Amidst the battle the fears of a third World War, Chicken a la Kiev’s name and identity are in danger.
The recent invasion of Russian troops into Ukraine and the large-scale bombings in the foreign land are the headlines these days. The safe evacuation of a huge bunch of Indian students from the country is also another rising concern. What was a long-standing cold war between the two states translated into an on-ground battle as soon as we entered 2022. In the middle of all this hullabaloo and turmoil, it is the name Kyiv and it’s corresponding Chicken a la Kiev, that has drawn considerable attention in the past few days.
In order to understand the stringent relations between Ukraine and Russia, we need to have a background context of their history. Russia was a colonizer of Ukraine and it was their independence from the Soviet Union which accorded them the status of an independent State. Although the hashtag, #KyivNotKiev was launched a few years back by the Ukranian Ministry Of Foreign Affairs, it has resurfaced in times of crisis. From media houses to brands, well-known personalities and civilians, everyone has come together to show solidarity towards the conflict-ridden state by using the hashtag #KyivNotKiev.
Source: Zora Artis/Twitter
Why Is It Relevant Today?
The capital of Ukraine, Kyiv, is spelt the same way in traditional Ukrainian language. However, it is the Russian influence and hold, even after several years of independence that has led a plethora of English-speaking nations spelling it as Kiev and not Kyiv. For the mass supporters who have come out condemn the plight of Ukrainians, the correct traditional spelling of the country’s capital seems to be of immense concern as it is believed that using this particular spelling would express the fact that their culture and lives matter to us and the world.
Following this, several food brands selling frozen packets of Chicken a la Kiev have renamed it to Kyiv on Twitter. A number of European supermarkets have also taken a stand in this regard and shown their support by labeling the food item as Chicken a la Kyiv. This brings to the table the contested origins of a dish that is being eaten across Europe and Russia for decades now.
Source: Simon Emmett/Twitter
A Brief On The Complicated History Of Chicken A La Kiev
Chicken a la Kiev has several tales and stories attached to its roots. The most prominent of them claims that it is of Ukrainian origin, since the name has the capital city of the country in it. This is an obvious assumption that is made. However, it was the French who taught the Russians how to make this dish when their chefs were sent off for training to Paris. The outcome was poultry cutlets, as called by the Russians, where the chicken was coated with breadcrumbs.
The variations and adaptations of the dish brought about several changes in its authentic recipe as well as its name. The disintegration of Soviet Union and the Ukrainian experiments with the dish led it to become Chicken a la Kiev. Shrugging off this name to replace it with the original spelling is an attempt to free the Ukrainians from an unofficial Russian dependence on the food map of the world.
In case you are wondering what this dish is, here is a recipe for you to try yourself.