The Food Column: The GoodTaste! show celebrates Pittsburgh's perpetual pieroginess

Pierogies: They're a Pittsburgh thing.

Sure, you can get them other places, but here, we claim them proudly as a mainstay. Pierogies crossed the ocean from the Old World with first-generation steelworkers, and this being a town of traditions, the filled dough pockets just pulled up a chair and stayed.

The Heinz History Center, in conjunction with GoodTaste! Pittsburgh, will celebrate pierogies at the second-annual Hometown-Homegrown event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, at the History Center.

Last year's inaugural event focused on the ubiquitous Pittsburgh Cookie Table; this year's star is pierogies because organizers "wanted something that was quintessentially Pittsburgh, with deep roots, but that ideally was still popular today," Lauren Uhl, curator of food and fitness, said.

Exhibits and presentations on every floor of the History Center will focus on food or food history in some way.

The highlight, on the fifth floor, will be a vendor hall filled with nearly 50 booths manned by local food companies and restaurants. Several vendors will bring along specialty pierogies for sampling; guests will be able to vote for "Pittsburgh's Perfect Pierogi." For instance, Braddock's American Brasserie will bring braised short-rib pierogies (a regular on the Downtown restaurant's menu), plus a few other varieties, and Downtown's Sinful Sweets will bring chocolate-dipped pierogies, which they occasionally sell in their store as well.

WQED's Rick Sebak and Chris Fennimore will lead cooking demos with chefs from Marty's Market and Braddock's at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. The Strip District's Wigle Whiskey will present a discussion of the Whiskey Rebellion and Pittsburgh's whiskey history as well as offer samples at 1:30 p.m.

There also will be children's activities, such as a food-related scavenger hunt, and a display of historic cookbooks and menus from the center's archives.

Meanwhile, the History Center also is running a Pierogies Facebook Contest. Submit your favorite family pierogies recipe for a chance to win a $50 Braddock's American Brasserie gift card and a behind-the-scenes tour of the QED Cooks studio with Mr. Fennimore. To enter, post the recipe directly on the History Center's Facebook page or e-mail it to Each entry should include your recipe and the story behind it, plus an accompanying photo. The winner will be selected at random and will be announced on the History Center's Facebook page on Wednesday, Sept. 4. Recipes will be compiled into a "Pierogies of Pittsburgh Cookbook" that will be sold at Hometown-Homegrown.

History Center staffers expect the event to top last year's crowd of 1,200.

Hometown-Homegrown activities and food samples are included in regular History Center admission.

For more information, go to or

More sandwiches

Last week, readers shared their favorite weird sandwiches with me (read it at Here are a few more that came in past the deadline:

Phyllis Trail of Blawnox used to pack her husband's lunch when he worked at Union Steel near the 62nd Street Bridge. His favorite was cold baked beans with mayo on white bread.

Ruth Rush of Upper St. Clair shared her father's favorite sandwich: thick slices of Vidalia onion with salt, pepper and butter on white Stroehmann sandwich bread. "He called it a poor man's sandwich. I called it gross," she said. "His breath smelled for days!"

Susan Cohen of Squirrel Hill says this winner has been in her family for 40 years: peanut butter, bacon and honey.

Ruth Bovalina of Burgettstown makes chunky peanut butter sandwiches with sweet or dill relish, pickles or green olives. She also likes the combination of cream cheese, peanut butter and black raspberry or black cherry jelly.

Ethnic Festivals

A Taste of Greece: Lamb souvlaki, grilled chicken, spanakopita, baklava and many other favorites, plus live Greek music and dancing. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. today through Sunday, Sept. 1, at Holy Trinity, Babcock Boulevard and Cumberland Road, North Hills (across from UPMC Passavant).

Pittsburgh Irish Festival: Irish food, traditional Irish entertainment, live music, Irish marketplace. Friday to Sunday, Sept. 6 to 8, at Sandcastle, West Homestead. $12 advance, $14 at door; discounts for seniors, students, military.

St. Michael's Feast: Syrian, Greek and American foods, plus baklava, nut rolls and other baked goods. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8, at St. Michael's Orthodox Church in Greensburg. 724-834-1311.

Other festivals & events

Wine Time at The Colony: Artisanal wines, fine food and arts and crafts. Noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, at Penn's Colony Village Grounds in Saxonburg. $20 ($20 for designated drivers). 724-352-9922 or

Sewick's Chicks: Self-guided tour of Sewickley's chicken keepers. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8, in Sewickley. $10 for adults; free for children 12 and under. Buy tickets at Penguin Bookshop in Sewickley.

Mother Earth News Fair: More than 200 hands-on workshops covering organic gardening, cooking, food preservation, homesteading, livestock and more. Noon to 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21; and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, at Seven Springs. $30 for the weekend or $20 for a one-day pass ($5 more after Sept. 19).

Gary Lincoff Mid-Atlantic Mushroom Foray: Mushroom walks, speakers, mushroom-ID lessons, cooking demos and a mushroom feast. 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Rose Barn in North Park, McCandless.


Preparing for Winter Beekeeping: Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture sponsors this workshop on preparing beehives for winter. 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 3, at Country Barn Farm, O'Hara. $35.

Early American Hearth Cooking: Interactive, hands-on cooking experience, plus delicious samples from historic recipes. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Old Stone House, Slippery Rock. $25. 724-256-0674.

Teenagers in the Kitchen -- Tailgating: Learn to make tailgating food like fajita nachos, sliders and black-and-gold goodies. 1 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, at Giant Eagle Market District in Robinson. $25.

Rebecca Sodergren: or on Twitter @pgfoodevents.


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