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A plate of Ukrainian varenyky with cream

Rome’s school canteens will offer Ukrainian menu once a week

Rome’s school canteens will offer Ukrainian menu once a week

Inter-cultural acceptance made delicious

This Monday, 2 May, saw the start of a new initiative, where all municipal schools in the Italian capital Rome will serve a Ukrainian menu once a day to the children. The aim is to increase knowledge about the food culture of the newly-arrived refugee children among the Italian students. Likewise, the idea is to make the newcomers feel welcome and acknowledged.

A simple idea, born from the initiative of two boroughs and then extended to the whole city, to make people who come from afar feel a home and at the same time bring all boys and girls closer to the culture of a country they hear about only through images and war stories,” explained commissioner Claudia Pratelli, as quoted by ANSA news agency.

She added: “It’s a small gesture with a great ambition because food is a fantastic way to facilitate mutual knowledge and always place the school as a meeting place and laboratory for positive relationships.”

What’s on the menu?

All public educational institutions ranging from kindergartens to junior high schools in Rome will participate in this week’s culinary initiative.

The variation to the children's regular menu will begin with varenyky, a sort of ravioli filled with meat and cooked with butter. It is one of the iconic dishes of Ukrainian cuisine, and the pasta envelopes can also be filled with potatoes, cabbage, mushrooms and soft cheese. 

These will be followed by the classic Chicken Kiev, served with a side dish of buttered potatoes. It is the Ukrainian version of French cordon bleu with buttery cream, breaded and baked in the oven. The cream is made with garlic, parsley, butter and lemon juice mixed together until you get the desired consistency. The meat is spread with the cream, rolled up (so that the cream remains inside), then dipped into the beaten eggs and finally into the breadcrumbs. After that, it is roasted in the oven.

The story behind the name of the dish goes that it was a French chef who brought it to Europe, after having worked for a few months at the court of the Russian emperor Alexander I, who ruled from 1801 to 1825. The current name is due to the fact that at the end of the 19th century, the Continental Hotel in the Ukrainian city served it as a main dish.

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