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Polish Pierogi
Dottie Naruscewicz Flanagan standing in her doorway, Polish Pierogi, 2011; Dorothy Naruscewicz Flanagan; Lowell, Massachusetts; Photography by Maggie Holtzberg
Dottie Naruscewicz Flanagan standing in her doorway, Polish Pierogi, 2011
Dorothy Naruscewicz Flanagan
Lowell, Massachusetts
Photography by Maggie Holtzberg
Preparing pierogi; Foodways; 2011: Lowell, Massachusetts
Recipe; Foodways; 2011: Lowell, Massachusetts
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Dorothy Naruscewicz Flanagan
Lowell, MA
We first met Dorothy Dottie" Naruszewicz Flanagan at Holy Trinity Polish Church during the "Blessing of the Food" Easter Saturday in 2011. We weren't surprised to learn that Dottie is also known locally as the "Pierogi Queen." Raised in Lowell's Polish community, Dottie, who learned to make this pasta delicacy from her mother, aunts, and grandmother, shares this fact, "Pierogi has always been a part of our life. It's a staple, especially at Christmas time."

We followed up by making a visit several weeks later to watch and learn about making Polish pierogi filled with cheese and potato, as well as cabbage and sauerkraut. Her friend Carol Matyka, who grew up in Lowell but now lives in Boston, was there for a refresher course.

Making pierogi for a crowd is labor intensive. In addition to making large batches of pierogi for the day before Christmas, known as Wiligia, pierogi is made for other special occasions, like wedding showers and baptism receptions. It is usually a group effort, not unlike quilting bees or barn raisings used to be. Dottie says that at Christmas time, she and Carol's sister make about 300 pierogi.
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