Virginia Raseta Gulacy was born in Coitsville, a small town outside of Youngstown, Ohio in 1928. Her parents were immigrants from Yugoslavia and her father worked in a steel mill. When Virginia was seventeen she started working in a women’s clothing store and modeled hats on the side. Shortly after she started working, she met her future husband (who was Hungarian) who worked at a men’s clothing store nearby. They married when she was twenty and Virginia was a devoted homemaker and mother.
Virginia learned how to cook from both her mother and mother-in-law, which is why her dishes are part Yugoslavian and part Hungarian. She watched everything her “mothers” made, from homemade strudel to doughnuts every Sunday morning. When her oldest child was fourteen years old, Virginia returned to work at a drug store as a pharmacist assistant. Throughout her career she always made sure the family had dinner together before she’d leave for work in the evenings.
Virginia, now in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, is a beautiful woman who loves people and was always the life of the party. She is outgoing and vivacious and loved to host family gatherings with her brothers, relatives and friends. Her children Janet and Paul (a comic book artist who lives here in Portland) gave us her recipes. They and Virginia’s granddaughter, Paige, are thrilled to honor her this month, excited to share love her food, and can’t wait to share it with you.
cabbage rolls filled with ground beef & pork, sautéed onions & a touch of rice, braised for hours with tomato sauce, served with smashed red potatoes
slow-cooked chicken with onions, peppers, paprika & sour cream, served with spaetzle (tiny dumplings) & seasonal vegetables
“Painted Hills” Beef Goulash
slow-cooked beef stewed with onions, peppers, tomatoes, paprika & potatoes
sweet yeast coffee cake with poppy seed filling, topped with vanilla icing