Growing up, I was very familiar with perogies. My next door neighbour in Winnipeg was an kind, elderly woman of Ukrainian descent, and she would regularly bring over Safeway bags full of homemade perogies. The fillings of choice in these yummy, starchy dumplings were usually (if I remember correctly) potato, cheese and cottage cheese.
When I moved to Alberta, Cheemo perogies from the grocery store filled the perogy void in my life. I liked the typical flavours, but was dazzled by the oddball pizza perogy, a traditional perogy shell filled with potato, tomato, cheese and other pizza ingredients.
Was it my first introduction to fusion cuisine? Possibly. And I liked it.
And now, after an apparent absence from grocery stores, Cheemo has brought back the pizza perogy, or pizzarogy, if you will. Saints be praised!
The Pitch: “Real Potato. Real Cheese.” Also: “Zero Trans Fat, Low Cholesterol, Tastes Like Homemade.” Honestly, with a name like “pizzarogy,” these things sell themselves.
The Look: Old school Cheemo bag, with a nice big photo of the prepared perogies. The frozen perogies look like frozen perogies: pale and puffy, shaped like a half moon. Cooked, they brown up nicely on the outside, and the filling is a vivid burnt-orange hue.
The Preparation: Everyone has their own way to make perogies. Some folks zap them in the microwave, others boil them, and others pan fry them from frozen. Me? A combination: I zap them to thaw the perogies a bit, then I pan fry them with butter and a chopped white onion. You know they’re done once they acquire some nicely browned patches from pan contact, and the onions are well cooked.
The Taste: Like I remember it. Mashed potato with tomato sauce, mozza, onion and Italian seasoning. The texture is mushy, but the flavour is great. It’s an unconventional perogy flavour, but it’s become an Alberta classic. I served them with some sour cream (full fat!) and real bacon bits. There’s nothing healthy about this meal, but it’s worth the extra steps I’ll have to put on my pedometer.
RATINGS AND DETAILS
Cost: $3.99 for a 907-gram bag at Calgary Co-op.
Value for cash money: Good.
Availability: Not all that easy to find. Other flavours are more widely available.
Nutrition?: Per 120 grams (4 perogies): 240 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 320 mg of sodium, 2 grams of fibre, 8 grams of protein. Also, 15% daily value of both iron and vitamin C. Some calcium and vitamin A, too.
The verdict: Pretty nifty. Kids should love it. A strange hybrid food that reminds me of growing up in Alberta.