CCCP Cook Book: True Stories of Soviet Cuisine by Olga SyutkinWhat's New? New Bestsellers Trade Academic D. Catalog D. Publishers D. Preview our Fall catalog, featuring more than new books on art, photography, design, architecture, film, music and visual culture. Food shortages and limited access to staples like bread, milk, and fresh produce were commonplace in the Soviet Union in the s and s.
A Cookbook to Rehabilitate Soviet Cuisine
Soviet food nostalgia has taken off in the last few years, as a post-Cold War generation grows up intrigued by a period which many older than them would rather forget. Soviet-style canteens like Kamchatka serve herring in a fur coat to queues of Moscow hipsters, while curious westerners can now consult an English-language edition of Soviet cookery bible The Book of Tasty and Healthy Food to try their hand at holubtsi. Okroshka — an old Russian dish that contains finely chopped ingredients — enjoyed great popularity in the USSR. The reason for its success is simple: it is almost impossible to judge the quality of ingredients such as frankfurters, cucumbers or radishes when they have been diced into cubes and are floating in generous portions of kvas and smetana sour cream. Before the revolution the ingredients were quite different, typically high-quality boiled meat usually beef or white fish. Soviet food shortages served to mangle the pre-revolutionary version of the dish to such an extent that only the name remained. Initially the meat was replaced by tongue, offal and scraps.
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Olga Syutkin , Pavel Syutkin. As the Soviet Union struggled along the path to communism, food shortages were commonplace, and both Party authorities and Soviet citizens had to apply every ounce of ingenuity to maximize often-inadequate resources. The stories and recipes contained in the CCCP Cook Book reflect these turbulent times: from basic subsistence meals consumed by the average citizen like okroshka, a cold soup made with the fermented beverage kvass to extravagant banquets held by the political elite suckling pig with buckwheat , with a scattering of classics beef stroganoff in between. Each recipe is introduced with a historical story or anecdote from the period, and illustrated using images sourced from original Soviet recipe books collected by the authors, food historians Olga and Pavel Syutkin. Many of the sometimes extraordinary-looking pictures depict dishes whose recipes used unobtainable ingredients, placing them firmly in the realm of "aspirational" fantasy for the average Soviet household. In their content and presentation, the recipes and illustrations act as windows into the cuisine and culture of the era.
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