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Pierogies Please – LOFS retiree working to make ethnic dumplings a Lenten favorite

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Community News & People in the News, Featured

Published on March 11, 2020 with No Comments

by Steve Euvino

 

Carol Macinga, owner of Pierogies Please, prepares another batch of the popular ethnic dumplings.

For those who must abstain from meat on Lenten Fridays, the usual substitutes include fish, tomato soup, and macaroni and cheese. But what about pierogies, those boiled or fried dumplings with fillings?

Some area churches offer pierogi with their Friday fish fries, and now a Lakes of the Four Seasons woman is offering homemade pierogies with meatless fillings for Lent.

Carol Macinga, a retiree, has found a new life and career, thanks to her late mother’s ethnic recipes.

“I love cooking,” said Macinga, whose home since December has become her kitchen and office. “It’s where I find peace in my life.”

For Lent, Macinga said traditional meatless pierogi fillings include potato and cheese, sauerkraut and onion, and sweet cheese.

Taking the attitude that “each week I try to do something that no one else has created yet or you can’t find locally,” Macinga came up with some additional Lenten fillings. These include potato and jalapeño cheese, sauerkraut and mushroom, crab rangoon, and salmon.

Macinga reaches her clients through the Internet and social media. Her business, Pierogies Please, is on numerous websites around Northwest Indiana. With clientele from Whiting to DeMotte, Macinga has expanded her business to now offer two pickup locations: at her Lakes of the Four Seasons home at 4154 Oakmont Ct. or Nana Clare’s Kitchen at 3907 Calumet Ave. Suite 108 in Valparaiso, a professional kitchen where Macinga produces and packages her product.

Since opening last year, Macinga is now fully insured and she has an operating permit from the Porter County Health Department.

Macinga’s business motto is: “Less Dough – More Filling.” It’s a tribute to her mother’s recipes and her family’s Slovak heritage.

The idea for the business started when Macinga was invited to a friend’s home for Thanksgiving dinner. Her host asked if she could bring pierogi, particularly prune pierogi, which he had not had in 50 years.

Having never made pierogi before, Macinga checked around stores, but had no luck on locating prune pierogies. Doing a web search next, Macinga found prune butter pierogi, but that was not what her host wanted.

So Macinga, knowing that her mother kept a pierogi press somewhere at home, decided to make them herself.

Macinga started her search for the press in the laundry room, where her mother kept all her cookbooks. Looking to the heavens, Macinga asked, “Mom, where is it?”

Then, some of the cookbooks fell forward, exposing the pierogi press.

Macinga used her mother’s Slovak recipe for pierogi. Instead of sour cream for the dough, Slovaks use cream cheese.

“It makes for a lighter, thinner dough,” Macinga explained. “This allows for less dough and more filling.”

Macinga has created other seasonal fillings, including a Ruben sandwich pierogi for St. Patrick’s Day. She also makes stuffed cabbage twice a month, including some sauerkraut with each order.

Each order also includes cooking instructions.

Macinga said her past business experience has helped her with customer service.

“I’m in the public eye,” she said, “and my customers are so kind and down-to-earth people. They’re very grateful for what I sell to them.”

Even though she works by herself, Macinga is never alone.

“I feel my mom’s hands are guiding me, all the time,” she said. “I feel this is a perfect fit for the rest of my life. The future looks very promising. I have to take baby steps and learn as I go, but I believe in my product.”

For more information on Pierogies Please or to place online orders, visit pierogiesplease.com. The business is also on Facebook at Facebook.com/pierogiesplease; the public can also join Pierogies Please Loyal Customers on Facebook for coupon opportunities. The business’ email address is pierogiesplease4me@gmail.com. Contact phone numbers are 219-662-2134 (home base) or 219-286-3645 (Nana Clare’s Kitchen).

 

 

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