Several years ago, a Moscow-based newspaper ran the photo below – amusingly altered – on the front page and asked, Can Russia possibly live without little legs of Bush?
At issue was the poultry wars, the on-going debate about Russia’s importing US-grown chicken. You see, with Americans’ fondness for chicken breast, the dark meat has to go somewhere and tons of it has ended up on Russian dinner tables. In fact, over 700 tons of US-grown chicken was imported to Russia in 2007.
The (fowl import) poultry is shipped in 15-pound boxes straight from the Tyson folks in Springdale, Arkansas. Photos of these boxes, the Russian-English labels and the chicken itself are on this very computer, in fact, buried safely in a folder. . . somewhere. Those shots are thanks to obliging vendors in the market who have chuckled and helped when I’ve asked, Do you happen to have any little legs of Bush for sale?
How did US-grown chicken end up with such a name? Well, they say a poultry import agreement was reached back in the 80’s, during the presidency of George H. W. Bush. In Russian markets, the imported chicken was dubbed NOZH-kee BYSH-a, a diminutive form that has stuck, which would be translated sweet, cute little Bush legs. Usually it’s spoken with a smile and a chuckle. And when an American uses the term, the vendors get quite a laugh.
So, how's that for a . . . legacy?