As the pierogi are the most frequently in need of replenishing, we have dubbed ourselves "the pierogi army". The last time we got together to make a batch of the sauerkraut, I decided to take some photographs.

I started out with the mixer full of flour, because the machine is bigger than I am. The bowl has a diameter of about two feet. I haven't been involved in the dough making process yet, but I have been a "catcher", for lack of a better word. After the dough has been mixed, kneaded, and formed into flattened balls, it is put through a different machine that rolls it out. I wasn't able to take any pictures of that because I was busy catching the dough as it came out. Next the circles get cut out and put onto trays, which are taken into the hall. There they each get a ball of whatever filling we use for that batch, and are pinched closed.

The pinching is my favourite part. And it's funny how everyone does it a little differently; after awhile you start to recognise who did what, even after they're cooked. Mine turn out with ruffled edges, another lady does marks on hers like a pie crust, and one older woman twists her edges into a braid-like design. We have yet to discover how she does it.

The pinched pierogi are taken back into the kitchen to be boiled and drowned in butter. You'll notice there are no pictures of that either. There wasn't enough room over there. But I do have one of the finished product, strategically cropped so you can't see the broken one on top.


I must apologise for my long absence. To be honest, I don't even have a very good excuse. Probably the most likely cause is that I am not the best at managing my time, and I've discovered that being a working student is no walk in the park. I'm back now though; that's all that counts, right?

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