Mrs. Sell's Blog of Household Management

Interesting things about the Northeast

We’ve been in the Northeast for about four months, and there has definitely been some adjusting to do. For example,


This did not happen in Southern California. Ever. I used to have a weekly schedule for doing things like grocery shopping. However, in the Northeast, schedules are redefined as “we go out on whatever day it’s NOT snowing and stock up for the next six days we’re going to be snowbound.”

Other interesting things about the Northeast:

Polish food!!!

pierogi varieties

We got these for the last snowstorm, figuring that if we have to be stuck eating only one things for days on end, pierogies are the way to go. Here we have Mrs. T’s, probably the most common commercial pierogi brand. Most grocery stores will carry at least one or two varieties throughout the country, but we clearly hit the jackpot here. Mrs. T’s are not quite as good as homemade, but if you top them with onions sautéed in butter and remember that you didn’t have to slave for four hours to make them, they are certainly acceptable. We also found a brand called Poppy’s, but we haven’t tried them yet. The plastic baggie in the foreground is some of my own pierogies, frozen, for comparison.

More Polish food!

paczki box top

These are traditional pre-Lent Polish pastries. Despite what is clearly written on the box, they are pronounced “paunch-key” or “punch-key.” (Can someone please teach me the rules of Slavic-to-English spelling conversion? Gaelic, too; I can never figure those out.)

Paczki are a filled pastry covered with powdered sugar that Polish people eat for Fat Thursday, which is basically the same thing as Fat Tuesday/Pancake Tuesday/Mardi Gras is in other places. What I found interesting about these is that I normally do not like donuts, but I liked these. I think it might be because paczki traditionally have a small amount of alcohol added to the dough which prevents deep absorption of oil while frying, which would account for the difference in flavor. We got them with raspberry and custard filling, but there were stacks of them with all different fruit fillings at the store.

And last but not least, the state drink of Rhode Island:

coffee syrup bottle


Yes, it says “coffee syrup,” like chocolate syrup, except with coffee flavor. Apparently this stuff is ubiquitous in Rhode Island, but virtually unknown outside of this region. It’s not bad; it kinda tastes like those coffee hard candies. It’s got a different viscosity than chocolate syrup, too; this one is practically liquid. Apparently there are other brands that each have their own unique flavor, so I plan to find them all and try them! I will update as events warrant.


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4 thoughts on “Interesting things about the Northeast

  1. Mrs. T’s Pierogies!!!

    So you’ll appreciate this – my husband inherited an appreciation for Polish food, particularly pierogies, from his VERY Polish grandmother. So when he left Chicago to come live with me in Anchorage, I remember we spent one of those very first weekend afternoons looking through EVERY grocery store for some Mrs. T’s Pierogies, only to come up completely empty. I told him that they must not send them to this area, because: 1) I’ve never seen them before, and 2) now that we’re actually looking for them, they’re not here.

    “I don’t understand!” He kept saying. “They’re EVERYWHERE and so easy to find in Chicago!”

    Well, honey, I don’t know what to tell you. They’re not here.

    Three years later when we moved back to the Chicago area, one of the first things we bought at the grocery store was a few boxes of Mrs. T’s. My husband was so excited – “I have missed these so much!”

    • My mother-in-law’s family were of Slovak origin, so my first experience with pierogies was her homemade ones! She taught me how to make them, and they are THE BEST EVER, but it takes like three hours to make one batch if you’re working by yourself.

      I could send you the recipe, but it’s hard to do without SEEING someone do it, and if you can get Mrs. T.’s, there’s less of a need to do it yourself.

      The Slovak version has a thicker dough than the Polish version, I’ve found, especially compared to REAL Polish ones like the ones at an authentic restaurant. I prefer the Slovak, but probably because those were the first ones I had. There’s nothing like a fresh, homemade pierogi straight out of the water!

      • My mother-in-law gave my husband a Kitchenaid stand mixer for Christmas, and the FIRST thing he used it for was homemade pierogies. Now, some of them kinda fell apart because he let the 11-year-old stuff them, but they were still good!

  2. If you really want to get crazy with the pierogi making, I recommend this handy little device. It takes a couple tries to get the hang of it, but it makes it SO much faster!

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