In defence of Paul McKay

Dear Editor,

With regard to the letter by E. Pearn  in last week´s Letters section, I feel the need to reply.

First, the history lesson? I am sure Paul McKay called the dish in question ´kev´ for good reason. Perhaps he is reflecting the mispronunciation which is now commonplace in our freezer shop and pub grub world.

Second, the writer refers to the article as ‘The rantings of the uneducated´. Given the quality of Paul’s writing and the fact that he is a teacher, this seems to be far from the truth. I would be more comfortable to describe the letter in question as a ´rant´. Paul writes in an entertaining way, and I just loved his book (if the reader of this letter has not yet read it, you are missing a treat).  I am looking forward to the follow up.

Now for the history. Any search of the Internet will show that there are many claims for the creation of Chicken Kiev, but, the view that this dish was invented in France and named in New York, seems to be the prevalent.  One such claim is that Kiev was created  by Appert, a Frenchman who invented the canning of food and called it Chicken Supreme. The name Chicken Kiev was given to this method of preparing chicken by early New York restaurants to try to please the many Soviet immigrants.

So it would seem that the irony of the misspelling went over the head of E Pearn, and his Kiev lesson is also debatable.

If the writer has no connection with the owners of this establishment, how does he / she know that the ambiance (dated) is deliberate?  How can s/he be aware of the restaurant in question, but then go on to say that the description given by Paul does not match the establishment!!  I am sorry but there are too many inconsistencies and the letter does not make sense.

Finally, I do not feel that the Algarve Resident should print such blatant racist views. Americans have different spellings to us Brits. It does not mean that they cannot spell. In point of fact if you wish to be a pedant you would call the dish Chicken Kyiv since the Ukrainian alphabet has letters which are not present or transliterated differently to the Russian alphabet and sounds more similar to “Kev” than “Key-yev”.

Mark Laxon, London and the Algarve