AT THE TABLE WITH: Judy Serdy Gelinas

Judy Serdy Gelinas
Judy Serdy Gelinas

Judy Serdy Gelinas grew up on a farm in close-knit Hungarian family. She was the youngest of four Serdy children — three boys then Judy who must have been the family princess.

Her parents, John and Julia Serdy, farmed 57 acres in Schuylkill Township. John was an electrician at the Valley Forge Army Hospital. Julia was the stereotypical stay-at-home mom of the ’40s and ’50s, cooking three meals a day, sewing, canning produce from their garden — everything necessary to make her home and family comfortable.

After Judy graduated from high school, she went to Ursinus College where she graduated with a degree in biology.

In 1975, after she married, she moved to Princeton, N.J., and she continued her career in pharmaceutical research and testing.


Judy returned to Phoenixville 30 years later in 2005, at which time she went to work for St. Christopher’s Hospital in Philadelphia for 11 years before retiring. Along the way, she added to her skills and became a dental hygienist, working in public health for unserved children.

Judy likes to travel and has made three trips to Hungary. In 2008, she took her only child, Julianna. Together, they discovered their roots and reaffirmed their ethnic background.

The name “Julianna” is an ongoing name for the family spanning four generations, starting with her grandmother, Geczy, to her mother to Judy (shorter version) and to her daughter.

Judy and I talked about our common Hungarian heritage. Ethnic families seem to bond together into a community where everyone knows everyone. Our grandparents had a close relationship with each other.

As Judy is younger then me, we really did not get to know each until recently. Judy heads the Kitchen Club that meets at the Parkside United Church of Christ. This group cooks and eats together the food that is prepared once a month.

Judy likes to take cruises — eight in fact with three more planned. On a cruise in 2011, she and Randy Hove met. They clicked and were married in June 2017. Today, Judy and Randy live on the original Serdy farm that has been pared down to 27 acres. They live in what they call the “new farmhouse,” which was built in 1968. The abandoned old farmhouse remains on the original property. Also, living on the property is Judy’s oldest brother, Jack, and his wife, Jerrie.

Along with cruises, Judy has been blessed with her mother’s domestic abilities. She loves to cook and tends the vegetable garden. She shares with us a real favorite of hers. It is one that every member of the family knows how to cook.


Potato dumplings with cottage cheese and bacon

3 medium potatoes finely grated

½ cup water

2 tsp. salt

2¼ cups all-purpose flour

1½ cups cottage cheese

½ lb. bacon, diced

2 tbsp. butter

Fry bacon until crispy. Drain fat, reserving 2 tablespoons. Mix potatoes, water, salt and flour. It should be stiff but not dry. Add water or flour as needed. These dumplings when made are what Judy calls “toothsome” — not tender or fluffy like gnocchi. Drop dough by teaspoon into boiling water. Drain when dumplings rise to the top. Mix drained dumplings with reserved bacon fat, butter, diced bacon and cottage cheese. Heat mixture until cottage cheese is warm and starting to coat the mixture. Season with salt to taste.

Serves 4.

Note: Broad egg noodles, cooked according to package instructions, may be substituted for the dumpling.

Hint: A food processor works well to chop quartered potatoes to a fine consistency, and then add the water, salt and flour to make the dough.


Let Bette hear from you: Search YouTube for “Look Who’s Cooking with Bette Banjack,” as well (search bar: Banjack) for this column. Find Bette on Facebook by searching “Bette Banjack’s Downtown Kitchen.” Her book, “2 Cups of Yesterday,” is available at Gateway Pharmacy or by contacting her.!