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

Written by Contributor. Posted in Dining & Entertainment, Featured

Published on February 10, 2021 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?

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 became 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.

Macinga, also makes stuffed cabbage twice a month, including some sauerkraut with each order. Each order also includes cooking instructions.

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 websites around Northwest Indiana. With clientele from Whiting to DeMotte, Macinga has expanded her business to now offer two pickup locations, but, due to COVID-19, Macinga asks clients to order through Nana Clare’s Kitchen at 3907 Calumet Ave., Suite 108 in Valparaiso, a professional kitchen where she produces and packages her product.

Since opening a few years ago, 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. 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 is working to grow her business. She started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for kitchen equipment and to hire staff to help in her in pierogi production. She is also looking for volunteer kitchen help.  Here’s her sales pitch: “Looking for ladies who have some experience with making pierogies and/or stuffed cabbage or who just love to cook!”

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.”

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. A contact phone number is 219-286-3645 (Nana Clare’s Kitchen).

 

 

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