Can I cook like ... Vladimir Putin?

The Guardian - Feast - - News - Stephen Bush

Vladimir Putin’s ap­petite stretches to a num­ber of things, not least a good chunk of the Ukraine, but one of his pre­ferred meals is pie. His mother used to make pies of var­i­ous kinds, which is one rea­son why he han­kers af­ter them now.

Most pie recipes are fairly easy – you make a big bowl and a lid out of pas­try, make some kind of stew, pour said stew into your big bowl, put the lid on, put pie in oven for 40 min­utes, and con­grat­u­la­tions! You’ve got pie.

Mak­ing a pie brings out my in­ner Krem­lin diplo­mat – or per­haps it brings out the con­de­scend­ing westerner in my col­leagues. One thing that hap­pens when you tell peo­ple you are go­ing to make a pie, is they ask what pas­try you will be buying. To which, of course, I re­ply that, as a cook­ery colum­nist, I will be mak­ing my own damn pas­try, and any sug­ges­tion to the con­trary is deeply of­fen­sive without a thor­ough UN in­ves­ti­ga­tion first.

“But why?” asks some­one in the of­fice. “Be­cause my own pas­try will be a lot tastier than any­thing I could buy ready made,” I ex­plain. To which they re­ply: “Will it, though?”

And so I de­cide to find an­other desk. Then I re­alise that it is get­ting a lit­tle hec­tic at work, so I text my part­ner to ask her to buy me some brais­ing steak. She replies: “Of course, and what type of pas­try shall I buy?” And I say: “I will be mak­ing pas­try my­self, and any sug­ges­tion oth­er­wise will be met with the strong­est pos­si­ble diplo­matic re­sponse.” And she replies: “Seems like a waste of time.”

I re­turn to my desk in a huff, and my col­league asks: “So, what type of pas­try?” And I say: “Prob­a­bly short­crust as that is quite easy.” And they say: “Oh, are you still pre­tend­ing you will make the pas­try your­self?” And I say: “Look, I re­ally must protest in the strong­est terms.”

Then my work­ing day ends and I head to the su­per­mar­ket, where I buy un­salted but­ter to make pas­try. But I feel tired, and think: “Hon­estly, who will know?” So I buy Jus-Rol puff pas­try and use that to con­tain my ex­cel­lent beef stew. And it is de­li­cious, yet also un­sat­is­fy­ing. And I think: I bet this is how Putin feels about the Crimea.

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