As the War in Ukraine Rages on, the Culinary Blunders in New York Mount

Chicken Kiev

Yesterday, AppleEats ran a cautionary piece on the potential pitfalls of well-meant gestures by restaurant-goers to show allegiance to Ukraine and contempt for Russia. These include boycotting the Russian Tea Room despite its being a wholly American-owned restaurant that, moreover, has demonstrated its own solidarity with the Ukrainians under siege.

Now comes another well-intended but misguided gesture by Graydon Carter, owner of the Waverly Inn. As the New York Post‘s Page Six notes, the restaurant is adding “chicken Kyiv” to its menu, “done the Ukrainian way.”

There’s more. Anyone dining at the restaurant who presents a Ukrainian passport can have the dish gratis.

I’m not sure what “the Ukrainian way” of preparing chicken Kiev is, but I can tell you that Carter has stepped in it bigtime. Via The Economist:

As the Soviet Union disintegrated in May 1990, its leader Mikhail Gorbachev made what was, in effect, a concession speech to assembled dignitaries after a dinner at the Soviet embassy in Washington. Socialism in one country, the inward-looking dogma of the Russian Communist Party, was over. Instead, announced Gorbachev, “We have figured out we live in one world, in one civilisation.” The dish that the General Secretary and his guests had just polished off was a perfect symbol of Russia’s new internationalism and consumerism. Chicken Kiev: a Russian speciality that had become a staple in supermarkets around the world.

According to the Russians, chicken Kiev originated in the Muscovy region of the old Empire. The recipe – for a chicken filled with butter sauce and covered in breadcrumbs – was modified to perfection in the 19th century by a Ukrainian chef, hence the misleading name [emphasis added]. This story reflects Russia’s traditional policy towards Ukraine: to let it exist as a distinct entity, but keep it firmly under the thumb of its old imperial master. In the Russian Federation, government canteens have cheekily rebranded the dish “chicken Crimea”.

See also…

The Impact of the War in Ukraine on New York Restaurants