Calgary Herald from Calgary, Alberta, Canada on February 20, 2011 · 50
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Calgary Herald from Calgary, Alberta, Canada · 50

Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Issue Date:
Sunday, February 20, 2011
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Breaking news at mix I taste alberta Sunday, February 20, 2011 E5 n For more delicious recipes and stories, go to the Taste Aiberta website at taste. You'll find all the stories, recipes, photos and videos that are part of the Taste Alberta series there, as well as links to food bloggers more resources about the food grown and produced here. Join the conversation by adding your comments, or follow TasteAlbertaS on Twitter. Courtesy. Heritage Frozen Foods Ltd. Whole wheat perogies are used to create this new twist on a traditional Reuben sandwich. DOUGHY DELIGHTS SUCCESS OF CHEEMO PEROGIES BILLOWS BEYOND ALBERTA. MARI SASANO FOR THE EDMONTON JOURNAL In a sprawling plant in northwest Edmonton, 36,000 waxy white potatoes await their destiny: to fill one of the millions of Cheemo perogies made each day at Heritage Frozen Foods. Cheemo perogies are a staple in Alberta freezers, so ubiquitous that "people forget that we're from Edmonton," says president and CEO Joe Makowecki But the doughy dumplings, stars of Ukrainian cuisine, are now on the menu in homes across Canada and the United States: Cheemo ships a half-billion perogies a year in North America. "People say, "Well of course we're successful; there are a lot of Eastern Europeans living in Alberta," Makowecki says. "But I know there aren't a lot in Nor th Carolina, or on Vancouver Island. When I look at our sales out there, we sell as many perogies as we do in Alberta." Joe's father Walter, the eldest son of Ukrainian emigrants to the city, founded Cheemo in 1972. It's one of only three frozen pcrogy producers in North America, and Cheemo's come closest to homemade, Makowecki says. "We can make a very soft dough," he explains. "It's not pasta dough. (Other commercial pcrogy producers) try to modify pasta-making machines or pot-stickcr-making machines. ... But that's not what perogies taste like; they're chewy and gross and you have to overcook them to make them soft." The secret is a perogy-rolling machine Walter invented and patented It allows the plant to use flour that produces stretchy, soft dough in a continuous tube that can be rolled out into dumplings by the thousands. Easy 0rr U;p Illicit Sampler Smp!v Itiliiii Miili the Grin Soup Ut A Cheemo president and CEO Joe To meet demand, the plant runs 24 hours a day, apart from maintenance checks on the weekends. It takes about 45 minutes to produce a frozen per-ogy from start to finish. As many as three million are made each day. Inside the approximately 80,000-square-foot factory, the smells of boiling potatoes and cheese are reminiscent of a baba's kitchen. But the scale is jaw-dropping: 270-kilogram batches of dough spill out of the machine like huge, fluffy pillows. They're portioned, stuffed with filling and cut into pieces that zip away on conveyor belts to be steam -cooked, frozen 1 2 - 1 p nv 6 - 7:30 p m. 6 - S-50 p.m 12-1 p nv 6 - ?.30 f m M4n.i1 4 Mrth 5 MrUi9& 10 Marth 1 1 T . 1 i V ' V I Rick MacWitam, Edrrtonton Jotjrnal Makowecki in the production area at the plant in northwest Edmonton. and packaged. Albcrta-grown flour, milled in Lethbridge, sits in two silos, each one storey high. The potatoes are grown by local farmers and the canola oil is from southern Alberta. Buying local helps Cheemo save on shipping costs, but it's also part of the company's philosophy to support Alberta growers. Those kinds of values are at the root of the Makowecki family business. The company was founded on the principle that the average busy family of tour ought to be able to enjoy, for less than 15. a quick, convenient meal that is also delicious and healthy. v v. $15 SimpiySoup Man.), i: 6 - h 'v p.m. , $55 $h5 Knife Skill n SkiHm Mireh I? 12 -Ip m. S15 WtnamcM Samplrt MarJjIS t . !0 p m. $f5 SI 5 Simply Virtiume Manh if ti - W p.m. JSS $5 , , Ciim in Hurry Mnfe 13 12-Ip.M. ; $15 hi h !ivf onirst m f 3 i , ' '-- . A 8 "There was a skepticism," says Makowecki But store demonstrations and taste tests at exhibitions and rodeos turned the tide. "My dad handed out free meals to people at Klondike Days like they were going out of style. But once we got them into someone's mouth, they could see it was good. It's amazing the conversion as soon as people tried it, and the sales showed that." The company name isn't a Ukrainian word, but an Inuktirut greeting meaning, "we are friendly." Makowecki says his father chose it to show his love for Canada and the muhiculruralisra that em t ckr.Aa . not .m Pcm w&vxc. maMaSmnAaJimjam braced his family. "(Walter) was Captain Canada. His first language was Ukrainian, but he was born here and he was passionate about the prairies and Western Canada and Alberta." Dumplings have cross-cultural appeal Makowecki says. "If you think about every ethnic group, we're all peasants. That's how most of us arrived in Edmonton. And almost every ethnic group has a dumpling, and hat you put in there is what you have around, in your garden. It s pretty functional. There's no mystery to it. You think of err panadas, Japanese gyoza. pot stickers. V l j Perogy Reuben Sandwich The Cheemo website,, has some good perogy recipe ideas, and a number of recipe videos starring veteran Edmonton actor and street performer, Linda Karenko, and her brother. Cheemo chef Marvin Karenko, This recipe is a new tw ist on a Reuben. 5 Cheemo perogies 13 cup (75 ml) Sauerkraut, loose'y packed 18 lb (85 g) corned beef (a few slices) 1 large slice Swiss cheese Brown Cheemo perogies (approximately 3-4 minutes i per side). Heat sauerkraut and corned beef. Arrange the perogies on a pi ate and top them with sauerkraut aid corned beef. Cut the Swiss cheese into strips and a'range on top. f ace under a broiier or in a microwave to n-wit the cheese. Garnish with a cat a-vi serve. Serves L ravioli It's what you have, and you have to survive. I think that's why I think perogies arc so successful for us; every one can reiate to that" M; s5A0 is i-"L'-S SST;C C V. 0 Cw"v- infon his c T"Tn f M!SS,3, C V K VO 8S T, MAtSslv3 C ATCO BLUE FLAME v . pert sJt 1, tfitr acry&jy life' r

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