Saved by Pierogi

sc002963a8.jpgMy Polish Grandma was quite a cook, at least of Polish food, and a wonderful baker. The menu was always the same: breaded fish (picked up fresh from the market), handmade pierogi (cabbage and potato & cheese), Strawberry-Banana Jello salad, borsht and herring in sour cream (something only my dad and grandfather ate). Dessert was her amazing blueberry cheesecake.

352027468_c08a5157a6.jpgIn those days, meat wasn’t allowed to be eaten on Catholic holy days, so for someone who loathed fish – me – Christmas Eve was slim pickings.  Thankfully, I was saved by the pierogi. Soft dough, filled with mashed potatoes and cheese, bathing in melted butter.  What’s not to love? Even though they had onions in them – another food I hated -- I ate them by the pound. 

Now that I live on the West Coast, away from my family, and all my grandparents are gone, every Christmas Eve I think fondly of those boring, adult ones filled with special flavors. Especially as I cut into my pierogi. 

Strawberry-Banana Jello Salad
Unfortunately, I never learned how to make pierogi, but I did find this recipe. I don’t know where my grandmother got it, but it wasn’t a holiday without it.

6 oz. strawberry Jello
2 cups boiling water
1 cup cold water
Small package frozen strawberries
3 ripe bananas, cut into 1/4-1/2 slices
1 pint sour cream

Mix Jello through strawberries together. Pour 1/2 mixture into pan and chill until set.

Spread sour cream to cover. Then lay sliced bananas on top.

Slowly pour rest of strawberry mixture over the top. Chill until set. Slice into square sections, however big you want, and serve.


Lisa Dinsmore is an amateur writer, web programmer and wine lover. She has been wine tasting throughout California for the last decade, is currently working her way up to receiving her diploma from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust and has her own wine website, The Daily Wine Dispatch.