If you’ve ever had the Pennsylvania-famous Kowalonek’s “kielbasy,” chances are you’ll never forget it. It might even send you back to the Coal Region on a quest for more.
The Philadelphia Inquirer posted an article on Palm Sunday highlighting how Shenandoah, Pennsylvania has helped to bring Americanized Polish food into the mainstream. It’s not just Kowalonek’s meat products. Mrs. T’s, as pointed out by the Inquirer’s Jason Nark, pumps out more then 600 million pierogies a year!
In the profile about Shenandoah’s food culture, Nark explores the history behind this Schuylkill County communities legendary products and ties it to the area’s immigrant roots.
The kielbasa run to Shenandoah, Schuylkill County, home to several stores that make it fresh, is an Easter tradition, mostly for the Polish and somewhat Polish, in Philadelphia and elsewhere in Northeast Pennsylvania. While the distinctly flavored sausage has roots in Poland and Eastern European countries, it has an entrenched just-because vibe here that doesn’t need much explanation. You stand in line for kielbasa because your half-Polish father did, and he stood in line because his beloved babcia did, too.
Nark’s piece is worth a read, and chances are you’ll learn a bit about how “Shen-do” has become a food capital of the Coal Region.