Wednesday, September 03, 2014


Whenever anyone claims that the words that person was quoted as saying were taken out of context, I try to imagine the context that would make those words look less bad for the speaker. So how about this:
José! Great to see you! It's been a while, but now that you're President of the European Commission I'm glad that you are taking the time to talk to me. Hey, you're from Portugal, right? Beautiful country. I love the food. I once was in a Portuguese restaurant in Kazan. The waiter came over and told us about their specialties: cozido à portuguesa, tripas à moda do Porto, chanfana, I didn't know what most of them were, but they all sounded so good. Then the waiter added "chicken Kiev." Chicken Kiev? Did they just put that one in because they thought the average babushka would think that Portuguese food is too exotic? So I turned to my dining companion, and said "Who the fuck orders chicken Kiev here?" And Rustam replied, "it's actually pretty good." "So you've had it," I asked, "that's crazy! Why go to a Portuguese restaurant to order chicken Kiev?" I really could not tell if he was joking. Minnikhanov is always so serious with me. But he had this odd look on his face. So I started to think maybe it would break the ice a bit if I ordered the chicken, you know, just as a joke. But the Portuguese dishes sounded so much better, and frankly I can get damn good chicken Kiev back in Moscow. So I decided to have it both ways. "Rustam," I said, "how about this: I'll try the chanfana today, but I'm coming back here later in the month. When I come back to town we can go to this restaurant again and I can take Kiev in two weeks."
Doesn't that sound a lot less ominous?