When reading one of my German cookbooks recently--called Alles Soljanka oder wie?--I came across a recipe called "Wareniki." It immediately reminded me of my long-time friend Jerry Sarabin, who had been of Ukrainian descent, and who had often talked about the dish that his mother had made. When I read the recipe, I knew I would have to write about it. Not only because of Jerry and his "wareniki" but also because of the word I know better--pyrogy--which reminded me of my mother-in-law, Kate, as that is what she called them.
The map below of Galicia and some of the history I found on the website of torugg.org/history, which had excerpted it from the web site of personal.ceu.hu/students.
After WWI all of Galicia ended up being part of Poland again. So many wars, so much history. In 1943-44 the Red Army regained Eastern Galicia and it became incorporated in the USSR's Soviet Ukraine. Western Galicia remained part of Poland. Finally, in 1991, the Ukraine became an independent nation and Eastern Galicia became part of independent Ukraine. Minor parts of western Galicia remain in Poland. None of it remains part of Austria.
I have known Jerry and Marina since 1956. We met at RCAF Station Greenwood, where Jerry and my husband were stationed. We remained friends throughout their careers. In 1970, with both now stationed in Winnipeg, Marina and I began taking gourmet cooking classes together and then putting them to work in our kitchens, often having family dinners at one house or the other. We have continued to keep in touch all these many years later.
He loved wareniki--I think the ones filled with sauerkraut but also those made with cottage cheese. (He also liked cabbage rolls--another of Kate's specialties--made with buckwheat.) Recently, at a Russian grocery store in Lahr, I found frozen wareniki, with a choice of fillings: potato, sauerkraut or cottage cheese. I bought a bag of the potato wareniki to try.