1 March 2017
Four times a year St. Mary Protector, a Byzantine Catholic parish church in Kingston, PA, holds a peroghi sale. About 30 volunteers spend two days making 4,000 potato peroghi.
(photo: Cody Christopulos)
Monday marked the beginning of Lent for the Eastern churches. Today marks the beginning of Lent for the Roman Catholic Church.
Growing up in western Pennsylvania, the Lenten gruel was lightened by Friday parish fish fries and peroghi — stuffed with onions or potatoes, cheese or cabbage, and smothered in sour cream. For the Slavic parish churches that peppered the landscape, peroghi making was a community and family affair. Generations of parish volunteers combined the ingredients, rolled out and cut the dough, stuffed and pinched the pockets of dough, and dropped them in the large vats of boiling water. And generations of eager peroghi eaters traveled to their favorite spots, for each community varied the recipe.
Today, many of those parishes — Carpatho-Rusyn, Polish, Russian and Ukrainian — have dwindled in size, but they continue to survive thanks to a culinary tradition that bore fruit in Lent.
To read about a parish in eastern Pennsylvania that continues the tradition, check out Ruthenian Lenten Fare from the January 2005 edition of ONE.