From Library Journal
Jones, a descendant of the Sheremetev clan of the Romanov dynasty, lived in Russia from 1991 to 1994. During this time of glasnost and perestroika, she became friends with many Russian people and was able to explore their culture and food. Her culinary journey through Russia resulted in a book that is part travel memoir and part cookbook. Arranged by season ("Russian Summers") and occasion ("A Birthday Party at Viktor's"), the book chronicles her stay in Russia through recipes and essays about Russian cuisine, customs, and traditions. Leaving out European-inspired fare such as Beef Stroganov and Chicken Kiev, she instead includes the home cooking that is often inspired by the Russian Orthodox Church. Each chapter contains recipes such as Cheese Pancakes with Blueberry Sauce, Russian Easter Bread, and Individual Mushroom Casseroles and is accompanied by the often-poignant stories behind them. Not just a mere recollection of events, Jones's book includes cultural information such as a description of a typical Russian wedding as well as traditional techniques such as dying eggs with onion skins and the art of brewing tea, Russian-style. Recommended for larger travel and cookery collections. Pauline Baughman, Multnomah Cty. Lib., Portland, OR
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Jones spent the first part of the turbulent decades of the nineties in Russia where she witnessed the collapse of Soviet Communism. There she began to appreciate the old Russia, which resurfaced in public religious and cultural expression. In A Year of Russian Feasts
, Jones explains to Western readers the regularly recurring Russian Orthodox feasts, those traditional dishes associated with them, and the holidays' significance in the life of the church and the people. In Orthodoxy, prior to feasting comes fasting, so Jones' first recipes exemplify ascetic vegetarian dishes. Then it's on to the celebrations. There are simple and hearty beet soups, meat-stuffed dumplings, sweetly spiced and aromatic Easter bread, and many variations on potatoes. Rich and hearty, the recipes evoke a strong sense of the Russian landscape. Recipes require only generally available ingredients, so they are readily duplicated. Mark KnoblauchCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved