What’s Varenyky? Learning to Cook the Ukrainian Pierogi

Last week at Manor College, we celebrated our fifteenth annual “Founders’ Day,” a series of week-long events that students, professors, faculty and alumni participate in. This was the first year where Founders’ Day was celebrated over the course of one week. The week consisted of community service, food creation, social media events, awards, and celebration. One particular event was a food making event where we created “Ukrainian Varenyky.” This is like a pierogi.

I was very happy to participate in making a handful of these delicious pierogi. Making it was not as difficult as I thought it would be. In creating this dish, very few ingredients were needed to make the shell. Only flour, salt, oil, and water were required. I started by combining flour and salt and putting it into a bowl. I added oil and water and stirred it to mix it up. Then I did the part I thought was the most fun. I put the dough on a mat for five minutes and rolled the dough with my bare hands until it got smooth and soft. I enjoyed this because it allowed me to get all my strength in the dough and improve my coordination skills. I always enjoy opportunities for doing that.

After that, I took a brief ten minute break in order to let the dough rest on the mat. Then I rolled out half of the dough with a roller until it was ⅛ inches thick. After rolling, I used a tool to make small circles out of the dough. I was able to make nine small circles out of it. Then it was time to fill up the circles with the fillings. I had a couple of different options to fill them with. The ingredients were mashed potatoes, shredded cheese, and sauerkraut. You could also put sour cream and fried onions on top of them.

Personally, I thought filling and rolling the varenyky was the most difficult part for me. I needed to put a spoonful of filling into the circle. It turned out on a majority of them I ended up putting too much mashed potatoes and cheese in them. Pretty much if anything stuck out while it was baking it would pop open. This was soon corrected with help. I needed to fold the circle in half and keep giving them small pinches. I wrapped the process up by taking my nine pirogies to the kitchen and boiled them for five minutes. In the end, they looked a bit soggy, but I still think I did a good job. I realize that if I keep making these I can do a whole lot better.

It turned out that there were trays and trays full of Ukrainian varenyky. I thought they tasted really good. It was an awesome idea to learn how to create this food. Something cool about the varenyky is that you can put any food you want inside. It can be beef, chicken, or even a something dessert-like, such as fruit.  I really enjoy learning how to cook things even though I have not done it so much. I hope it is something that I will keep on improving as time goes on.

Will Rodebaugh is an intern in the Manor College marketing department.

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A Letter to Incoming Freshmen

When entering college, what’s the first thing that comes to mind as a freshman? The hot guys or girls; do they have a sorority or fraternity; or what type of clubs/sports they have?

You may start to believe that college is like what you see on tv/in the movies. Well, if that’s the case, let’s just say: you will be completely shocked.

My first day as a freshman was January 17, 2017. I was excited because I was so ready and nervous at the same time. I was thinking: what if the professors do not like me, or what if they are complete jerks? I was so overwhelmed that my mind was racing a thousand miles per hour like a race car.

However, my experience was the complete opposite of my fears. The professors/advisor I have had so far love me, and actually helped push me to become the best I can be. I’m not saying that school is easy breezy, because if that’s the case, everybody would be passing with flying colors and wouldn’t be stressed about midterms, etc. But: you will become more mature here, and you will succeed if you make good choices.

I am going to say this to the up and coming freshmen: relax, breathe. The professors are so welcoming. Some are stern and it’s going take a cold day to get them to smile, but they want the very best for you.

Please, do not come to college and skip class because your friends are not in the same class as you, or because you do not like a teacher. You are in college now, where “What you do today, will affect your tomorrow.”

My top tips for first year students:

  • Take advantage of all the help that’s given to you.
  • Check your emails.
  • Network — reach out to people, help out with different organizations.
  • Take advantage of your education.
  • Study and get a tutor, even if you feel like you do not need one.

Your first year is your easy year. Join a study group, or make one. Don’t be a procrastinator and turn in the assignment at the last minute. If you like to work under pressure, then go for it, but for most others, don’t. In other words: know yourself and how you thrive. Do not keep putting stuff to the side because you want to have fun or be with your friends. Better yet: make sure you have one friend that’s going be on your case and motivate you and everyone in the group to stay on top.

I’m ending this blog with a thought.

I pray that y’all have: No distractions, no unnecessary interactions.

It’s focus time.

It’s grind time.

Sheresa Palmer is a Criminal Justice major at Manor College.