In Soviet Russia, chicken eats YOU!

When I was just a little girl, my Canadian parents picked up and moved themselves and three kids to the USSR. Why, you ask? To this day, I am not really sure. I suspect my parents may have been trying out communism. That was a fad in the 80’s, right?

Onion slices

We lived there for 4 years, and returned to Canada shortly after the collapse of the soviet union.

Mushroom slices

But really, they were English teachers, I think. I don’t know….I was a little kid, and I wasn’t really paying attention because all I wanted was McDonalds and My Little Ponies.

Browned chicken

We lived in Leningrad, now known as St. Petersburg. My sister and I went to a girl’s school, learning to speak Russian fluently, while my brother (already a teenager) took trips across the continent on the trans-Siberian railway.

Pointy pasta noodles

We went to Pioneer summer camps, complete with little brown uniforms and red neck scarves, and read children’s books on father Lenin, who was apparently our hero. We went to the dacha. We read Pushkin and Tolstoy and went to the Ballet, the Philharmonic and the Hermitage. We frolicked at Peterhov. We went to Moscow to see the red square. We had fur hats.

Making KGB Chicken

As foreigners, we were not as economically afflicted as our Russian friends, though we lived quite frugally and much the same as everyone else – in proletarian apartment blocks, riding the tram to school and shopping at the local “universam”.

Combining rice and pasta

Though we seemed to have enough money, perestroika had had its toll on the variety of food supplies in the shops, and my parents had to be pretty creative when it came to figuring out healthy and interesting dinners for our family – things other than potatoes, bread  and cabbage.

Mom's recipe

Once, my parents hosted a dinner party for some friends. My mother puzzled over her pantry full of soup mixes and dried milk powder. From its meager offerings,  she came up with a chicken dish that she makes to this day, and of which I have fond memories.

Before the oven

When the dish was served, the Russian friends oohed and ahhed over its succulence and insisted that she tell them the recipe. Ever the coy gourmand, my mother declined to reveal her secrets.

KGB Chicken

“Почему?” they asked? “Why?”

KGB Chicken

“It is secret recipe,” she said, “…only KGB knows!” And everyone laughed heartily.

KGB Chicken

And so, my mother’s “KGB Chicken” was born. If you’re not familiar with the KGB, it was a government organization that was basically the secret police/spy agency of the communists from 1954 to 1991, widely untrusted by its constituents and wholly corrupt.

KGB Chicken

I hope they’re not mad that I’m publishing the recipe on the internet! There must be a statute of limitations on KGB chicken secrets.

KGB Chicken

If I’m not back in 7 days, call the Kremlin.

KGB Chicken

Anyway, I have retained this recipe through the years and make it occasionally as a comforting reminder of my weird childhood in Russia. In hindsight – though I thought it grim at the time – living there has given me a very different perspective on life than if I had spent my formative years in comfy capitalist Canada.

KGB Chicken

Here’s the recipe!

KGB Chicken


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Categories: Food

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4 Comments on “In Soviet Russia, chicken eats YOU!”

  1. May 1, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    OMG! That’s hilarious 🙂 Great post and amazing memories.
    What will happen if I try this recipe?

    • May 1, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

      We must be sitting here reading each other’s blogs 🙂

      Feel free to try it but if any hulking sinister men show up at your door, deny everything!

  2. February 28, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

    Great story and beaituful recipe. Congrats.

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