Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking (Paperback)
  • Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking (Paperback)

Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking (Paperback)

Paperback 448 Pages / Published: 03/07/2014
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Born in a surreal Moscow communal apartment where eighteen families shared one kitchen, Anya von Bremzen grew up singing odes to Lenin, black-marketeering Juicy Fruit gum at school, and longing for a taste of the mythical West. It was a life by turns absurd, drab, naively joyous, melancholy and, finally, intolerable. In 1974, when Anya was ten, she and her mother fled to the USA, with no winter coats and no right of return. These days, Anya is the doyenne of high-end food writing. And yet, the flavour of Soviet kolbasa, like Proust's madeleine, transports her back to that vanished Atlantis known as the USSR .

In this sweeping, tragicomic memoir, Anya recreates seven decades of the Soviet experience through cooking and food, and reconstructs a moving family history spanning three generations. Her narrative is embedded in a larger historical epic: Lenin's bloody grain requisitioning, World War II starvation, Stalin's table manners, Khrushchev's kitchen debates, Gorbachev's disastrous anti-alcohol policies and the ultimate collapse of the USSR. And all of this is bound together by Anya's sardonic wit, passionate nostalgia and piercing observations. Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking is a book that stirs the soul as well as the senses.

Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
ISBN: 9780552777476
Number of pages: 448
Weight: 304 g
Dimensions: 198 x 127 x 27 mm

Moving and darkly comic -- Niki Segnit * The Sunday Times *
Heartbreakingly poignant and laugh-out-loud funny. This is an important book, a must read! * Heston Blumenthal *
Vastly entertaining... A real treat. * Woman & Home *
By turns funny, tragic and nostalgic, this is a wonderful, fascinating volume, which puts a human face on the grim pages of the history books * The Lady *
This poignant memoir is an education in the richness of eastern European cuisine, and the story of Soviet communism, through the lens of family experience. * Observer *
wry, provocative, genre-busting... * Wall Street Journal *
Absorbing... a social history of the Soviet Union cast through the prism of food * Jewish Chronicle *
Rollicking and heartrending * Time *
You will read few better books about food, family, exile or the Soviet tragedy-and none, I'll bet, which combines all those themes this magically. Funny, angry, ingenious and moving. * AD Miller, author of 'Snowdrops' *
The culinary memoir has lately evolved into a genre of its own... But Anya von Bremzen is a better writer than most of the genre's practitioners, as this delectable book, which tells the story of postrevolutionary Russia through the prism of one family's meals, amply demonstrates... von Bremzen moves artfully between historical longshots...and intimate details. The descriptions of meals are delightful... * New York Times *
One-of-a-kind ... Breathtaking feats of raconteurial skill... Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking is not only a magic tablecloth, it's a magic carpet that revisits the roads and lanes of the former Soyuz, surveying the tales of hardship and hardwon joys of von Bremzen's relatives and the Russian people... -- Liesl Schillinger * The Daily Beast *
I don't think there's ever been a book quite like this; I couldn't put it down. Warm, smart and completely engaging... this is a book you won't forget -- Ruth Reichl, author of Tender at the Bone
a monumental but deeply human book that reads like a great Russian novel, filled with dark humor and nostalgia. It opens up an entire universe, teaching us about the many deep meanings of food: cultural, political, social, historical, personal. It is also an utterly magical journey into a rich, mysterious land of totalitarian tyranny, and a portrait of a courageous, passionate people. * Ferran Adria *
von Bremzen has conjured up the Proustian aromas of her Soviet life for her enjoyable 'foodoir'... perceptive and funny on the subtleties of life under Soviet rule and in exile. -- Charlotte Hobson * Spectator *
Through a kaleidoscopic mix of family life, politics, history, and jokes, von Bremzen evokes in her book a whole Soviet-era world of deprivation and delight. * Tablet *

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