Tiffin Project

Cabbage Rolls and Coffee

by Keith Talent on February 19, 2010

Mmm mmm good.

Due to Ukrainian heritage (yes we self identify as Ukrainians, I’m not certain DNA testing would prove much outside of “random eastern European decent”, there hasn’t been anyone born there in five generations at least.) We decided to check out Ukrainian House.

Situated in a church recreation centre, there aren’t any zip lines or laser light shows here, there’s food and booze. Maybe a little music and t-shirts for sale. It’s actually kinda charming in its lack of pretense and simplicity.

Dinner was the predictable amalgam of starches and animal fats arranged artfully like Daniel Boulud plated it himself. Actually I lie it was thrown into random piles on Royal Chinette. You know at some point a Ukrainian asked “how can we make this dough more starchy, the Greeks are winning the arms race of multiple starches on a single plate? I know, we’ll put mashed potatoes inside the dough.” So you had your pierogies (yet another piece of evidence we’re only pretending to be Ukrainian, as my family has always called them pedahay or pedaha, we’re seemingly the only people on earth to do so.) Garlic coil sausage, cabbage rolls with meat, which to my mind and experience is just putting on airs. We’re so rich in Canada we can have more than a quarter pound of ground beef in a family sized tray of cabbage rolls. That would have never happened in my family.  A quick cured cabbage that was really excellent. Garnishes of sour cream (duh) and something I’d never had before; A superb relish of grated beets and horseradish, further evidence to my theory we’re imposters.

Fun bonus fact; The pierogi came to eastern Europe via trade with China, in return Eastern Europe shared their love of flammable colour blocked nylon tracks suits. Almost all of the previous sentence is true!

Dessert was a cake consisting of hazelnut butter cream layering meringues. Not my idea of Ukrainian dessert, which I assume is traditionally more vodka. It was really good regardless. Ukrainian House is a nice low key alternative to the glitz and flash that’s taken over the city, a pleasant alternative to the higher profile national showcases.

And check out my maturity, a whole post about the Ukraine, and not a single reference to hottie Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko or her extraordinarily brave hairstyle choices.


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Q February 19, 2010 at 7:09 pm

That is the best thing I have seen all Olympics. Thank-you mr. Talent.

canucklehead February 20, 2010 at 2:26 am

Awesome! Good to hear that Ukranian house turned out so well. That groaning plate of food looks like pure homemade delicousness. I am glad to see you entertained the diners with your caviar spoons guitar tapping.

Keith Talent February 20, 2010 at 9:26 am

Doug Saunders reveals in todays Globe that Tymoshenko has a pet tiger named Tigrulya. This has nothing to do with anything outside of being the most awesome piece of trivia ever. I cannot wait for the next pub quiz night where one of the questions is what do Siegfried and Roy and Tymoshenko have in common besides ridiculous blond wigs?

Frederick March 1, 2010 at 12:27 am

Hey Keith, I am one of the fat ladies you shot a photo of, in case you can send me a copy I would appreciate it! Thanks,

Melissa December 21, 2011 at 10:58 am

I stumbled upon this site doing a recipe search. My family is Carpatho Russian (from the Austria-Hungry / Ukraine area). They settled in Northeastern Pennsylvania, USA along with many other immigrants from that area. I just had to comment because we always call pierogies pedaha too! So you’re not the only ones.

Anna October 14, 2013 at 8:32 am

I was searching for the actual word “pedaha” that we use for pierogies. My family is Rusyn from current day SE Poland near Radoszyce and settled in SW Pennsylvania.

Elizabeth D. July 5, 2015 at 6:49 am

My family always used the word “pedahey” but I’d never seen it written. I am only Ukrainian on my Dad’s side and he was born here in Canada so I know very little of my Ukrainian heritage. His father came from Kolodripka, near the Carpathian Mountains and I can’t recall where my grandmother was from. On my grandfather’s papers coming into Canada he ethnically identified himself as “Ruthenian”.

I was very curious about this word and if it was a regional dialect. I had no idea how to spell it so this was very useful as at least now I know how to write it. Nice to know there are others who use this word as it is tricky to find anything on it online other than that it is a synonym for pierogie.

Elizabeth D. July 5, 2015 at 6:54 am

Not sure if you’re still interested in this, but I just found the following:

“Although called varenyky in standard Ukrainian, speakers of the Canadian Ukrainian or Rusyn dialect refer to them as pyrohy, which can be misheard pedaheh or pudaheh by Anglophones unaccustomed to the rolled-r sound, or alveolar flap. This is due to the history of Ukrainian or Rusyn (Ruthenian) immigration to Canada, which came predominantly from the former Austro-Hungarian Empire.”


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