As every distinctive, national hero whose fame has reached international stage ( in this case – F&B part of it) , pierogi have their long history as well. Although probably most of you only care about eating our mouth watering, Polish food staple, still there might be some curious about the background. Therefore, here you go!
Pierogi have been made in Poland since 13th century. However, there is an eternal, never-ending argument where exactly they were born. Besides the Poles, claims have been staked by Romanians, Russians, Lithuanians, Ukrainians and Slovaks. Some suggest that the original form came from the Middle Kingdom through Italy during Marco Polo expeditions. There are also theories that the Tartars brought the recipe to the West from the former Russian Empire.
One thing is for sure, though – the word ‘pierogi’ first appeared in Polish cookbooks and literature in the second half of 17th century. Traditionally, they were considered just ‘peasant’ food but they eventually spread through all social classes including nobles.
Back in the day, pierogi were only prepared for holidays such as Christmas and Easter, as well as weddings and funerals. Each holiday developed its special shape and filling. During Christmas, Poles serve two types of pierogi. One is filled with sauerkraut and dried mushrooms and the second one – translated exactly as ‘small ears’ – with dried, wild mushrooms only and served in clear borscht (beetroot soup).
The lucky guests of Polish wedding receptions used to devour significant amounts of kirniki – pierogi filled with chicken meat. There were also pierogi made specially for mourning /wakes, and some for caroling season in January.
Now – where does the name come from?
If you ever travel through Eurasia, you might find quite a big and confusing variety of names, that besides ‘pierogi’, would also be ‘perogi, perogy, piroghi, pirogi,pirogen, pierogy,pirohy, pierohy’. An interesting fact – specific name ‘pierogi’ has a Proto – Slavic root – ‘pir’ which means ‘festivity’.
However, even more important thing related to the name ‘pierogi’ – it is plural form and always used this way.The singular form would be ‘pierog’ but nobody ever uses it since they are too good to satisfy your palate with 1 only!
That in short would be the most vital historical facts for every Pierogi Lover! And if you want to consider yourself a an official ‘Pieroliever’, mark 8 October on your calendars as it is the National Pierogi Day!