Category Archives: Pierogi-Based Chaos

This Enormous Falling Pierogi Pushed Me Right Off Facebook (via Vice Tonic)

pierogi drop 2017 whiting indiana

Real news.

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Vice / Tonic — If there’s one thing we all know to be true, it’s that we should abandon Facebook now. I knew this. And in all likelihood, you know this.

You can’t swing a dead cat around the internet without bumping it into studies proclaiming how we’re all burning the precious gift of life on a yawning vacuum packed with screaming idiots, masked cries for help from vague sad people we no longer know and whatever our exes are doing, which, surprise, doesn’t help anything. (Science, incidentally, also frowns on swinging dead cats, but I couldn’t find any studies on that.)

So while we all should quit for very good reasons, I ended up quitting, like I do most things, because of pierogies. 

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Mrs. T’s Pierogi Pocket competition: Vote early and often, like you live in Chicago

Pierogies all up in this piece, WHUT

Island Packet — If you have never eaten a pierogi, if you have never explored the magnificent taste combinations that arise when you weld a doughy dumpling to the important parts of a potato, then all I can say is that I weep for you. I weep for you nightly.

Pierogies basically are like what God would eat, if he was a Slovak, like my family. You could be forgiven before not knowing much about Slovakia (national slogan: “No, We Are Not The Country Borat Was From, And Please Stop Asking”).

Slovak cuisine, as a rule, is boiled to within an inch of its life or originates from a goat, or both, but pierogies fall distinctly into that first category. According to Wikipedia, which is absolutely reliable when it comes to the identification of doughy snackables, “pierogi” refers to “a variety of Slavic semicircular (or, in some cuisines, square) boiled dumplings of unleavened dough stuffed with varying ingredients.” Sure, I know what you’re thinking: “Gracious almighty, unleavened dough? Stuffed with VARYING INGREDIENTS? WHY HAVE YOU KEPT THIS BEWITCHING WONDER TO YOURSELF FOR SO LONG?” My apologies. Just hang on.

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Whiting, Ind. loses pierogi competition, and I go nuts

The greatest travesty of justice in the history of everything.

GateHouse – RECOUNT!

I DEMAND A RECOUNT!

I CONTINUE TO DEMAND A RECOUNT!

I HAVE NOT WAVERED FROM MY ORIGINAL POSITION OF RECOUNT-DEMANDING!

Unbelievable. Regular readers of this column — and hello again to my mom and whoever keeps coming to my Web site looking for pictures of the Insane Clown Posse — will remember that a few weeks back, I wrote about Whiting, Ind.’s chances of being crowned the Mrs. T’s Capital of the Pierogy Pocket of America, via what I believed to be a legitimate online competition, but what was obviously an audacious swindle being perpetrated on regular, dumpling-loving Americans by the nefarious lobbying cabal Big Potato. Because there is no way on God’s green and increasingly toasty Earth that Whiting, Ind., would lose to the alleged town of Binghamton, N.Y., wherever that is — especially not with the vast, crushing power of the full-on media blitz I personally launched in late October (and by “vast, crushing power” I mean “me, my cousin and this guy Jim voted like twice a day,” but I mean, come on, it’s working for Ron Paul).

Still, we Whitingians are nothing if not gracious in defeat, because many of us are fans of Chicago baseball, and I would like to react to our loss by doing a few things, the first of which is pout like a 4-year-old girl. Then, I plan to dream up a wildly irrational conspiracy theory involving Mrs. T’s executives and the Falun Gong (it will have a chart, which will rule), then sob quietly into my pillow for about two days, then don a black cape and sit in a barn listening to Bruce Springsteen’s “Nebraska” for the better part of an icy and sleepless night. I do not deal well with loss, people, and frankly given my history as a Cubs fan it’s a minor miracle that I ever get out of bed.

Second, I demand a recount, and I can do that because this is America, and recounts are available in any and all instances, such as when somebody doesn’t like the outcome of anything, or when a result is statistically close, or when you know your governor brother and his minions will help you rig an entire carnival-show state. So someone get Katherine Harris and her implants off of that photo-op horse and have her rig up something, and let’s not pretend like she has anything else to do.

Listen, I’m sure the people of Binghamton, all 12 of them, are extremely capable lumberjacks or whatever, but you cannot tell me that their pierogies can hold a drippy Slovak candle to those of my ancestors in Whiting, Ind., where there is an annual Pierogi Fest that features a grown man dressed as “Mr. Pierogi” although his costume could also theoretically make him “Mr. Salt Shaker” or “Mr. Deflated Zeppelin” or “The Swedish Chef from ‘The Muppets'” and where 75% of the town’s electricity comes from the fumes produced by recycled dumplings.

But buried within the press release announcing Binghamton’s controversial and contested victory lies what I believe to be the nefarious secret behind it all: A quote from Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y. Mostly), which says the Democratic front-runner is “happy to hear that St. Michael’s Church has persevered in its pursuit of pierogi perfection.” Ah HA! See what happened here, it was the HIPPIE WOODSTOCK LIBERALS and their VOTE TAMPERING, while on THE MARIJUANA. So for all those who voted for Binghamton, you voted for a WEAK AMERICA and a GIANT GAY GOVERNMENT and a land where writers USE CAPS ALL THE TIME WHEN THEY CAN’T THINK OF OTHER JOKES. Anyway, enjoy learning French, freedom-haters.

Indeed, as I suspect a recount will not work out in Whiting’s favor and the Supreme Court is apparently off making decisions on free speech or whatever, I propose that we, the people of Whiting — and all those other adjacent towns that look and smell like Whiting — waste no more time in invading Binghamton, as soon as someone can locate it on Google Earth. We will take their land, discover their secrets and then, only then, will we, um, invite them to Pierogi Fest next year, because we are a kind and giving people, and because we hear they have a fantastic secret recipe involving bacon.

* Binghamton, N.Y., was awarded $10,000 to St. Michael’s Greek Catholic Church, which entered the competition on behalf of the city and which will donate the prize to the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse, which distributes about 2 million pounds of food a year to local charities.


Mrs. T’s Pierogy Pocket Competition: Vote early, vote often for Whiting, Ind.

GateHouse – If you have ever had occasion to visit Whiting, Ind., you know that it is not often that the town is nominated for an an award, much less the potential capital of anything. If you have ever been to Whiting, Ind., the chances are good that sometime during your trip, someone in your party uttered one of the following things:

  1. Why are the skies here so orange?
  2. Can I swim in the lake?
  3. Why was that man sitting in White Castle every afternoon?

The answers, in order, are as follows: Because the steel mills have been belching low-hanging smoke for 100 years; sure, if you’ve been looking to add a pair of gills and a tail; and that was my grandfather, who, in his heyday, spent at least a couple hours every day in the White Castle on Indianapolis Blvd., meeting and/or chatting up what was apparently every human soul who ever set foot in Whiting, Ind. My grandpa was like that. He and Grandma lived most of their lives in Whiting, and as such it’s where much of my family hails from, the family having moved there from Czechoslovakia (whose official motto is “By the time you finish spelling it, we’ve changed the name”) in the early part of the 1900s to get a little of that burgeoning steel mill action and, of course, the various and delightful respiratory ailments that came with it (Whiting’s skies are sort of brownish-gold a lot of the time, except in the evenings, when they turn George Hamilton-orange, lit by tongues of flame that regularly erupt into the night sky). But to this day the town is lousy with Vrabels; you’ll generally find us in the Knights of Columbus hall on those rare occasions we’re not failing again at spelling our name over the phone (“NO, LISTEN – V, AS IN VICTOR…”).

So I have some history with Whiting, and it is with great pride and zero irony that I am asking for a little help, as it was recently brought to my attention by my cousin Kevin, no stranger to White Castle himself, that Whiting is currently in the running for Mrs. T’s Capital of the Pierogi Pocket of America.

What is a pierogi, you might ask, if you’re unfamiliar with the delightful cuisine of my eastern European ancestors? It’s OK. Unless at some point in the past you were my grandmother, you probably don’t often make pierogies, which are dumplings of unleavened dough that are stuffed with all manner of traditional Slovak delicacies, such as cheese, onions, sauerkraut, cabbage and cat meat (Kidding! I’m kidding! If we Slovaks love anything, it’s making people think we were the country Borat came from). Like many Slovak foods, pierogies are basically food hunks that have been shrouded in other, slightly more gelatinous food hunks. They are readily purchaseable in the Potato section of your local grocery, are best when sauteed in butter and onions and tend to make your entire kitchen smell like Bratislava. (Note: It has been recently brought to my attention that pierogies may not actually be a native Slovak food, but here’s the thing: It’s my column space, it would take like 30 seconds to Wikipedia, and besides, I’m not exactly writing the Encyclopedia Brittanica here, so let’s just, for the sake of argument, go with the Slovak thing. Cool? Cool)

Whiting would get the edge anyway, if I’m doing the judging, but especially so because of its Pierogi Fest, which happens every year, once featured Crystal Gayle (she is OBSESSED with unleavened dumplings) and helps keep the citizens’ minds off the orange skies. The Pierogi Fest features a Pierogi Toss, a Pierogi Eating Contest and once boasted the world’s largest pierogi, a terror-inducing behemoth that weighed in at 78 pounds. Let me reiterate that: There is a PIEROGI FEST. Every year! It draws like 50,000 people! The White Sox can’t draw that!

So I ask for your help in bringing a little sunshine to Whiting’s potato-loving people. Here are the details: Voting for the Mrs. T’s contest (I’ll even plug their pierogies, that’s how much I care about this) takes place at http://www.pierogypocket.com; voting ends on Oct. 23. Whiting is in the running with Clifton, N.J. (pfft); Binghamton, N.Y. (lame); Buffalo, N.Y. (what?); and Lancaster, N.Y. (ugh), all towns that are probably like nice or whatever, but cannot hold a candle to Whiting’s people and history, to say nothing of their White Castles.


“Hostel Part II:” The good people of Slovakia deserve better than this

You keep this flag in mind at the next Olympics, punks.

Island Packet – As a proud Slovak-American with a cumbersome, consonant-heavy surname, I must take issue with “Hostel Part II,” a torture-horror movie released last weekend and the sequel to the 2005 hit, “Porky’s.”

“Hostel Part II” is a wildly gruesome flick about cold-eyed businessmen who pay to inflict torture on highly nubile teens in a moldy-looking Eastern European hotel. It apparently sets new standards in cinematic bloodletting; needless to say, we rounded up the whole gang and piled into the minivan to catch “Hostel Part II” on Father’s Day.

But here’s the thing — the film is set in the country of Slovakia, which is my homeland, the land from which my great-grandfather traveled in the early 1900s to forge a livelihood in the coal mines, start his own life in America and help pave the way for his eventual descendants to write questionably valid columns and giggle like a third-grader every time they type the word “nubile.”

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