The Pierogi Western

Today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro takes us to a campfire in the Old West:

(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 4 in this strip — see this Page.)

A somewhat goofy variant of the Spaghetti Western, with a different starch — so Polish (or, more generally, Slavic) rather than Italian.

(Probably by accident, the strip also serves as a memorial to the great composer of movie music, especially for Spaghetti Westerns, Ennio Morricone, who died on July 6th. More below.)

First ingredient: the Spaghetti Western. From Wikipedia:

(#2) A drifter, a bandido and a bounty hunter reach a stand-off over buried gold

The Spaghetti Western, also known as Italian Western or (primarily in Japan) Macaroni Western, is a broad subgenre of Western films that emerged in the mid-1960s in the wake of Sergio Leone’s film-making style and international box-office success. The term was used by American critics and those in other countries because most of these Westerns were produced and directed by Italians.

According to veteran Spaghetti Western actor Aldo Sambrell, the phrase “Spaghetti Western” was coined by Spanish journalist Alfonso Sánchez. The denomination for these films in Italy is western all’italiana (Italian-style Western). Italo-Western is also used, especially in Germany. These movies were originally released in Italian or with Italian dubbing, but as most of the films featured multilingual casts and sound was post-synched, most “western all’italiana” do not have an official dominant language. The typical Spaghetti Western team was made up of an Italian director, Italo-Spanish technical staff, and a cast of Italian, Spanish, German, and American actors. Clint Eastwood starred in three of Sergio Leone’s films, now known as the Dollars Trilogy — A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965), and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). Leone also made Once Upon a Time in the West in 1968, starring Charles Bronson and Henry Fonda. These films have been listed among the best Westerns of any variety.

The term Paella Western has been used for the many Western films produced in Spain.

(And, playfully, Ramen Western for the Japanese film Tampopo.)

Second ingredient: pierogies. From Wikipedia:

(#3) From the King Arthur Baking Co. site, “Homemade Pierogi” recipe (with a potato and cheese filling)

Pierogi, also known as varenyky, are filled dumplings, made by wrapping unleavened dough around a savoury or sweet filling and cooking in boiling water, or pan-frying. Pierogi which consist of noodle dough and have to be cooked in boiling water are associated with the Central and Eastern European kitchens where they are considered national dishes. Pierogi-like dumplings are popular in most Central and Eastern European countries as well as in Ashkenazi Jewish, Ukrainian Mennonites and modern-day American cuisines, where they are known under their local names.

Typical fillings include potato, sauerkraut, ground meat, cheese, cottage cheese (farmers cheese), mushroom, and fruits. The dumplings may be served with a topping, such as melted butter, sour cream, fried onion, pork rind or cream sauce.

… The English word “pierogi” comes from Polish pierogi, which is the plural form of pieróg, a generic term for filled dumplings. … In most [Slavic] languages the word means “pie”.

In English, as opposed to Polish, usage, pierogi is singular, with the nativized plural pierogies. Even though it’s in English, the Wikipedia article sticks pedantically to the Polish usage throughout, using pierogies only in quoting the title of an American newspaper article “Pierogies replace pasta in popularity”.

Third ingredient: the music. Spaghetti Westerns come with a characteristic sound, in their musical scores — especially by Ennio Morricone. From Wikipedia:

Ennio Morricone (10 November 1928 – 6 July 2020) was an Italian composer, orchestrator, conductor, and trumpet player who wrote music in a wide range of styles. Morricone composed over 400 scores for cinema and television, as well as over 100 classical works. His score to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) is considered one of the most influential soundtracks in history. [You can listen to the theme from this movie here (#4).]

… His filmography includes over 70 award-winning films, all Sergio Leone’s films since A Fistful of Dollars, all Giuseppe Tornatore’s films since Cinema Paradiso, The Battle of Algiers, Dario Argento’s Animal Trilogy, 1900, Exorcist II, Days of Heaven, several major films in French cinema, in particular the comedy trilogy La Cage aux Folles I, II, III and Le Professionnel, as well as The Thing, Once Upon a Time in America, The Mission, The Untouchables, Mission to Mars, Bugsy, Disclosure, In the Line of Fire, Bulworth, Ripley’s Game and The Hateful Eight.

I have no idea what a musical score for a Pierogi Western would sound like — polkas for gunslingers? — but I do know how The Good, The Bad and The Ugly looks in Polish:


One Response to “The Pierogi Western”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    I now see that Wayno has entitled the strip “The Good, the Bad, & the Doughy”.

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