The cafeteria of the press center of the NATO summit in Madrid, in the Ifema fairgrounds, has renamed one of its most requested dishes, the Russian salad, as “traditional salad” after the avalanche of jokes on social networks for the fact that Russia “slipped” into an Alliance meeting.
Jokes that have continued after this modification because journalists have returned to the fray on Twitter and other platforms making all kinds of jokes about a change that occurred just when NATO was redefining its relationship with Russia, which has gone from being a “strategic partner ” to become the “most significant and direct threat”.
However, this has not been the only saucer that has received “collateral damage” from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
But why “Russian salad”?
It is not the first time that this modest and popular dish of potatoes and cooked vegetables, olives, canned tuna and mayonnaise has undergone a name change for political reasons, since for a few years after the Spanish war it was renamed “national salad”.
Actually, this summer dish is far from Russian. The theory is that the Belgian chef Lucien Olivier became famous in Moscow thanks to serving this salad at the “El Hermitage” restaurant. Over time, he would end up replicating more common ingredients until he “democratized” the recipe.
Under the name “salade russe”, the dish fell into the hands of the Spanish thanks to the French cookbook “La cuisine classique” (1856) by Urbain Dubois. And it was during the 40s and 50s in Spain that the Franco regime tried to change the name to “imperial salad” or “national”.
Although the original name persists, it remains unclear who exported the recipe or if it originally featured Russian ingredients.
It’s “Poutine”, not “Putin”
Another dish that unexpectedly suffered the effects of the war was poutine. A dish originally from Quebec based on chips, cheese and meat, which has taken its fame beyond Canada.
In France, the restaurants “La Casa Mia” (Château-Arnoux-Saint-Auban) and “La Maison de la Poutine” (Paris, Toulouse) have been the target of threats and insults since the Russian invasion of Ukraine: a bad time for the word homophone of the name of the president of the invading country.
Both restaurants had to deal with scandalized passers-by, and a wave of harassment through comments and messages on their social networks.
“Our dish was born in Quebec in the 1950s. And there are many stories to tell about its history,” the restaurant explained in a statement, before adding that “poutine was created by passionate cooks who wanted to bring joy and comfort to their customers. “.
On the “La Casa Mia” poster, the word “poutine” has already been erased.
The borscht dispute
The conflict between Ukraine and Russia has also brought to light old disputes, such as the one over “borscht” (borsch, borshch). A thousand-year-old beet and meat soup, usually served with cream or garlic rolls, and widely consumed in Russia and Ukraine.
Ukraine’s beetroot soup culture has been placed on UNESCO’s list of endangered intangible cultural heritage, the UN organization said on Friday. Something that provoked the ridicule of Russian diplomats.
“If I had to explain to the world, from a culinary point of view, what contemporary Kyiv nationalism is, I would mention this fact: hummus and rice pilaf are recognized as the national dishes of several countries,” the Ministry spokeswoman wrote. of Russian Foreign Affairs, Maria Zakharova.
“But, if I have understood correctly, Ukrainization applies to everything. What will be next? Pigs will be recognized as a Ukrainian national product…” he continued in a message on Telegram.
Ukraine had requested in mid-April that the soup culture be added to the list, saying Russia’s February 24 attack on the country and months of subsequent bombing threatened the “viability” of the tradition surrounding the dish.
Boycotts and sanctions
In addition to the dishes wrongly linked to Russia, domestic products were the first to suffer from the numerous sanctions imposed by the West.
This was the case of the emblematic vodka, which suffered an international boycott from the north of the American continent to Oceania. In early March, three US governors ordered the withdrawal of these alcoholic beverages from stores. Countries like Finland and Sweden followed suit. In New Zealand, in one of the largest alcohol chains they replaced the bottles of vodka on the shelves with Ukrainian flags.
Although vodka from Russia represents only 1% of the total value of US imports of the drink, at the end of the day, these boycotts have proven to have more than symbolic value.