From Publishers Weekly
Banned in Molokhovets's native country since the Russian Revolution, this gastronomic standard for pre-Revolutionary upper- and middle-class Russian households has been impressively translated and edited by food historian and Harvard research associate Toomre. Translations of more than 1000 recipes recall foods central to Russian life: cabbage with butter and crumbs, potato pudding, Beef Stroganov, babas , piroq , pashka . Toomre's substantive introduction presents ``not a history of Russian cooking per se, but rather an impressionistic reconstruction of household conditions.'' She charts a range of elements, from the purpose of each of the four or five daily meals and the sleeping conditions of servants to the once privileged status of the potato. Toomre also assesses the influences of foreign peoples, such as the techniques of the French and the foods of Central Asia and the Caucasus, as well as modern approximations for arcane measurements. Much more than a re-creation of a lost time or a rumination on changing culinary tastes, this book is an important contribution to Russian history. Illustrations not seen by PW.
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"Joyce Toomre ... has accomplished an enormous task, fully on a par with the original author's slave labor. Her extensive preface and her detailed and entertaining notes are marvelous." - Tatyana Tolstaya, New York Review of Books "Classic Russian Cooking is a book that I highly recommend. Joyce Toomre has done a marvelous job of translating this valuable and fascinating source book. It's the Fanny Farmer and Isabella Beeton of Russia's 19th century." - Julia Child, Food Arts "This is a delicious book, and Indiana University Press has served it up beautifully." - Russian Review " ... should become as much of a classic as the Russian original ... dazzling and admirable expedition into Russia's kitchens and cuisine."- Slavic Review "It gives a delightful and fascinating picture of the foods of pre-Communist Russia." - The Christian Science Monitor