Cooking and Corona (Virus)

Today let’s talk about a different kind of C.O.O.K.

Yes, this acronym stands for keeping the Coronavirus Out Of the Kitchen.

We’ve all heard the saying, that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and no better time than the present to put this into action with our daily practices.

In my home and in my professional kitchen, we don’t use a bunch of ready-made cleaners and sanitizers in fact we don’t use any unless we are washing the dishes.

We use the following sanitizer that is also used worldwide for wiping down hard surfaces in the finest of kitchens everywhere, and it only takes a dab of household bleach!

1 tablespoon of bleach per 1 gallon of water will give you a 50-200 ppm sanitizing solution. This can be used to sanitize dishes, utensils, food preparation counters and tables.

Source: Sanitizer and Disinfectant – NH DHHS

By implementing standard everyday practices we can help mitigate the risk of coronavirus from spreading in your home and giving it to others – it’s more than not shaking hands and washing them frequently.

Here are 5 common reminders on how we can help each other stay healthy:

  1. Washing your hands should last between 20-40 seconds. An easy timer is to sing the alphabet;
  2. Rinsing your soap after you’ve used it;
  3. Spraying your pump dispensers, light switches and taps after touching them;
  4. Preparing your food on a cutting board rather than directly on a countertop;
  5. Keeping cupboard, microwave and fridge handle disinfected throughout the day.

Being aware of where your fruits and vegetables are coming from and who may have had contact with them while displaying them out in the grocery store for your consumption and selection are also areas to be very careful of.

Washing your fruits and vegetables has never been more important than it is today!

A best practice to exercise in our daily lives is a simple, cost-effective solution of vinegar, lemon juice & water. For this mixture, go to the following link:

You don’t have to have lots of money to make great at-home products that work!

NOTE: this solution will be more effective than running under cold water for washing fruits and vegetables. However, it will NOT disinfect. This solution will have no impact on covid-19 or any other virus.

Now, of course, we can go on and on for the importance of washing all foods and surfaces so to wrap it up let’s close with some dishwashing tips.

  1. Before washing dishes, you should always rinse them first.
  2. Always wash dishes in the hottest possible water with a good amount of soap and rinse them well under running hot water. Of course, a dishwasher is best if you have one.
  3. Do NOT dry your dishes with a cloth or on top of a soft pad. Air drying is the best way to dry your dishes without encouraging the growth of bacteria. A damp towel is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

According to Time magazine, you may be surprised to learn that the dirtiest space in a house is not the bathroom but rather our kitchens! If you are interested in the German study on this topic, here is a link you can check out

On a final note, please let the Perogie Mama of Vancouver Island leave you with this….. enjoy the necessary break from the hustle and bustle of life that this unfortunate virus has bestowed upon us. Take this time to eat out less and stay home more with family and friends.

Passing on the Tradition – Story #1925

I thought it was time to share a little story with everyone so here we go.
This is the story about the first time I ever wanted to make  perogies on my own.

In case you don’t know …. I am the youngest of eight. When we made Perogies as a family it was a huge social event. Mom and dad would both make the dough – no machine used in those days. A gigantic canning pot was used to cook the potatoes in. While the air filled with steam and smelled like warm comfort as the potatoes boiled gently a top the stove other elements of the process would begin. Dad would be chopping about a 10 pound bag of onions never complaining about how much his eyes teared up … just getting the job done! Mom would be shredding the cheese. And soon the house smelled of the mixture that to this day I use in our recipe of potato, Cheddar and onion.

The day came when I got married and I wanted to make Perogies on my own. I phone my Mom and said hey I want to make perogies  her reply was “So good for you. Make perogies!”  

I laughed and said “Mom I never made Perogies by myself.”

She replied “What are you talking about you never made perogies?!”

I continue to reason with her and say “Mom I never made them by myself I want to make them for my husband.” She replies “Bring the baby!!”

What the baby had to do with me making perogies to this day I’ll never know but I did as I was told. So off I drove to Mom’s house with baby in tow. 

Arriving at the house Mom greets me at the door and says “Hello give me the baby. “ “Hi Mom” I reply. She says so go to the kitchen and get the flour. I’m thinking to myself “Hello to you too Bella…” I open the pantry door and there inside not so tucked away is a huge green garbage bin filled with flour!

I know exactly where the bowl is to make the dough, middle top shelf. I gaze around and remember, right I’m at Mom and Dad‘s house there are no measuring cups to be had.

I yell from the pantry “Hey Mom how much flour do I put into the bowl?”

Heavy footsteps approach, “Take the baby,” she says. Grabs a plate second shelf right hand side and begins to count in Ukrainian to five while filling said plate with flour and emptying it into the bowl. Her task is complete and she says give me the baby. Of course give you the baby it’s all about the baby, I laugh to myself, thinking how am I going to figure out how many cups she put into this bowl ….remembering my Dad telling me “Garlic-crushing cup is about 1 cup, so if you ever have to measure that’s your cup to measure.”

Excellent! I think to myself, garlic crushing cup it is and I take it and start measuring into another bowl so I would have an amount that I could use when I got back home to try to replicate this recipe. Oddly enough (or probably not) The measurement was 5 cups!

Once all things were “measured“ we began making the filling. Everything I explained above was repeated with not-so-precise perfection. My Mom then wanted to teach me how to season the onions for the mixture.

As she took me into the kitchen she told me that this was her favourite part I didn’t understand until she opened up the pouring section of the pepper shaker. 

She told me to tell her “chekaty” (“Wait!” “Stop!”) As she began to pour the pepper on top of the pan lined with onions. After seeing a whole bunch drop down and my eyes are popping out I yelled “chekaty!” She laughed!!! She didn’t stop pouring that pepper until the top of those onions were black! Today that is still the measurement method I use when adding the spice to my mixture.

That was how Bella Baba Perogies learnt how to make Perogies as a young adult. I hope you’ve enjoyed storytime Number 1925, representing the year my Mother was born.

The Secret Ingredient

Ever since I was a little girl I can remember my Mom and Dad making perogies by the stockpot-full!!

The house would be filled with simple aromas from boiled potatoes and sautéed onions. The moment those smells hit your nose your stomach craved for what was to follow. 

Tender pockets filled with harvested potatoes & onions combined with good ol’ Canadian Cheddar served softly boiled with a dollop of sour cream. But of course their secret (aside from a solid dose of black pepper) was the love Mom & Dad pinched into every piece! (I’m pretty sure Love is a true pantry ingredient!)

Being the youngest of eight I had seen many family gatherings but the best ones were those in which our family grew even bigger!

Seriously …we just kept adding & adding. Yes I’m talking about weddings!  It was our family’s tradition to prepare all the food by hand for all weddings. 

It was all hands on deck! And boy did we have hands. Our typical feast consisted of: borscht (beet vegetable soup); cabbage rolls (2 types); perogies (2-3 types) meatballs with gravy; roast beef packed with garlic cloves plus a host of common veggies, and some special mixtures like pepanke (a type of mushroom with gravy) and my favourite garlic mashed beans mmmmmm.

For Us, (a poor Ukrainian Prairie Family) food was more than something you needed to survive. It was a foundation, a source, a way of showing love & a way to pass along traditions. Today I’m happy to believe that this holds true for many families as well as mine.  Be sure to always stock your pantry with my Mom & Dad’s secret ingredient!