Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin in 1826 sent the following lines to his friend Sergei Alexandrovich Sobolevsky:
Dine at your leisure
Have Pozharsky in Torzhok, taste fried cutlets
And go light.
The city of Torzhok is located approximately halfway from St. Petersburg to Moscow. In the 19th century, when Pushkin wrote about him, it was a rich merchant city. The Tvertsa River, on which Torzhok is located, flows into the Volga, which allowed local merchants to send goods to the rich Volga fairs. No wonder, the very name of the city comes from the word "bargaining".
In addition, Torzhok was famous for its shoemakers. But, for some reason, Pushkin remembered not about the merchants of Torzhok, and not about the famous boots, but about the tavern of some Pozharsky. Moreover, he recommended his friend to visit this institution. And the tavern became famous in Russia thanks to deception. Moreover, they deceived no one in him, but the Emperor Nicholas the First himself. According to another version, his older brother Alexander turned out to be deceived.
During one of the trips, the emperor and his retinue stopped to dine at Pozharsky's tavern. For the owners it was, of course, a great honor, but they were not happy for long. Nikolai Pavlovich ordered to serve beef cutlets. But the Pozharskys did not have beef - only ribs.
The owner's wife, Daria Evdokimovna, decided on a trick, chopped the chicken finely, added a beef bone to the minced meat, and served the dish to Nikolai the First. To his surprise, he did not notice any deception, moreover, he ordered to reward the owner of the tavern for a delicious dinner. Pozharsky got scared, and was forced to admit that there was no beef in the cutlets. At the same time, he tried to divert the sovereign's anger from himself, adding that the “fake” cutlets were cooked by his wife.
But, the tsar not only did not get angry, but ordered to reward Daria Evdokimovna. He ordered such cutlets to be called "Pozhansk", after the name of the owner of the inn, and to include them in the menu of the tsar's table. Soon a proud inscription appeared on Pozharsky's tavern, informing visitors that the owner was not someone else, but himself "Pozharsky, the supplier of the court of His Imperial Majesty."
The Pozharsky cutlet business flourished for almost thirty years, until the death of Daria Pozharskaya in 1854. After that, the inn fell into disrepair. Although, cutlets with the name "Pozharsky" continued to be cooked throughout the country. They, like the salad "Olivier", were very different from the original recipe. For example, gourmets argued that real "Pozhansk" cutlets in the Soviet era could be tasted only in the best restaurants, but not in public canteens.
Many people mistakenly associate the name of the cutlets with the surname of Prince Dmitry Mikhailovich Pozharsky, who led the people's militia during the Time of Troubles at the beginning of the 18th century. But, this version is wrong. Dmitry Mikhailovich never cooked cutlets.
By the way, even information about the price of Pozharsky cutlets in the 19th century has been preserved. Someone Mikhail Zhdanov, who visited the tavern in 1838, noted in his travel notes that a portion of cutlets (2 pieces) cost 1 ruble. I must say that the price is not small. But what kind of advertising they had - the tsar himself liked it.