St. Mary of Czestochowa Church volunteers cook up authentic ethnic fare
There are plenty of places in Pittsburgh where you can find pierogies, but the upcoming Polish Platter Dinner at St. Mary of Czestochowa Church offers much more than just the filled dumplings.
“It's a true Polish platter,” says volunteer Lillian Pfeifer, who is often a greeter at the event.
“You can go many places and get all varieties of food, but you can't normally go many places and get a true Polish dinner.
The annual fundraiser, which takes place Oct. 14 at the New Kensington church, offers a hearty helping of ethnic favorites. The cost of a dinner is $10. Takeout hours are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Eat-in runs from noon to 4 p.m.
Organizers plan on serving 1,500 dinners.
“The food is excellent, it's all handmade,” Pfeifer says.
In addition to the pierogi, the menu also includes golabki, known to many as stuffed cabbage. The dish is made up of a filling of seasoned rice and meat is wrapped in cabbage and cooked in a tomato sauce.
Haluski — or cabbage and noodles — is also on the menu, as is kielbasa and string bean polonaise. The latter — whose name basically translates to “Polish-style string beans” — features a buttery bread crumb topping.
All dinners include a dinner roll and a beverage.
The most popular of the pierogi fillings is the potato-and-cheese combination. Volunteers make about 5,000 of the filled dumplings in anticipation of the event, using the same time-tested recipe year after year.
The dinner is the parish's primary fundraiser, according to organizers. Money raised goes to operating expenses. The event attracts a wealth of volunteers, who start cooking well before dinner is served.
“We have a wide range; all members of the parish come in and help out,” Pfeifer says. “There's even been some volunteers from St. Joe's that come down. And it's men and women. They just put their hearts into everything for St. Mary's.”
Volunteers also range in age from teens who are just learning to prepare the Polish favorites to seniors who are passing down the traditions, all for the sake of supporting St. Mary of Czestochowa.
“It's a lot of fun, a lot of camaraderie, a lot of people getting together to make all this and we know it's a good cause, it's for our church,” Pfeifer says.
Fellow volunteer and parishioner Charlotte Polack agrees.
“We have a wonderful, wonderful group of people down there working,” she says. “They are just faithful, good Christian people who want to keep our church alive.”
The Polish Platter isn't all that the volunteers are cooking up. The dinner, which is eat-in or take-out, also features a country store with everything from crocheted scarves to canned items.
“We don't put anything in it that they buy somewhere or any crafty stuff that's not homemade,” Polack says.
Other homemade offerings include “tons” of desserts, she says.
“The baked goods consist of just about anything you can think of,” she says. “There isn't anything you want that day that you can't find. Anything from homemade pies to bread to rolls.”
And no matter what they find, two things are always for certain, according to Polak.
“Everybody leaves here saying they're so full,” she says. “And they can't wait to come back the next year.”
Julie Martin is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Moon area pediatrician found dead in country club lake
- Trib Total Media puts 9 Western Pa. newspapers up for sale
- LaBar: The upgrade of The Wyatt Family in WWE
- Starkey: Steelers stopping themselves with suspensions
- Pirates turn nifty double play in 9th, edge Marlins
- Pennsylvania warming to bring ‘profound’ changes, Penn State report says
- Heyl: Vick haters’ Facebook bark much worse than their protest’s bite
- Steelers’ Martavis Bryant facing four-game suspension
- Some of the WPIAL’s top teams leaning toward two-back ground game
- 10-year-old Blairsville violinist’s expulsion over knife challenged
- Nonprofit hospital titan UPMC’s income eclipses record