The love that is Perogies

The love that is perogies.(writing the self)

It’s a cold blustery morning like most mornings in the midst of a usual Saskatchewan winter, but today is Christmas Eve and I know I have to get up soon. I know mom is wearing her trusty blue apron, and has already franticly started preparing for Christmas Eve dinner, before I even crawl out of bed. I feel the cold air seep through the brick walls of my childhood bedroom onto my face not protected by warmth of my blanket. Before I even open my eyes I can hear her footsteps on the creaking hardwood floor and the clanking of dishes into the sink and the sizzle of butter in the frying pan. Christmas Eve is my favorite meal of the year, it always has been even before my mom and I took over making it.

The bitter smell of sauerkraut frying in the kitchen starts to drift into my room. I know I need to get up and start helping with the dinner preparations. The floor feels so cold on my bare feet, I don’t bother changing out of my pajamas I know I’m just going to be covered in a white dusting of  flour soon enough, so I might as well wait to get cleaned up.  I go into the kitchen moms now sitting at the table peeling potatoes with her favorite paring knife in hand, I grab a knife and sit down at the table. Between the two of us we peel the pot full of potatoes in no time. With the click of nob and the flicker of the flame the potatoes are on top the stove boiling. We begin to get into our Christmas eve preparation rituals mom starts to prepare the other perogie fillings while I get grandmas tried and true perogie dough recipe from the lightly stained wooden recipe box. The recipe is crusted with old flour from the Christmas of years past. I pull the largest metal bowl we have from the cupboard the only time of year i ever see this massive bowl being used. Heaping scoops of flour and other ingredients are plopped into the bowl a white cloud of flour emerging from the bowl, as I knead the sticky floury paste between my fingers making sure all the ingredients are mixed to the right thick consistency. Next comes the rolling a dusting of flour is placed onto the table we roll the dough so mechanically cutting our imperfectly perfect squares to house our fillings. Sauerkraut, potato, poppy seed and plum our nimble fingers work quick to scoop and pinch every perogie into the perfect bite size flavor filled pocket of joy. Dozens of perogies lay out on sheets lined with parchment paper, our biggest project of the day accomplished.

As the day goes on Family slowly start to show up, Christmas music and the sound of people fill the house with warmth and noise. The smell of cabbage rolls cooking in the crock pot starts to fill the house with a fragrant smell of cabbage and tomato. Mom and I hustle around the ever growing crowd of family filling the house. I set the table with the red Christmas table cloth we use every year with the Santa salt and pepper shaker and traditional candle that burns all evening, we have a plate and bowl set for every member of our family coming to dinner squished around the small table.

Two large pots are filled with water on the stove the water slowly starting to boil, in the oven there is freshly caught fish carefully seasoned and baking in the oven. On the counter next to the stove, a stack of bowls rest ready to be filled with butter and freshly cooked perogies. The house fills with steam as the pots of roaring water start to boil the kitchen windows now foggy from the warmth. The first batch of perogies are dropped into the water with a splash, as they are start to cook the next batch is prepared we move back in forth cooking and scooping in an almost coordinated dance.

Bowls filled with wheat and poppy seed grandmas prepared, and a bowl of steaming hot borscht at every place setting.  Supper is finally ready, bowls and plates of twelve different dishes line the table not an empty space in sight. It’s finally time to eat those hot steamy perogies I dreamed about all day. As we Gather around the overcrowded table, grandma says her prayer in a language I don’t understand, from the look in her eyes I know she is feeling overwhelmed with joy and love for the large family she created and for her traditions she passed down. My plate stacked high with a pile of steaming hot perogies I take my first bite of pure bliss that is perogies. I feel at home and hungry surrounded by the warmth of loved ones knowing that each Christmas Eve will end with the same sense of accomplishment and love for the food that is perogie.

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