December 31, 2012 § 2 Comments
Been reading several blogs about pierogi over the last few days and thought I should resurrect my previous Christmas post in honor of this polish holiday tradition. (By the way, I recently learned that pierogi is plural, you never add an S on the end of it).
It’s a Polish tradition! For Christmas and Easter every year, my family makes (and eats) Pierogi. Many people have never heard of this delectable doughy treat, but I have grown up with these little guys and can’t imagine Christmas or Easter without them. We typically make two types: Sauerkraut and Potato with Cheese (farmers cheese).
Typically, a few dozen are made the week prior to the holiday and they are boiled and then frantically fried in butter just moments prior to sitting down to dinner. The frying process gets them just a little browned and a little crispy. You don’t HAVE to fry them, but it does add a little crunch and a few calories which is always nice.
Making them is fun, especially if you have a wacky sister to help and an understanding, patient mom to guide you. The night before the pierogi manufacturing event, you get the filling ready (otherwise the process takes TOO long and you will get crabby and start fighting with your kitchen mates). I know this.
Rolling the dough correctly is important—you must get the dough to be just the right thickness (or thinness) and then you punch out a bunch of circles with a little template, like maybe a tuna can (a clean one of course). The most fun is plopping a small wad of filling in the center of the dough circle, folding the dough in half and pinching the edges to close/seal. Then you laugh, laugh, laugh at how peculiar shaped you managed to make the finished sealed pierogi and hope you sealed it well enough so that the filling doesn’t come spewing out in the boiling process. If you want to be a little fancy, you can press a fork along the edge to seal it around the perimeter which gives added reinforcement and a cute decorative edge treatment. My mummy doesn’t like the fork thing, but I do.
I am envious of the people that can make their pierogi all look the same and very neat and uniform looking. I have always thought ours come out a bit “disheveled.” No two alike. Maybe that’s ok.
PLEASE add a comment if you make pierogi and can offer any helpful hints or advice… or if you just like to eat them. I also am looking for ideas on how to differentiate the pierogi so you know which flavor is which, so you don’t have to keep them separated at all times. Does anyone do this by forming a unique decorative edge treatment for each kind?
December 29, 2012 § 3 Comments
I began thinking about what Christmas is like for a kid and I remembered a feeling of hope. Not the hope that is manifested in the season, such as the hope for mankind now that the Savior is born. The hope that comes from wanting cool toys.
Toys I wanted that I didn’t get… (Why do I still remember these?) Worse yet, why am I still thinking about them?
#1 the EASY-BAKE OVEN
This toy came out in 1963 (in turquoise) and only cost $15.95. The toy still exists today, but looks more like an ugly plastic microwave.
#2 LITE BRITE
Lite Brite came out in 1967–wasn’t much to it. Just a light box, black paper and a billion little pegs you pushed through the paper to get them to light up. Fascinating technology that I just had to have… it was the start of my fascination with electronics. It had many small pieces/parts–that’s probably why my parents didn’t get it for me. I am pretty sure this toy still exists also.
#3 MYSTERY DATE GAME
This cool game came out in 1965. You opened the door to reveal one of 5 mystery dates:
- The formal guy in a tux (probably the one most little girls found the most appealing, mainly because he was dressed up)
- The bowling date
- The beach date
- The skiing date
- The “dud” of course (I didn’t think the dud was all that bad-looking)
My friend had this game so at least I was able to do a little mystery dating.
Not sure why I wanted this– it was really targeted toward little boys and their violent tendencies, but I liked it.
#5 DON’T SPILL THE BEANS
I am not sure why I wanted this game either–there wasn’t much to it. You just added beans until the bucket tipped over.
I think it was the TV commercials–the 1960 TV commercials could make a kid beg for just about anything.
December 26, 2012 § 2 Comments
I have spent just about 30 years working in various offices. Over that 30 years, I have seen many changes—carbon copies evolved into fancy copiers. Fax machines became scanners, pink “while you were out” hand-written phone messages morphed into electronic voicemail. I am grateful for technology, but there’s something unfulfilling for me in today’s modern office setting and I finally realized what it is. It’s too quiet.
I want to hear telephones ringing, typewriters chunking out lines of carefully crafted words, people discussing things. I guess I associate noise with productivity and accomplishment. I walk through the office now and usually hear nothing. Employees stare into their computer screens. No one calls anybody anymore—it’s too convenient and maybe more “appropriate” to send an email or a text. Why is this? Because we don’t want to “bother” the other person with a call–we assume they are very busy staring into their computer screen as well.
I have a soft spot for vintage telephones and typewriters and have amassed a small collection of the heavy clunky devices. I imagine it’s my way of holding on to an era when office machines were intricate and beautiful and had a rather commanding presence at your workspace. It’s a remembrance of a time when offices were noisy and abuzz with metal hitting metal–whether it be a phone receiver slamming into its cradle or a small bell reminding you to hit the carriage return. Things were being done. You could hear it and feel it.
I start a new job in a new office next week. I am not sure if I will even have a desk phone, desk phones have become pretty scarce these days. I may just have to bring one of my rotary dials for decoration or maybe to use as a paperweight. Oh, wait a minute, paper? What paper?