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Steamed Korean dumplings Mandu with chicken meat and vegetables

Posted in Recipes, on 26 April 2019, by , 0 Comments

A Traditional Food for the World

Here at Grandma’s Perogies, we don’t claim to be making anything avant-garde. Instead, we are using the tried and tested recipes of our ancestors. In doing so, we’ve come to realize that the basic formula for perogies has been used for centuries in many corners of the world.

Travel to China, and you might see something similar! Legend tell us that Chinese jiaozi (dumplings) travelled across Central Asia to become pelmeni in Russia, perogies in Poland, and ajdovi krapi in Slovenia. Some even say that it was Marco Polo himself who brought this recipe over to the West along the Silk Road.

Using unleavened dough to wrap a cornucopia of different ingredients is such a simple idea.  But, it’s this simplicity and variety that has allowed it to be adapted to so many different types of lifestyles and cuisines. For example, the Siberians on the taiga traditionally carry frozen pelmeni in sacks on their hunting trips. All they need is a pot of boiling water, and a nutritious dinner is ready!

During the era of the Silk Road, ideas and goods flowed across the roads of the Far East and Central Asia into Europe. It was a great time for the exchange between cultures. So, it’s no surprise that Chinese jiaozi made is as far as the remote villages of Siberia. Records from this time period are limited, but Siberia claims to be the birth land for the Russian pelmeni dumpling. Traditionally, the pelmeni are stuffed with meat, including lamb, venison, moose, or even horse. However, as it spread West, the ingredients were adapted to the local palates. Russian pelmeni today are generally filled with onions, pork, mushrooms, potatoes, cheese or beef.

The Journey to Fame

e did this international story of perogies begin? If the legend of Chinese origin is true, then we need to travel back 2000 years to the Eastern Han dynasty of China. The story goes that Zhang Zhongjing, a traditional healer of the time, was going home one winter day when he came upon some impoverished townspeople. They had frostbite, and were too poor to afford proper winter clothing. Zhongjing helped them by creating a thick stew using lamb, black pepper and herbs. He stuffed this inside some dough, and boiled the dumplings. He gave them this nutritious and wholesome food, and it helped them survive through the harsh winter.

Over the proceeding centuries, dumplings have been adapted by communities all across the country. Jiaozi are filled with meat and vegetables, such as pork, fish, shrimp, napa cabbage, leeks, carrots, and mushrooms. Today in China, during New Year’s celebrations jiaozi are one of the most commonly eaten dishes. They can then be boiled, steamed, or fried. When served, they are often accompanied with sesame oil dip and black vinegar. This combination helps bring an additional savouriness to the dumplings. China, like most countries worldwide, has a rich tradition of making, innovating, and enjoying their dumplings.

A Worldwide Favourite

The auspicious beginning for dumplings, was just the start of its journey worldwide. Dumplings have spread across the European continent, and to the New World. Each generation and culture has modernized dumplings, while keeping them the same at heart.

Today, perogies and pelmeni in North America are just as delicious, convenient, and nutritious as ever. In fact, at Grandma’s Perogies, we’ve gone the Siberian way! Our line of frozen pelmeni is so simple to make. All you need is a pot of boiling water, 5 minutes, and a hungry stomach.

 

 

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Polish Pierogi Plate

Posted in Recipes, on 18 December 2018, by , 0 Comments

A Brief History of Perogies in the US

While the origin of perogies is debated, in America, the food has a strong connection to Polish tradition and immigrants. Settling in the northeast and Midwest, immigrants from Poland started arriving in the United States in the 1900s, with a big wave of immigrants coming around the time of the Second World War. Originally, perogies were eaten at home by Polish families, but soon they were being consumed by locals with their popularity being driven by charity fundraisers in the 1940s. By the 1960s perogies were in supermarkets’ frozen food section across the US and Canada. Today, the culinary traditions Polish immigrants brought with them remain, but perogies have also evolved in unique ways suited to American tastes.

Polish Origins and Methods of Preparation

Today, perogies are one of the national foods of Poland. Some stories claim perogies were brought there in the 13th century and for a long time were considered food for the peasants. However, by 1700’s it was clearly a staple beloved by all echelons of society. There is even a saying – “St. Hyacinth and his pierogies!”, the Polish equivalent to “Holy smokes!”.

There are many local variants of perogies, known by different names throughout Eastern and Central Europe. They are commonly filled with potatoes, cabbage, meat, cheese and sweet fruits. Serving styles also vary, with favorite garnishes and dips being sour cream, fried onions, butter and fried bacon and mushrooms. Perogies with sweet cheese or fruit fillings can likewise be served with butter, sour cream, sugar, jam and honey.

Perogies are made from unleavened dough derived from wheat, sometimes using mashed potatoes and buckwheat. Combined with water and, optionally, an egg, the dough is rolled flat, and circles are shaped by pressing down with a cup. Fillings are added onto them, and the dough is then folded over and sealed to create half circle pockets which are then boiled or fried.

Traditions in Poland and the US

In Poland, perogies are served as an entrée and have a special place on celebration and holiday tables. With so many different varieties, it’s no wonder each occasion has its own type of perogie. How else can you make sure you try them all in a year? Christmas is a particularly important time for perogie consumption, with cabbage, sauerkraut and mushrooms being the fillings of choice. This is due to the religious observance of fast during Christmas Eve, which then grew into its own tradition which continues today. Other occasions featuring perogies on their menu include Easter, weddings, mournings, wakes and during the January carolling season. Part of their appeal lies in the community element during preparation. Traditionally, the whole family would come together for a day of making hundreds of perogies for a given special occasion, making them a food associated with celebration, good times and cherished family moments. Many Polish families preserve these traditions today, bonding over perogie making and, just as importantly, perogie eating.

In the United States, perogies have integrated into the diets of Americans with widespread popularity and new varieties with non-traditional ingredients. Jalapeño, chicken, spinach and cheddar cheese are all North American contributions to the perogie tradition. In the US, they are enjoyed during festivals, sports events and can be frequently found in restaurant menus across the country. In gaining recognition in the North American food scene, perogies have reinvented themselves, but one thing holds true – they are food for all, bringing people together for any occasion and catering to any taste!

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Exciting Launch of Our New Line: Grandmas Food

Posted in News, on 17 May 2018, by , 0 Comments

We have an exciting announcement to make! As you might know, in Canada we started off as Grandma’s Perogies, providing a variety of frozen perogies and dumplings in local supermarkets and grocers. This year, we are expanding by introducing a line of products we already had available in the US. We want to say a big thank you to our loyal customers who love our products.  It is because of your continued support that we have had such success abroad and are now able to bring new products to Canada!

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Grandmas Food new products announce

Posted in News, on 17 March 2017, by , 0 Comments

Grandma’s Perogies started with a handful of Old World recipes that have been passed down, generation-to-generation. This year, we were pleased to introduce a new addition to our family: Grandma’s Foods. We took our same passion for creating hearty, homecooked perogies and pelmeni, and created a signature line of kebabs, cutlets and knishes. Find Grandma’s Foods in the freezer section of your local grocer.

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Traditional Sweet Perogies

Posted in Holidays, on 7 March 2016, by , 0 Comments

Learn More About This Classic Eastern European Holiday

As the snow beings to thaw and we begin to experience the first signs of spring, many families across Ukraine, Russia, Eastern Europe and abroad are preparing to celebrate the traditional festival of Maslyana–touted as the most joyous time of year for many Slavic peoples. They’ll don ceremonial garments, sing and dance to folk songs, and enjoy a bountiful banquet of traditional, Old Worlddelicacies.

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Christmas Perogies

Posted in Holidays, on 23 December 2015, by , 0 Comments

If you’re tired of turkey, the typical go-to choice for traditional Christmas dinners, consider offering perogies and pelmeni at your next holiday meal. These tasty little dumplings are the ultimate comfort food, and best of all, are completely customizable to go with whatever you’re serving. There are plenty of recipes for perogies that will complement your menu and please even the pickiest eaters at the table.

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