Is there more to Russian cookery than beets, cabbage, and sour cream? Please to the Table
, a comprehensive guide that takes readers and cooks from the Baltics to Uzbekistan, should absolutely bury that question. Russia alone is bigger than the U.S. and Canada combined; its people claim more than 100 different nationalities and languages. Throw in the other 14 former Soviet republics, cook a feast, and you'll sample everything from Moldavian marinated peppers to cold yogurt and cucumber soup to Uzbek lamb stew to crawfish boiled in beer to open cheese tartlets, Russian tea, and, yes, beef stroganoff--nearly every major culinary style is represented here. Anya von Bremzen and John Welchman capture the soul of Mother Russia in 400 recipes joined together with a literate overview of each culinary piece in this magnificent jigsaw puzzle of a nation. The cook will be amply rewarded, and readers will travel far and wide through flavors and feasts only dimly imagined in the West.
From Publishers Weekly
Soviet cuisine has as many sides as the numerous nationalities and ethnic groups that comprise it in this fascinating compilation of regional recipes. The authors, a Soviet emigre pianist from Moscow and her British art historian husband, offer essays on the history of Russian, Baltic, Georgian, Central Asian, Ukrainian and Armenian foods, including the influences of climate, geography and conquest on the development of distinctive flavors. Classically Russian wild mushrooms and basic Ukrainian peasant borscht contrast with exotic Azerbaijani quail and pomegranate sauce and Uzbeki steamed lamb dumplings. Suggested menus also highlight the impact of other cultures on the vast U.S.S.R.: a Russian vodka party features French-inspired pate; an Armenian meze (appetizer) buffet with spiced feta and halvah is closer to the Middle East than the West; and a Passover dinner includes chicken pilaf with apples, raisins and quince, created by Jews of Bukhara, Uzbekistan, who now live in New York. Despite the chronic food shortages in Moscow that create a cuisine based more on processed food, vodka and frugality than on quality, the authors suggest that hospitality is the hallmark of the Soviet culinary scene. BOMC Home Style and Better Homes & Gardens Book Club selection.
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