To the best of my knowledge, my family is either Irish, Scottish, English, German, French, French-Canadian, or some flavor of “Heinz 57” (having been in America since before the Mayflower landed).

So, when I read of the Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy hosted at Jessica’s Genejournal, I knew that I wouldn’t have anything to contribute pertaining to my own family.

However, my non-blogging husband’s maternal family is Slovak, so I thought he might come up with something, especially since the topic was near and dear to his heart: Food! More specifically, “traditional dishes of our ancestors from Central and Eastern Europe.”

While on a recent business trip to Florida, my husband consulted with his mother to find a favorite family recipe. She loaned him a copy of The Anniversary Slovak-American Cook Book, edited by The First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association (Tylka Bros. Press; 1st edition, 1952), which was given to her by her mother, Anna Marie (Pado) Macek, in 1974.

My husband selected the recipe for Pirohy found on page 99. He remembers his grandmother and great-grandmother making these frequently, and says that this was one of his favorite Slovak dishes. He particularly liked the potato filling… but not so much the cabbage.


1 cup flour
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
About 4 tablespoons cold water
Brown melted butter and pour over pirohy when served

Mix all ingredients with enough water to make a medium soft dough. Knead well, then roll out until thin. Cut in squares to make 50 pinohy. Place on each square 1 teaspoon filling. Fold in half to make triangles. Pinch edges well to keep filling from escaping. Drop in salted water and cook until all pirohy rise to the top of the
water. Then cook for 5 minutes longer. When done, pour in a small amount of cold water and strain. Place in serving dish and pour over butter that has been melted and slightly browned. Eat while hot, and if desired, add more salt.

Cheese Filling for Pirohy

1/2 cup dry cottage cheese
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon butter
Pinch of salt

Combine ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Potato Filling

One large potato cooked and mashed. Add one tablespoon melted, browned butter and salt to taste. A few dry crushed peppermint leaves may be added. However, this is optional.

[NOTE: my husband’s mother wrote “ugh” next to the part about peppermint leaves, so I’m guessing that wasn’t a popular addition!]

Cabbage Filling

One pound head of cabbage chopped fine, to which add 1 teaspoon salt and set aside to stand for several minutes. Then squeeze out water from cabbage and fry in one tablespoon butter that has been allowed to brown. Add one teaspoon sugar, and stir occasionally to keep from burning. Fry until golden brown.

~Sophie Gresko, Whiting, Indiana

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O’Neal
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