It must be said, and that by me (for my extensive blogging staff appears to have gotten into the sherry and is AWOL) that I am indeed making the very most that can be made of my missing gallbladder and subsequent license to eat whatever I want, whenever I want, regardless of how fatty it is. After months where bacon was an abstract concept and cheese a mere hypothetical, the luscious richness that fat brings to, say, Saint Andre Brie is a revelation.
Now, there are two ways to do this, to dive back into a diet that suddenly includes fat.
- The high-fashion route, ie lardons. As in Goop and other pretentious monstrosities such as the Pork Martini. Yes, the Pork Martini: The pork Martini serves many needs on many levels! In these pomo days, when old formulas are reborn with futile twists for our fickle, fin-de-siècle tastes, the meat cocktail stands out above wobbly, cranberry-tainted attempts at bar trendiness. When one abandons the olive garnish for that of a pork-rind wedge, the pork Martini merges the flavors of the working class with that of wealthier ones, bridging social strata. It has the humanitarian goal of bettering the nutrition of alcoholics, offering protein for those who prefer their lunches liquid: since meat digests longer, it will both inebriate and offer nutrients for longer periods! It will open new markets to pork consumption, adding American jobs to every level of the meat-industrial complex. And, finally, it looks really weird. To which one can only reply: Oh honey. Oh honey. Oh honey, shut up and get me another Bombay Sapphire 6:1 with a twist.
- The low-rent, diner route. This, my friends, is the route I have chosen (and does it surprise any of you?). The food and the company are both better, and my wallet still respects me in the morning. And in this marvelous, Bukowskian noshquest, I believe I may have found the ultimate food.
Winnipeg Style Perogies.
Although there hasn’t been a food invented that can’t be ruined by snobbery (yes, it’s been done with truffle oil; hasn’t everything?), the humble perogy is as pure a peasant food as the world contains, and if there’s one thing the peasants know, it’s that it doesn’t pay to be doctrinaire. When you have three things in the kitchen and you’re bored of them separately, you put them together and call it “Casserole” or whatever the local word is (there’s a restaurant in Portland whose best-seller is called “slop” but we do not recommend this for marketing purposes) and you just eat it.
Perogies are the perfect example of this: their infinitely adaptable, humble nature has spawned some amazing displays of loyalty, whether it’s John Candy diverting his flights to pick some up or inspiring spirited musicals.
A plateful of potato-stuffed dumplings served up with catchy tunes and a bit of humour is heating up into a favourite menu item for Ukrainian Catholics and other Catholic churches across the country.
The Perogy Supper Miracle, the hour-long musical comedy about a church fundraising supper written by Winnipeg musician and composer Danny Schur, is about to tantalize and entice audiences in Sudbury, Burlington, Ottawa, Calgary and Prince Albert in the next months…
Schur says he’s surprised and pleased that The Perogy Supper Miracle has attracted enquiries from churches all over North America since its Winnipeg premiere on Nov. 6…
“I’m pleased about The Perogy Supper Miracle because it’s a chance to do creative fundraising and creative ministry and it’s a good musical,’ says Gnutel, who portrays a priest named Father Mark experiencing a doubts and questions about his work while attempting to recruit enough volunteers to keep his parish’s perogy dinners operating.
Boston Pizza even, apparently, has a perogy pizza; that they serve this in Boston, well, colour me skeptical.
I grew up partly in Winnipeg, flying from Paris to Winterpeg at the age of 11 months (and I’m STILL not over the culture shock: Oscar Wilde got off the train and said, “SO this is Winnipeg. I can tell it’s not Paris” and every visitor since has said much the same) and fondly remember the one weekend every Fall when our Ukrainian friend Frida would come over and draft the population of the entire block, turning us into one huge perogy and cabbage roll factory, after which we would have enough to eat until the Communists came marching over the North Pole as they were surely going to do any day now. I remember eating them with everything, including ketchup, but distinctly do not remember eating them in the style known in Vancouver’s iconic Hamburger Mary’s diner as Winnipeg Style Perogies.
A lb of food! Cheese perogies topped with house made beef chili and broiled cheese with sour cream.
And here they are:
Is this authentic? I SHOULD SAY NOT!
It should be “0.45359237 kilograms of food,” duh!
But what I can tell you is this: if you’re near starvation, after nearly three solid month of fat-free dining, it is about as close as the planet comes to the perfect restorative. Sure, the serving was the size of my head, and sure, there was too much cumin, even for me, but it was, nonetheless, a plate of ecstasy.
The kind you feel dirty about afterwards, which only makes it better.