YSU Radio Class Covers St. Stan’s Pierogi
In mid-September, students from the radio journalism class at Youngstown State University covered a story about the volunteers who make the Polish dish – pierogi.
Here are their reports.
St. Stan’s pierogi makers keep up longtime traditional
October is Polish Heritage month and local volunteers continue their tradition of making polish dumplings to raise money for their church. Josh Medore has the story:
Volunteers from St. Stanislaus Church on Youngstown’s South side meet every week to make pierogi as a fundraiser for the church. They make hundreds of pierogi each week by wrapping dough around potatoes, sauerkraut or cheese. According to Rosemarie Weiderman, one of the volunteers, the church uses hundreds of pounds of potatoes each week.
WIDERMAN: On an average, we use probably 350 pounds, but at holiday time it goes up much, much more than that, so maybe 400 or 500 pounds.
Eleanor Mascheck has been helping at St. Stan’s since 1982. Around the same time, sales began picking up.
MASCHECK: They’ve been doing it before ’82, but it didn’t work out good … Now, we have different stores that come and buy them and that’s what keeps us going.
The pierogi sales help keep the church running and feed anywhere from 60 to 160 people every Friday, when the days-long process of making the pierogi ends and they go on sale. Many of the women at St. Stan’s have been making pierogi since they were children and continue to come back to the church every week.
MASCHECK: When we were little kids, especially the girls, they had to know how make them so when they got married, they knew how to make it.
WIDERMAN: Oh, the camaraderie. I love it. The people are so nice. And then, you know, it’s something I need to do to keep myself busy. I’m a widow so I enjoy coming down here. I’m lost if I don’t come down here.
The St. Stan’s tradition has been going on for more than 40 years and shows no sign of stopping any time soon. For TheNewsOutlet.org, I’m Josh Medore.
Pierogi makes family bonds stronger
Oct. 8 is National Pierogi Day. As Matt Roth reports, the men and women of St. Stanislaus Church know something about pierogi, family and friends:
Since the mid 1970s, neighbors and patrons of St. Stan’s Church enjoy homemade pierogi every Friday
Director, Dorothy Mszanski says coming to the church and making pierogi with her volunteers creates a second family.
MSZANSKI: A lot of our ladies here have sisters on the other side or brothers in the kitchen or yeah know. It took me a while to figure out who was related to who.
On one side of St. Stan’s basement sit a group of volunteers with one job. The other side completes another task.
89-year-old Mary Feret, a pincher and seller of pierogi for nearly 25 years says she appreciates the relationships she has gained through the church.
FERET: All the friends, I just love ’em… a friendship group you may as well say yeah it’s our family.
The process begins on Tuesday with the peeling, paring and preparing of potatoes. Wednesday, the volunteers begin making the dough. Thursday, the doughy procedure of pinching begins. The workers stuff the dough with potatoes, sauerkraut and cheese and fold it over forming the pirogue. Then on Friday the pierogi go on sale.
Julie Brincoko, secretary at St. Stanislaus, says helping out is hereditary.
BRINCOKO: My family has been here since the early 1900s. My grandparents were here, they were married here, my parents were married here, I was married here. So, it’s a family tradition. My mom taught me how to make it when I was a little girl, and now my daughter is learning how to make it.
The men and women of St. Stanislaus come together each week to make pierogi. But the family they formed through countless hours of rolling, filling and pinching creates a bond much stronger than the doughy treat.
From St. Stan’s kitchen and for TheNewsOutlet.org I’m Matt Roth.
Despite changes in tastes, trends – pierogi a hit at St. Stans
This month marks Polish American Month. George Yanchick …a first generation Polish-American…brings us a tale of tasty traditions from Youngstown:
National Pierogi Day may only come every Oct. 8, but for nine months of the year, it feels very festive in the basement of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, on Youngstown’s South side. This is where a team of men and women – some Polish and some not – meet to roll, stuff, pinch and boil dough into a delectable dumpling, that can be served as an appetizer, entrée or dessert, hot or cold.
Dorothy Maszanski is the team leader.
MASZANSKI: We have an average of 8,500 a week.
During summer months, it’s just too hot to cook, and this is the crew’s first week back. Today, Helen Kaplon helps make potato pierogi.
KAPLON: It starts on Tuesday with peeling the potatoes and then we put them in ice water and Wednesday they cook them, mash them and put them in containers.
But that’s not all. Wednesday, they prepare the cabbage into sauerkraut. Thursday they boil everything, and Friday it’s time to eat, dine-in or carryout.
Kaplon, who has been volunteering for more than 20 years, says her favorite is the classic potato, but the church also sells cabbage and cottage cheese, for $5.50 a dozen.
While St. Stan’s sticks to the classics, restaurants and specialty shops, including a few in our area, create “New World” flavors like buffalo-wing or blueberry-rum-cheesecake.
Different tastes and trends may change, but here one thing always remains certain, they always sell just about everything.
In Youngstown, George Yanchick, TheNewsOutlet.org.
For more information on making pierogi, Polish cooking, language classes and Polish events in Youngstown please go to:
Photos by Chris Davidson/TheNewsOutlet.org