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A Little Pierogi History

Very, very little. For indeed there isn’t much formal history out there on pierogis in Central Europe, which would seem to advance my emerging knee-jerk theory that pierogis didn’t really come from there. This is not to say there aren’t any origin stories. Most of these have to do with a Polish saint by the name of Hyacinth. One of them states that Hyacinth caused ruined crops to grow overnight after a hailstorm, and with the resulting wheat fashioned the first pierogis. But then European food origin stories are filled with this sort of thing. Some days it seems like half the foods in Europe were invented when some Pope-or-other’s carriage broke down and the local peasantry was forced to throw together an insta-meal out of available scraps.

A slightly more plausible legend maintains Hyacinth brought the pierogi to Poland from Central Asia. Another has it that it was introduced to the West by Marco Polo. Both stories are quite unlikely, though they jibe with the notion that the pierogi is the European version of the borek, which is Turkic in origin. All of this is entirely speculative of course. Trying to pin down the origin of the hand pie is like trying to determine where the first noodle or boiled dumpling came from. Who can say for sure?

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