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When I first heard about this book on NPR, I was intrigued by the title: Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking. A companion volume to Julia Child's work? Not exactly. Through her mother's kitchen adventures, author Anya Von Bremzen takes us on a tour of Soviet history and society from the Revolution through the Brezhnev era (when they were finally able to emigrate). It's a story of food, food shortages, this unique historical period, and human relationships. There's nothing like it out there. The book does actually include some recipes, but, sadly, no pictures.
Here is an interview with the author:
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For a more idealized look at that I'd suggest Cooking the Russian Way, among others. For a more in depth look at Soviet society during the Stalin era you might try The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin’s Russia. For some music to listen to while you're frying your kotleti and waiting for the NKVD to show up, why not Zhivi i Znai?
Joe Toschik is a Public Services Librarian at Half Moon Bay Library. The closest he is likely to come to Soviet Cooking is the occasional ice cold Stoli.