Posted by on October 8, 2019 3:30 am

Categories: Coal Region Culture

October 8, 2019 is National Pierogi Day.

Do you plan on celebrating this unofficial holiday?

National Pierogi Day is October 8, 2019

national pierogi day

This year marks the 11th National Pierogi Day.

There may be no place on Earth more appropriate to celebrate National Pierogi Day than right here in the heart of the Anthracite coal region.

Pierogies are essentially the official foodstuff of Schuylkill County.

You could make arguments for less than a handful of other foods here. But for the sake of not having an argument, we’ll just go ahead and declare the pierogi as the Official Food of Schuylkill County.

Pierogies in Schuylkill County

We’ve literally been downing pierogies here for generations.

If you’re lucky enough, you’ve had a Polish or Ukrainian babcia, you may be holding onto a handed-down pierogi recipe. Hopefully you remember the lessons that nana taught you on how to make those pierogies.

There’s nothing quite like a homemade pierogi … even a badly made pierogi.

Mrs. T’s Pierogies, Major Coal Region Export

But if you’re not that lucky and can’t make it to a church social to buy a bag of homemade pierogies to take home, you can always go for one of Schuylkill County’s top exports, Mrs. T’s Pierogies.

Based in Shenandoah, the company — now called Ateeco Inc. — was founded in 1952 by Ted Twardzik. According to company lore, Mrs. T’s actually started with 5 women working around a kitchen table upda line in Shenandoah. Twardzik remembers, during his childhood, that his mother sold pierogies at church functions to rave reviews and demands for more.

In fact, National Pierogi Day honors the first day those women started making pierogies as a business in Shenandoah, October 8, 1952.

They filled orders to stock local stores with pierogies.

Founder Ted Twardzik died in November 2016 but the company out of Shenandoah keeps cranking out pierogies in an attempt to make the food we all take for granted here, a national … literally a household food.

Today, the company boasts of making more than a half-billion pierogies a year.

The line of products the company makes keeps growing, too.

Famous Chefs Make Pierogies

Some of the best-known chefs reveal that they love pierogies.

Martha Stewart

That includes the world-famous Martha Stewart. On her shows, Stewart says one of her favorite foods — out of all the fancy-schmanzy stuff she makes and eats on TV — is the classic pierogi. In an interview with Food Network, Stewart says the first dish she “mastered” cooking was the simple Sweet Cabbage Pierogi.

Want to learn how to make Martha’s pierogies (a recipe she says was passed down by her mother)? Here’s an Instagram post with full details. She says these take a day but anything drizzled in butter at the end is worth the time, right?

Michael Symon

Michael Symon, famously from The Chew TV show that used to be on ABC, shares a fantastic looking recipe for a pierogi “lasagna” that’s worth a try if (1) you’ve got some time on your hands, (2) have a large appetite, and (3) have somehow gotten bored with eating pierogies like anyone else around here.

Chef Symon recommends serving this dish in a game day situation but really, do you need a reason or occasion to eat something called pierogi lasagna? Check out Symon’s recipe in Parade magazine.

Wayne Gretzky?

And while other celebrity chefs have made things they call pierogies, they often resemble something completely not what you’d expect if you went to their restaurant and ordered them.

So, we found a celebrity — not necessarily a chef — that sells pierogies at his restaurant.

You can get a serving of pierogies, plain and simple, at Wayne Gretzky‘s restaurant in Toronto for $12.99. That’s right, The Great One.

Apparently when he was learning to skate at his Ukrainian grandmother’s farm in Canada, when he wasn’t firing pucks at a net, he was shooting homemade pierogies in his mouth. Gretzky shared his nana’s simple recipe with CBC earlier this year.

How the Natives Eat Pierogies

We like to keep our recipe examples simple, especially for foods that are best enjoyed at their simplest. And there’s nothing better than an old-fashioned pierogi.

But there is some local debate on how best to enjoy pierogies here in Schuylkill County.

You’ll get one camp swearing the only way to eat them is boiled followed by a swim in butter and onions.

Some like them pan-fried. A lot boil them first, of course, but finish them in the pan to give the pasta pocket a crispness. It’s also a great time to drizzle some butter or browned butter on top when they’re in the pan.

And then, of course, there are people who like their pierogies like they like their Oreos, pickles, and bananas … deep fried.

Is there a wrong way to eat a pierogi? Well, eating just one doesn’t even seem possible, so that might count. But really, there’s no wrong way to eat pierogies.

Which do you prefer?

Take our Reader Poll here:

What’s the Best Way to Eat Pierogies?

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