A note on the spelling of 'perogy'

The Polish spelling and the spelling most common in the United States it seems is pierogi.  In Canada however the accepted spelling is perogy.  Why the difference?  This delicious little dumpling is a well travelled snack and the English name was derived from whichever culture happened to be most prevalent in the area.  In Canada, western Canada at least, we have far more Mennonite and Doukhobor immigrants than we do Polish immigrants so our name comes from Mennonite Plautdietsch and Russian.

The book Mennonite Food and Folkways from South Russia tells us that three words 'varenyky', 'perogy', and 'phyrohy' are often used to describe the same thing, but apart from the half-circle dough vehicle these 3 things are very different foods.

The origin of varenyky is the Russian word for boil, varitj. Typically referring to a small half circle dumpling, filled with cottage cheese and boiled. Varenyky can be stuffed with other things though, such as seasonal fruits and potatoes.

Perogi on the other hand means bake, so perogies are half circle dumplings baked in the oven.  A pyrohy is a large perogi and in some cases a large pie. Pyr is an obsolete Ukrainian word for banquet.

Despite all of this, in North America, unless your grandmother is making them, perogy almost always refers to a boiled dumpling stuffed with potato and cheese.

For the sake of completeness, the Plautdietsch versions of these words are Varenikje, Perieschkje, and Pyrohy.  The Russian pronunciation of perogy is Pirozhki.  There is also a Turkish variant from Crimea called manti.

Src: Mennonite Food and Folkways from South Russia, Volume I - Norma Jost Voth