What’s for Dinner? Butter.

The whole house smells like butter. And onions. Butter and onions. As well it should: our five-person assembly line this morning put together one full gross of pierogi. That’s 144 butter-filled, butter-fried dumplings.

With 12 for dinner, that’s a dozen pierogi apiece. So what, exactly, is a pierogi? Depends who you ask.

If you ask my mother, she’d say pierogi are the traditional Polish dish served by her mother (Irish, a Tierney) at Christmas on Long Island in recognition of Pop’s Polish roots (his name was Koluch).

If you ask a random Polish person, or perhaps any carnival food-truck vendor, they’d probably say pierogi are dumplings stuffed with butter-filled mashed potato, boiled till they float for five minutes, then fried in lots of butter and onions until browned and a little crisp, served on a plate topped with butter-sauteed onion and, to cut the weight, some kind of cabbage dish or horse radish. (I prefer the horse radish, cutting a deep swath across my nasopharynx—mild foods bore me).

And, if you ask me what a pierogi is, especially if you ask while I’m on my feet for hours prepping the meal, then I’ll tell you it’s a dish that explains why Polish jokes are Polish jokes. Here’s what it takes to serve this buttered potato:

  1. Cook the filling with butter
  2. Make the dough, and kneed it
  3. Wrap the dough around the filling to create a dumpling
  4. Boil the dumpling
  5. Fry the dumpling in butter
  6. Hours later, re-heat the dumpling and serve with butter

Surely there’s a way to make a delicious potato that doesn’t involve six stages and so much butter. So, but tonight we ate butter in our dinner and butter in our cookies and butter in our Rugelach. There’s a stick-and-a-half of butter in our pear cobbler, which will be topped with ice cream and served with egg nog.

The whole house smells like butter. The whole house smells like Christmas.

WordPress prompt word of the day: mild


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