The obituary, which ran in the local Fairfield County, Conn., newspapers, read as follows: "Martha R. Kostyra, age 93, of Weston, formerly of Nutley, N.J., devoted wife of the late Edward Kostyra, passed away peacefully while surrounded by her family in Norwalk Hospital on Nov. 16, 2007."

A loss like this is always hard, and each of Mother's six children will learn to cope in a different way. I will miss our weekly visits and several-times-a-week phone calls, and I will miss the thoughtful cards Mother sent every holiday and birthday, without fail. I'll miss the cotton-flannel nightgowns she sewed for me almost every year — nightgowns that were long enough to wrap my feet in while I slept.

She was the historian of the Kostyra clan, keeping impeccable records of our lives together, from the moment she met our father at a summer school course in upstate New York through the birth of her great-grandchild. When I asked Mother to share a recipe for one of my favorite Polish foods — pierogi or stuffed cabbage — or a family favorite, such as roast pork or lemon meringue pie, she systematically created a recipe that was perfectly edited and ready for publication.

Trained as a teacher, Mother contributed to more than 40 segments of my television programs. She was always tickled when a stranger approached her to discuss something she had done on television.

The outpouring of sympathy at my mother's funeral was astonishing. Every seat was filled, and the service was heartfelt and lovely. One grandson, Christopher Herbert, sang; other grandchildren spoke of fond memories, of Mother's generosity of spirit.

A wonderful eulogy by my nephew, Morgan Evans, recalled moments together in the kitchen when she was making pierogi. In her memory, I'd like to share her recipe for this traditional Polish dish.

A selection of Mother's favorite recipes is available at

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Makes about 60

Pierogi were traditionally served as a meatless dish during Lent, but evolved into a popular side dish. Pierogi bob to the surface of the cooking water when they're done.

1 large egg

2 tablespoons sour cream

1 cup milk

1 cup water

4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

5 pounds (about 10 medium) baking potatoes, peeled and quartered

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

2 ounces cheddar cheese (about 1/2 cup), grated

4 ounces cream cheese

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons cornmeal

1. Make the dough: In a medium bowl, whisk egg. Add sour cream, and whisk until smooth. Add milk and 1 cup water, and whisk until combined. Slowly add about 3 cups flour, and stir with a wooden spoon to combine.

2. Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and work in about 1 cup flour as you knead. Use a plastic scraper to lift dough as it will stick to the counter before flour is worked in. Continue kneading for 8 minutes to 10 minutes, working in another 1/2 cup flour. The dough should be elastic in texture and no longer sticky. Be careful not to add too much flour, as this will toughen dough. Place dough in a lightly floured bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let rest while you prepare filling.

3. Make the filling: Place potatoes in a large pot, and cover with cold water. Add salt. Place over high heat, and bring to a boil. Cook until fork-tender. Drain and mash with a potato masher. Add 4 tablespoons melted butter and the cheeses, and continue to mash until well incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place a large pot of salted water over high heat, and bring to a boil. Lay a clean linen towel on your counter, and evenly distribute cornmeal on it to prevent sticking.

4. On a floured surface, roll out dough to about 1/8 inch thick. Using a glass or cookie cutter measuring 2 1/2 inches in diameter, cut out as many circles as possible. Gather dough scraps, roll them out again, and continue cutting. Form filling into 1 1/2-inch balls, and place a ball in the center of each dough circle. Holding a circle in your hand, fold dough over filling, and pinch the edges, forming a well-sealed crescent. Transfer to linen towel. Continue this process until all dough circles are filled.

5. Place pierogi in boiling water in batches. They will sink to the bottom of the pot and then rise to the top. Once they rise, let them cook for about a minute more. Meanwhile, drizzle platter with remaining 8 tablespoons melted butter. Remove pierogi from pot, and transfer to platter to prevent sticking. Serve immediately.