At Home with Canadian Food

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Seriously, what is Canadian food? Canada is a huge country with an incredibly diverse population.  Our First Peoples relied on the regional plants and animals long, long before other people arrived.  Their diets were as varied as the regions they lived in.  People from every part of the world have since added their ingredients, flavours, and traditions to the mix.

As Canadians, we each have our own idea of comfort food, flavoured by family traditions, where we were raised, and where we’ve travelled.

Karen is a relative newcomer to the prairies (she’s only lived here for 29 years, after all).  Even so, she hasn’t escaped the influence of one of our major cultural groups: Ukrainians. Enter one of our comfort foods: the Pyryshky.

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For over 25 years, Karen has been making pyryshky or pyrizhky: light, flaky buns filled with cheese and sauerkraut.

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The recipe card also lists a meat filling, and there are other versions including potato, cabbage, & even fruit.  Polish and Russian versions of the stuffed bun add to the diversity, with their own twists.

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Don’t hand-written recipes add to the nostalgia of our favourite recipes?  They bring to mind the mom, sister, or friend who shared them with us. This is, perhaps, the epitome, of comfort food for me; food with the memory of shared meals and experiences.

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The recipe is written on a postcard featuring another Ukrainian classic, Holubtsi (holopchi or cabbage rolls). Growing up in small prairie towns, you’d be hard pressed to attend a wedding or pot luck dinner that didn’t include holopchi (cabbage rolls) and perogies (dumplings).

In the fall and winter, countless variations of borscht (ruby red beet soup) grace many Canadian tables. Mine is vegetarian, but there are people who couldn’t imagine borscht without bacon, beef, or keilbasa (garlic sausage).  Any way you do it, don’t forget the fresh dill weed!

For supper tonight, we’ll be making our version of poutine, that French Canadian favourite of french fries, cheese curds, and gravy.  Tomorrow, I’ll whip up something inspired by Asian flavours.  That’s Canadian food.

Oh, yeah!  This traditional Ukrainian recipe for pyryshky? It was shared by a woman of Icelandic decent.  That’s Canadian food on the prairies for you!


I’ve sort of fallen off my schedule of posting this tasty little feature on a weekly basis. The transition from winter travels to home life threw me for a loop, but I think I’m back on track now. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

The original blogging challenge of keeping this feature limited to 300 words and 2 pictures has ended, so I’m feeling free to expand a bit.  I’ll still try to keep the word count down, but I may just play fast and loose with the picture count.  Woo hoo!  I’m a wild child!

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25 thoughts on “At Home with Canadian Food

  1. Awesome. This is so Canadian. Food brings back great memories for sure. This reminded me of making perogies and cabbage rolls with Darren’s mom and all those Sunday sinners, whoops, dinners. I still have her recipe cards. I’m loving reading your blog.

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  2. I have just found a recipe online for pyryshky. They look very interesting. I had poutine in Quebec when I visited – not something you could eat frequently without piling on the pounds unless you combine it with a really cold climate! I actually really liked it so it’s probably just as well that I don’t have a local source.

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  3. Val, thanks for popping in! I made cabbage rolls with my mom and nanna a million years ago. Karen actually made perogies when we were in England, before we finally found the polish grocery store that sold them.

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  4. Oh, the real deal poutine is a heart attack on a plate, for sure! We make ours with oven baked fries, a veggie gravy, and my own nut-based cheese. Not quite the real thing, but my doctor doesn’t need to make a house call after supper, either!

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  5. I have never had pryshky, being an E. Tennessean. I thought I saw cheese in the picture and thought “Oh. That looks good.” But then I read that it had sauerkraut in it too. I like sauerkraut, but can’t imagine how it tastes with cheese. I need to try it to see.
    I agree that handwritten recipes bring back so many memories of the one who shared it. Makes the food that much more tasty and comforting.

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  6. Cheese and Sauerkraut?! I haven’t tried this one. I’ve tried pasta with sauerkraut once which wasn’t bad. I might try this next winter – because in summer it definitely is BBQ with Würstl und Kraut (sausages and sauerkraut) 😉

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  7. Now that’s something I didn’t know about Canada (there’s lots more I don’t know)–that you had a large Ukrainian heritage, along with the French, English and other mixes. Any chance you’d publish that recipe so we can all try it? I enlarged the image with CTRL +, but it’s still a little difficult for these old eyes to make out the instructions. I’d love to try my hand at those. They look fabulous! And I’m glad you’re back.

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  8. I’ll have to get organized to post the recipe, Kathryn. Right now, the garden dirt under my nails is seriously slowing down my blogging!

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  9. Karen even played with the recipe a bit and used her homemade non-dairy sour cream, but didn’t go so far as to try to sub out the eggs. For some of them, she used my nut-based cheez. We are always pushing a little closer to totally plant based foods.

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  10. Ha! Interesting! After ten years I’ve got Sheila happily tucking into vegetarian food as that’s all I’ve ever cooked. But any mention of vegan and she threatens to go back to bacon . 🍽 😉

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  11. Neither Karen nor I have made a 100% commitment to eating plant-based, but we’re both moving in the right direction. The more we experiment and learn, the easier it gets.

    Eating out has it’s challenges, and sometimes I just can’t do it. I figure every little bit helps (or hurts less).

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  12. Hurting less is a good aim. No more blogging for me for a while as I’m getting white screen of death when I try to log into WordPress Dashboard. Got a couple of posts scheduled to publish over weekend . So will have to PAY someone to fix things when I get back . Ah well, off to airport soon . Kindest regards, Helen

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  13. Yum! I love sauerkraut. It’s never occurred to me to have it in a bun with cheese, but now I can. Usually I have two tablespoons each morning. It’s great for the digestion. But the cheese idea is causing to me to salivate just a bit now. The next time I’m splurging on bread, I will combine these ingredients and give it a try. I like taste too!

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  14. You are making my mouth water while reading your blog. My Mother made similar recipes from her Estonian/German background. I have lots of cookbooks that you can play with when you stay.

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  15. Marion, I’m glad you enjoyed the pist! We both love cooking and baking, so we’ll see what new culinary discoveries we vome up with at your place!

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