Nataliia Kudryk (Vancouver)
On the first Friday of every month there is a long lineup of hungry patrons at the Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral waiting for their delicious perogy dinners. The church’s Ukrainian Orthodox Centre offers a great selection of Ukrainian foods prepared fresh by the wonderful volunteers of their Parish. The monthly Friday Night Suppers in Vancouver have become so popular due to having been featured in local newspapers, blogs, news reports. To discover more about the history of perogy making – including its secrets and refinements – asked Holy Trinity’s Volunteer Coordinator and Trustee, Gerry Parfeniuk.
Gerry, whose idea was it to organize Ukrainian perogy dinners?
In the 1970’s the Board of Directors of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral decided to raise money on a regular bases to cover the expenses of the Church. They decided to hold a Friday Night Supper, on the first Friday of every month: which was open to the public and run by volunteers who were members, attendees, and/or friends of the church. There was a charge for the dinner, which was made up of traditional Ukrainian food: borscht, perogies, cabbage rolls, and Ukrainian sausage.
And who were the first founders of this tradition?
The tradition was started on the Canadian prairies with popular perogy dinners.
Do you remember when was the first perogy dinner and who were the first volunteers?
Older people at Holy Trinity say the first perogy dinner was in 1976. The first volunteers were church members and their families. Today we expanded the volunteers to adherents of the Orthodox faith, and friends of members and adherents.
What has changed since the first perogy dinner?
Many things changed over the years. For instance, equipment was added to assist in rolling dough. Also, the public wanted changes such as meatless cabbage rolls. Other changes were the use of butter instead of margarine, and the use of paper instead of Styrofoam.
How did the first menu look like?
The menu is very similar today to the first menu. The only significant change is in the use of meat in cabbage rolls: as they are now meatless.
What other Ukrainian dishes are included into the menu?
The menu does not vary much. We have a mini dinner at $9.00 and regular and vegetarian dinners at $13.00. For the big appetite there is a super dinner at $16.00. We also offer a borscht and desert.
Are you planning on adding some new ones?
The main menu items do not change. Deserts do vary.
How often do you organize perogy sessions today?
We organize two to three perogy sessions every month, depending on the time of year. Perogies are most popular when the weather is cool. We try to maintain a good inventory so we do not run out during a supper.
How many perogies do you make for the dinner?
We make and sell about 7,000 perogies every month.
How many customers do you usually have?
We have both dine-in and take-out customers. Dine-in will vary between 275 and 500 customers, depending on the season.
You can download Ukrainian Dinner menu here.