For more than 30 years a Williams Lake couple has been taking time off from work every year in November to make perogies and cabbage rolls as part of their Christmas traditions.
Andrea and Ron Moleschi said they make about a thousand perogies and 13 to 24 trays of cabbage rolls.
Ron’s family is Ukrainian and his mom, ‘Baba,’ taught Andrea how to make the traditional foods in 1987.
“I just went to town with it and she told me I was a pretty much a natural at it, which was a compliment,” Andrea recalled. “Ever since then we make big batches. If you are going to make something, you might as well make it big.”
They have two children – Canadian rugby player Kayla Moleschi and Curtis Moleschi who works as a grocery supervisor.
Each year Andrea and Ron fill up the freezer with the perogies and cabbage rolls and then friends and family ask for some.
“I have a lot of friends — and the food makes great Christmas gifts.”
Savoy cabbage is what they use for the cabbage rolls because it is easier to work with, Ron said, adding they core the cabbage and boil it a bit.
Ron does all the boiling and Andrea does all the rolling for the cabbage rolls and when they make perogies he does the rolling and she does the stuffing.
“We have a system and when the kids are home they’ll help out as well and it’s even better,” Ron said. “It’s team work.”
Perogy fillings they enjoy are cheddar and potato, bacon and cheddar cheese with potato, cottage cheese and potato or sauerkraut and potato.
Old cheddar cheese is the only thing she uses as it gives the best flavour.
She also does not like onions, so there are no onions put inside the perogies, instead that’s something people can fry with butter and bacon to eat on the side with the perogies and sour cream.
Andrea said her mom used to make a sauce with cream and onions that she’s never done.
November is a good time to be off work from her job as manager of the Real Canadian Wholesale Club and Ron works at West Fraser Timber.
They will also decorate the house and get all the lights set up so when Kayla comes home it’s all set up.
“She’s like a little kid — she loves her Christmas.”
Andrea will always take Kayla’s Langford tournament off, two weeks off in August for camping and Oct. 25 for Kayla’s birthday.
Their son Curtis was born Dec. 20th, but Andrea said she cannot ever take time off then.
Minor tweaks have been made to the recipes over the years and they aren’t necessarily traditional, Ron said.
The cabbage rolls, for instance, have rice and ground beef in them, Andrea explained.
During that work bee they make sure to eat some too, but the intent is to have them done for Christmas and the rest of the year.
Although there are times when they may have to make a small batch for Thanksgiving if there are none left in the freezer.
“We cannot have Christmas dinner, Thanksgiving, Easter without perogies and cabbage rolls,” Andrea said. “We make a lot of home cooked meals and it’s nice some nights to ask, ‘what do we have in the freezer?’ and pull out cabbage rolls.”
Cabbage rolls and perogies are a comfort food, she added.
Curtis has always told Andrea the best thing about Christmas is the meal.
“He’d tell me, ‘don’t ever buy me any gifts,’ And I feel badly — his birthday is five days before Christmas Day.”
As for Kayla she said her parents are a dynamic duo.
“I look up to them and their relationship each and every day,” Kayla told the Tribune via Facebook Messenger. “If all I got for Christmas was to be with my family and we got to make perogies and cabbage rolls for Christmas dinner then I would be the happiest, and I know my brother feels the same way.”
This year, Kayla wasn’t there to help but said she will be reaping the benefits come Christmas dinner.
“Haha, of course if travel allows.”
Moleschis’ cabbage rolls
Savoy cabbage cored and slightly boiled
32 cups of rice cooked
Four big club packages of lean ground beef raw mixed with two eggs
Form the cabbage rolls and line them in a baking dish
Cover with President’s Choice ketchup
Cook at 400C for 1.5 hours or two hours until cooked.
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