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Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Posted September 19, 2013

    Author: Anya Von Bremzen Publisher: Crown Publishing Published:

    Author: Anya Von Bremzen
    Publisher: Crown Publishing
    Published: 9-17-2013
    Pages: 354
    ISBN: 0307886816
    E-Book ASIN: B00COALX7M
    Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine, History, Russia

    I have a love of food, sometimes good sometimes bad. To be honest Russian food is not one I have explored much in my lifetime and after reading and trying some of the recipes in Mastering The Art of Russian Cooking I wish I had tried it much earlier.

    Even though I was expecting more of a cookbook with short stories to go with them I was surprised how much I enjoyed reading her family history and their trials and tribulations they had to make it through. The inner struggle within the family bring her story a bit more closer to my heart because every family has its squabbles on how things should be done by the individuals and sometimes compromise is hard to come by. Yet like most of us the love between family members carry the day.

    The recipes may be few but they do provide a wide variety into Russian cuisine and I am grateful for Anya Von Bremzen for her wonderful autobiography and the different recipes she used to represent the decades of her family history. My family especially enjoyed the Blini and the Palov, but did not embrace the Salat Olivier. The problem may be that no one in my family is overly fond of pickles, so I may try this recipe again with less pickles, dill and cucumbers. The sauce is absolutely delicious.

    This is a very good book that showcases the history of one woman's family and is extremely well written so that everyone can understand and enjoy it without feeling they are sitting in history class discussing a dry textbook. Check it out for yourself.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2015

    Being half Russian I too am fascinated by Russian and Soviet his

    Being half Russian I too am fascinated by Russian and Soviet history. A little bit cookbook, a lot memoir, the author gives a detailed and well researched look into her family history, and adds her own personal experiences to the mix. The book is organized by decades of the 20th century, mixing history with family history. I really enjoyed the book and reading the recipes she includes, tho I don't know if I will try any of them!

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  • Posted January 27, 2014

    I will preface this by saying I am fascinated by all things Russ

    I will preface this by saying I am fascinated by all things Russia, that's what led me to pick up this book. I wasn't so much interested in the recipes and didn't try them. 
    The memoir itself however gave me the taste of Russia that I was looking for. The author shares with us her view of her homeland. It wasn't always the grim horrifying place that history 
    portrays it as. Through the authors young eyes you can see the thrill of being a young pioneer/ burgeoning entrepreneur exploiting the generosity of foriegn diplomats.

    Later in life the author returns to her motherland and completes the story for us.

    This is a beautiful, real life story that is very well told. Thank you Anya for sharing your story with us.  

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  • Posted January 17, 2014

    Fascinating look at everyday Soviet life

    Excellent portrayal of everyday life for the average citizen in the Soviet Union. Provides an excellent counterpoint to the political maneuverings that are the only thing most foreigners know about. I had heard of rationing, food lines,communal apartments, etc., but didn't really understand how those things affected the dynamic of everyday life. An interesting revelation from this book was Stalin's engineering of Soviet cuisine. I was fascinated and disturbed to know that most of the Russian food I eat today (I live in Russia) was chosen by Stalin and/or his food commissar for a particular reason. For instance, the reason everyone in Russia (including me) drinks champagne on New Year's is Stalin's decision to promote Soviet champagne production in order to convey how "good" socialist life could be for the average citizen. Highly recommend, excellent read. PS The appendix has recipes so that you can taste the food you are reading about!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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