Growing Up In Working Class Youngstown — Haluski


It is simplicity itself. Egg noodles, cabbage, onion, butter, salt, pepper. You can add crumbled bacon or slice kielbasa, maybe have some sour cream or cottage cheese on the side. But those five  ingredients, with lots of butter are basic, and all you need. Chances are, if you grew up in Youngstown, particularly around people of Eastern European descent, this was a regular dish at the dinner table.

Makes sense. Inexpensive ingredients. Quick preparation. Comfort food, that pleases the palate and satisfies the stomach. For working families on a budget, this is a great option.

Different recipes use different quantities but it comes down to this: chop or grate a cabbage and onion, saute in butter, cook the noodles separately in water to package instruction, drain and add to the sauteed cabbage and onion and warm through, perhaps with a bit more butter (all the recipes stress that butter, and butter in good quantity is important to good taste). Then salt and pepper to taste. The first Recipes of Youngstown includes a good recipe on p. 60. There is also a video on YouTube that provides a good demonstration. The guy looks and sounds like he could be from Youngstown!

That’s the haluski I remember but I also learned that there is a variant that is made with potato dumplings instead of noodles. That sounds like more work. It had been a long time since we had haluski. Recently my wife made some that brought back those smells and tastes of growing up in Youngstown.

How did your family make haluski?

30 thoughts on “Growing Up In Working Class Youngstown — Haluski

  1. Good Morning Bob
    My parents made the best haluski. They added the cottage cheese option. I did not like it as a child but grew to appreciate the taste.
    Great post of a Y-town staple from the past!
    Michelle H. White

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I didn’t have it for the first time until college when my Irish aunt made it and have loved it ever since. She would add bite-sized, seasoned, baked potatoes to it as well so maybe that was the Irish touch. Awesome comfort food!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. All my grandparents were Slovak. My mom, Agnes Gromofsky Kachurek, made halusky by first sauteing the onions in butter. When the medium noodles were cooked and drained, the butter and onions were added and at least half of a large container of cottage cheese was stirred in, salt and pepper to taste. I think she was afraid that if she prepared it with cabbage, her six kids of widely different ages wouldn’t eat it – even though that would have been more authentic. When she wanted a more hearty meal, she’d dice up cooked potatoes, and fold those into the finished halusky as well. I still make this on occasion, especially during Lent as a side dish with fish.


  4. Dad Hal Dunlap used to scramble eggs in the haluski and eat it for breakfast, yes, and tons of butter and pepper in our mom’s Slovakian household.. (Dubaj family from Campbell and the South Side)

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  5. I was primarily raised by paternal grandparents who were neither Eastern European or Irish at all. However, they were working-class Mahoning Valley and haluski was a staple in our cuisine. They made theirs with crumbled bacon and tons of REAL butter. I still make it today!

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  6. You’ll appreciate this one, very early in the marriage my wife (Irish,Scottish, German roots from Liberty Twnshp) wanted to surprise me with a good supper. She knew I enjoyed Haluski, and she knew it was simple as you mentioned ; onions, butter, cabbage, egg noodles, S&P to taste.
    So I get home & she very proudly serves it up. I take a couple bites of the tasty, but crunch mixture and asked, “What’s this?”
    “Haluski” comes the reply.
    “Uh, but Louie, the noodles are supposed to be boiled before adding to the cabbage & onions.”
    But it gets better, the flavor reminded me of the cheep egg rolls you get at some places (you know, all cabbage & wrapper) So we played with it, swapped the butter for peanut oil, adding Chinese veggies, swapping head cabbage for Bok Choy, adding little shrimp, or diced leftover pork or diced leftover chicken, add a little soy, and /or other Chinese seasonings,
    Ta Dah! Egg rolls without needing a deep fryer, or wrappers or other custom stuff that back then you could only get at a Chinese grocery.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown — Top Ten of 2016 | Bob on Books

  8. Way back my very new and non- hunky wife decided to surprise me. So for supper there was a mix of onions, cabbage, butter, salt, pepper, and crunchy uncooked noodles. Oops! She didn’t know the noodles needed cooked. It actually wasn’t that bad.
    We tweaked her recepie, swapping bok choy for the cabbage and adding Chinese veg and either shrimp or leftover beef/pork/chicken to it. Quick easy Chinese egg rolls without rolling or deep frying. Excellent, but couldn’t get my dad to eat it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I grew up in the Lansingville area of Youngstown. Florida Ave. My mom made this all the time. Sometimes with the noodles or spatzele dumplings she would make. Oooooh so good.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. There is a Polish dish call Lazanki that sounds amazingly similar to this so-called Haluski concoction. Interesting story on how it came about . . . Italian princess marries Polish prince; voila, macaroni arrives into the Carpathian region of Europe.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. We would make it and you had to use potatoes. Most places use egg noodles, but that is not the halušky we made back home or when we came to the US. The most important thing was the cheese. Bryndzové sheep cheese was what we always used to make halušky, but most times I would substitute Brick Cheese here. Like most things that are very good, a lot of hard work and good ingredients are necessary.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown — Seven Years of Food Posts | Bob on Books

  13. Thank you for sharing this! My dad used to make it when I was a kid. He died when I was 10 and many of his “hunky” recipes died with him. My mom didn’t make his recipes after his death. I never knew exactly what it was called so it was impossible to look up a recipe. I’ve tried to recreate it but had no idea it had cabbage – something you probably wouldn’t share with kids if you still wanted them to eat it! Thanks again.


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