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Please to the Table: The Russian Cookbook Paperback – January 11, 1990
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book covers a wide variety of foods and regions. I noticed that there were some reviewers complaining that this book calls for ingredients that aren't used in Russia. Not so. The Russian Empire has incredibly varied regional cuisine. In an empire covering more than 6 million square miles, not everybody is going to make the exact same dishes, nor make similar ones the exact same way. Heck, they don't even all speak the same language. When visiting the south-east, you'll find a heavy "asian/oriental" influence, the use of soy and ginger; In the north-west, more of a European influence; and in the south-west, more of a "middle eastern" influence. This book has a nice sampling of all three of these, as well as many others. 'Pomegranate Grilled Lamb Chops' shows the middle eastern influence of Azerbaijan, 'Roast Pork Paprikash' shows the influence of Eastern European Moldavia... and the preponderance of rice throughout the book shows the influence of the Southern Asian countries.
I have bought every Russian cookbook I have been able to lay my hands on over the years, and this is the first one I reach for when I want to look something up. It's logically arranged, has a comprehensive index, and some great anecdotes. A wonderful addition to any international food lovers' library.
In _Please to the Table_, I found the recipes for dishes that I know well to be very authentic indeed. I'd like to address specifically one criticism I saw here in a review, that von Bremzen uses paprika in her recipes. The reviewer wrote that "Paprika is not an ingredient which is traditionally used in Russian cooking. It is the spice of Central Europe (Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, etc.)..." True that Hungarian paprika is not a traditional ingredient of pure Russian cuisine. However, I disagree that it is inauthentic. First, this cookbook covers most of the former USSR, including the western republics such as Moldova and Ukraine, where influence from Central Europe shows up in the food. Second, the great home cooks I knew used what they called red pepper ("krasnij perets") more often than black pepper, and the red pepper where _I_ lived tasted much more like a mixture of hot and sweet paprika than like cayenne, which is what you get in the U.S. if you buy something called simply "red pepper". If von Bremzen's recipes called for "red pepper," then the recipes would taste spicier and much less authentic than they do.Read more ›
Not having ever eaten any of this food myself, and being one to generally prefer cookbooks with pictures, I was initially nervous about trying any of the recipes. But the directions are so precise and easy to follow that I can proudly say that every single recipe I've tried has been a smashing success. I have since tried other Russian and Ukrainian cookbooks, but none yields the same superlative results with my picky hubby -- and my critical in-laws!! ;) We've eaten our way across the entire former USSR, and loved every minute of it!
I would especially like to thank the author for the following recipes (whose pages are stained and whose ingredients are responsible for not a few of the extra pounds on my man's middle...): "My Mother's Vegetarian Borscht" -- you can add beef if you like, but even his father (who is a professional Soviet-trained cook) didn't notice it was missing. His sister pronounced this borscht her favorite - over their mother's - and she has never made any secret about not liking me, so that's a ringing endorsement! "Apple Baba" -- this one is a unanimous hit and my husband always begs me to make it for guests. I usually add 2 extra apples and double the cinnamon, though, by popular request. The "Rum Baba" makes a great New Year's treat.Read more ›
My Russian-born husband nods fondly when I read aloud to him from this book and gets so excited by the tantalizing promise that perhaps we can recreate some of his old favorite dishes. So far, everything I've tried has turned out beautifully.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wonderful book- and cookbook- on the many, many ethnic cuisines that make up the former Soviet Union. A great read as well as a great cookbook!Published 1 day ago by elisse
This cookbook was a gift for my father and mother. My dad has a very interesting love for food and for the Russian culture, so this book was perfect. Read morePublished 29 days ago by MARIEC
As long as you have a system to find recipes. It has an excellent choice of different recipes from all over ussr.
This was purchased as a gift and was well received.
The first thing that attracted me to the book is the gorgeous cover in the Marc Chagall style by Patty Dryden. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Milena
I've had this book for more than 7 years now, and it's moved around the world with me - twice. The recipes I've tried have been authentic enough to pass muster with the Moscow... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Sara G.
Good quality recopies from different countries of former Soviet Union conveniently converted measurements to American measurement standards.Published 8 months ago by Nick Peshterianu