Thursday, March 20, 2008
Pysanky, Pierogies, and your Easter Babushka .....
Aren't these Pysanky beautiful?!?!!!! They were given to me last week by an 81 year old man who makes them every Easter season for his church !!! He and his sister were taught by their Slovak mother. After some chatting with him we figured out that his mother and my great grandfather were practically neighbors in "the Old Country".... that being Ruthenia (don't go looking for it on a map, cause it's not there anymore .... well, it is, but it isn't .... now it's Slovakia .... I think ....). ANYHOW, he told me that Ruthenia (or Rusyn)Pysanky are different than the Ukaranian Pysanky in that the Ukaranian's use alot of geometric shapes to decorate their eggs, where the Rusyn eggs use more flowing lines, like a comma shape. He also said each village had their own patterns and colors (sounds a bit like quilt blocks and patterns back in the pioneer days.) ANYHOW, he was describing how he makes these ...... takes the patience of a SAINT !!! After meticulously selecting each and every egg at a chicken farm (he looks for shape and size), he washes them, then pokes a hole in the ends to blow out the innards. THEN he transfers his design onto the egg with a disappearing pen (.... THAT sounds like a quilting thing too!). (then he kind of lost me .....) something about bees wax and a needle , then dipping it in dye .... then lots of varnish .....and the results are STUNNING !!!
Now, to go from the beautiful to the YUMMY !!! PIEROGIES !!!
Usually I buy the frozen Mrs.T's pierogies, BUT around these parts, around Easter, the locally HOMEMADE ones show up in the grocery stores, and at different churches ...... and OH BABY ! are they GOOD !!! I can remember watching my grandmother make these from scratch when I was pretty young ..... and even at that young age I can recall thinking "Jeeze Grandma, that looks like a heck of alot of work....." So apparently I wasn't destined to carry on the traditions of the "Old Country" .... too lazy! Oh, and I also remember Grandma making not just the potato /cheese stuffed pierogies, but also .....PRUNE stuffed pierogies .....I know I was just a kid when I was watching her make this stuff and most things look pretty disgusting to kids in the food dept, but, gotta say, sorry Grandma but that stuff looks GROSS!! STILL NOT going to try them!!! But, anyhow, look at these yummy traditional potato and cheese pierogies, tossed with butter (well, to keep it heart smart, Smart Balance) and onions .......
..... and keep in mind.... these are not the least bit fattening if all you do is look at them!
......OK, continuing on our little Eastern European heritage tour we went from the beautiful, to the yummy, and now to the versatile ...... that being the BABUSHKA !!
Now the way I see it, the babushka has to be one of the greatest inventions ever (kind of right up there with aprons ). First of all, this Ba Ba is wearing her babushka either because she just got back from the hairdresser and wants to protect her perm, OR because she hasn't had time to get to the hairdresser yet and she's hiding her bad hair day.....AND she could use her babushka to collect those eggs, wrap her bleeding fingers after the chickens peck at them, AND blow her nose in that babushka! ....see, what'd I tell ya .... VERSATILE !
.....Now, not only is the babushka versatile, it's INTERNATIONAL!!! My other grandmother, who was right off the boat from Italy, always wore one.... and now my Italian/American mother continues the tradition. (in fact, she stopped by my house a couple of days ago wearing one. I tried to take her picture wearing it, but she took it off and swatted at me with it .... see yet another use for a babushka!) Well, since my mother wouldn't let me take her picture, Evan and Matthew "volunteered" to be my models .....
.....here we have Evan and Matt wearing the babushka in the traditional, yet chic style (as seen on celebrities such as Grace Kelly). See.... not only practical, but fashionable!!!
.....and ......speaking of fashionable ..... here's Matt modeling "the Audrey Hepburn".....
....and next we have "the Grape Stomper"
...and "the Jack Sparrow"
.....and last but not least is the more decorative babushka used for formal occasions like these girls ..... sporting their Easter bonnets .... I mean Easter babushkas in the Easter parade !!
Well .... wasn't that one big long honkin' post !!! I guess I'd better get off this computer and go look for a suitable babushka to wear as my Easter Babushka since I'm just planning ahead for another bad hair day! (and I'm hoping to be one of the glamorous babushka wearers like Grace or Audrey and NOT one of the frumpy babushka wearers like ..... well like the hearty peasant stock that I come from.....)
Mary Anne (aka Mare)