Pirohi tradition stretches across generations in Southern Tier

By Matt Porter

March 7, 2014 Updated Mar 7, 2014 at 7:52 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The line stretched around Saint Michael's Orthodox Church's gymnasium for the beginning of the 51st Lenten pirohi sale.

"I love the cabbage the best," said Doris Cronk of Binghamton, "But it's just a wonderful meal that doesn't have meat in it for Lent."

The six-week pirohi sale is the largest fundraiser for the church, it estimates more than 10,000 pirohis will be cooked between now and the end of Lent.

Helen Klima, of the Town of Union, said she comes each week for one reason.

"Because they're delicious," Klima said. "They make them the best right here."

Heather Broz, of Endicott, said the sale is a Lenten tradition.

"We usually make it out here at least once or twice during lent," Broz said.

The pirohis are all hand made by families who've folded and boiled the traditional dumplings for generations, something that brought Bob Winterstein all the way from Montrose, Pennsylvania.

"You can't get any better than this, this is the real deal," Winterstein said.

In fact, under one roof, you can find three generations of pirohi cooks.

Grandaughter Maria Korchak helps pinch pirohi with her mother Maria and grandmother Dolores Kundrat.

"I do what every college student wants to do on spring break," Maria Korchack said, "Pinch pirohi."

The time consuming process leaves lots of time for reflection according to mother Nadine Korchak.

"We think about all those people have since left us," Nadine Korchak said. "And we have fond memories of generations of people who came before us."

It's a tradition Maria Korchak hopes to keep alive.

"One day I'll hope to pass these traditions to my children as well," Maria Korchak said.

Dolores Kundrat, the grandmother or 'baba,' has the duty to ensure the tradition continues.

"We should always remember our roots and our traditions which are passed down and a wonderful memory," Kundrat said.

She said memories are part of each pirohi.

The Saint Michael's Orthodox Church Pirohi Sale will continue for each Friday in Lent except Good Friday.

You can eat-in or take out from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Friday.

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