Vivian El-Salawy, Pie Bar
Growing up, I was exposed to all kinds of delicious food with Eastern European and Middle Eastern roots, since that is what my family cooked at home. We never went out to eat much, and when we did, it was usually the same few places in our small, comfortable town of Gainesville, Florida. It wasn’t until I moved to Georgia that I became more exposed to traditional, Southern food.
Yes, folks – never in my life have I had a chicken pot pie UNTIL working here at Pie Bar, when I tried our Rosemary Chicken Pot Pie. Along with pot pie, I was exposed to all kinds of new food here in the heart of Georgia, such as hominy, Brunswick stew, meat loaf, and, get this – casserole (yes, I have never had ANY kind of casserole, and I honestly didn’t even really know what it was). After twenty-something years of living in the States, I finally began to taste the flavors of the South.
Much of the food that my family cooked had similar properties to Southern food – mashed potatoes and meat were huge (although, lamb was more commonly grilled in our household than beef or pork). Pickling food was also a common practice where my family came from, and I began to notice that pickling food was a well-known staple of Southern cuisine, as well. Ultimately, I realized that although the methods of cooking may have varied, there were many correlations between what I was used to eating at home, and what the people around me in Georgia were used to eating at home.
When I tried Pie Bar’s Rosemary Chicken Pot Pie, without ever having eaten a pot pie before in my life, I felt like I was back home with my family. I realized that even though I’ve never had chicken pot pie, I did have a pot pie of sorts that both my mother and grandmother used to make from scratch, called “Pirog”. “Pirog” is a Russian “savory pie”, consisting of a soft, doughy exterior and a variety of different fillings. The fillings that my grandmother makes at home rotate between mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, or ground beef with onion.
We also make a miniature version of pirog, called “piroshki” – these come either oven-baked or pan-fried. My personal favorite had been the mashed potato-stuffed piroshki (#carbsoncarbsoncarbs). Those were THE BEST because they were basically personalized, stuffed buns with deliciousness in the inside – and the greatest part about it is that you don’t have to share ‘em.
The fact that Pie Bar carries BOTH small and large pot pies reminded me exactly of that. You could either have one to share around the table or one to devour aaalll to yourself (although, I admittedly conquered a 10” Rosemary Chicken Pot Pie all by myself* – AND I’M PROUD OF IT, DANG IT).
Any who, it’s crazy how much food can make you feel at “home”. Throw on a pair of your coziest pajamas, turn the T.V. onto your favorite show, and throw one of our Take & Bake Pot Pies into the oven and there you have it – back at home. '
I encourage everyone to think twice about what meals make you feel “at home”, and on a cold or rainy day, throw it together and give yourself the satisfaction of feeling at home.
*over the course of a few days, but I’m still proud of myself