It seemed like a good idea at the time. I had no idea what a Pierogi was, and I was determined to get a taste of what looked like a Polish delight. Last Saturday marked the 10th annual Pierogi Festival at the Dom Polski Seattle Polish Cultural Center. I’m not sure how this event has gone on for 10 years; I guess each year it attracts a new round of suckers.
This year brought a rather large crowd of suckers, myself included. With the line stretched around the block, my friend and I went to the back of the line feeling hungry yet hopeful. This hope, though, would soon turn into fear.
The first sign that maybe this wouldn’t be as great as we had hoped came when we passed the window of the kitchen where the pierogies were being made. There was a stack of boxes with frozen pierogies sitting right in the open window, and a man could be seen dumping them into a pan in preparation to cook them. They weren’t even discrete about it. I found it a bit strange that a Polish culture center would serve frozen pierogies instead of the legitimate, hand-made delights, but at that point I had waited in line for 30 minutes and was hungry enough to accept some frozen pierogies.
After over an hour of waiting, my friend and I were finally inside the building. However, our grief was far from over. I heard someone say something about it being cash only. I was confused because the Facebook page for the event did not specify that it was cash only, nor were there signs outside the building with a warning. I assumed that since it’s the twenty- first century they would have a card machine, but I assumed wrong. I had no cash on me, so I sprinted to Trader Joe’s and bought a bag of chips so that I could get cash back. I then sprinted back and made it just in the nick of time to hand them the $10 in exchange for a plate. Thankfully my friend was there to save my place in line, because I would have been out of luck otherwise. I doubt that the other hangry people around me in line would have let me back in, because they too had just waited 90 minutes and nothing was getting in the way of their frozen pierogies.
I proceeded with my paper plate and picked out my 10 pierogies. I was most excited to try the blueberry pierogies that were advertised on the Facebook page, but of course they were out of those. The pierogies were pretty small, probably about two inches long and an inch wide. I got three pierogies with sauerkraut filling, three with potato and cheese and four sweet cheese. My friend and I found a table, sat down and proceeded to devour them. They weren’t bad considering it was frozen food that was made in bulk. I did enjoy them, but it wasn’t worth waiting for an hour and a half and being forced to exercise. I don’t take forced exercise lightly.
I don’t have a comparison because I’ve never had a handmade pierogi, but I’m sure those would be a lot better. I want to try a real Polish pierogi because, if the frozen version was good, handmade ones must be delightful. I can credit the annual pierogi festival with introducing me to a tasty new cuisine, but that’s about the only good thing that came out of the experience. Hold your hats, folks, because this story gets worse.
The morning after the pierogi experience, I woke up with a string of texts from my friend who attended with me. I hadn’t been looking at my phone in the evening, but she sent me a message that read, “Do you have an upset stomach? I feel sick.”
In the morning she sent a text that read, “I’m pretty sure those pierogies made me sick, I was throwing up all night.”
I didn’t have an upset stomach or throw up that night, not because of the pierogies at least. We came to the conclusion that the meat filled pierogies were what gave her food poisoning, because I am vegetarian and therefore stuck with the meatless pierogies. Unless it was something else my friend ate, those pierogies are to blame for a horrible night.
So, there you have it—a long wait for decent pierogies that forced me to exercise and made my friend sick. I will seek out some legitimate pierogies, but never again, Pierogi Fest.
Bailee may be reached at