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Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking
Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing | Anya Von Bremzen
A James Beard Award-winning writer captures life under the Red socialist banner in this wildly inventive, tragicomic memoir of feasts, famines, and three generations Born in 1963, in an era of bread shortages, Anya grew up in a communal Moscow apartment where eighteen families shared one kitchen. She sang odes to Lenin, black-marketeered Juicy Fruit gum at school, watched her father brew moonshine, and, like most Soviet citizens, longed for a taste of the mythical West. It was a life by turns absurd, naively joyous, and melancholyand ultimately intolerable to her anti-Soviet mother, Larisa. When Anya was ten, she and Larisa fled the political repression of Brezhnev-era Russia, arriving in Philadelphia with no winter coats and no right of return. Now Anya occupies two parallel food universes: one where she writes about four-star restaurants, the other where a taste of humble kolbasa transports her back to her scarlet-blazed socialist past. To bring that past to life, Anya and her mother decide to eat and cook their way through every decade of the Soviet experience. Through these meals, and through the tales of three generations of her family, Anya tells the intimate yet epic story of life in the USSR. Wildly inventive and slyly witty, Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking is that rare book that stirs our souls and our senses.
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DebinHawaii
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#WanderingJune
This memoir is a good mix of history, along with what #Russians ate in the twentieth through twenty-first century. Books about food and food trends always interest me. I read this one a couple of years ago for my virtual foodie book club and paired it with Okroshka (a Russian cold kefir soup) and my take on a buterbrodi (a Russian open-faced sandwich).
📚🍴😋

BiblioLitten Both look delicious! 3mo
Cinfhen My only knowledge of Russian cuisine is Borsht 3mo
Maggie_Reads Oh, that looks interesting. Adding to my TBR stack. 3mo
See All 8 Comments
BarbaraBB Such cool books! Have you cooked from them yet? 3mo
LeahBergen Yum! This is still sitting on my cookbook shelf. 😬 3mo
DebinHawaii @BarbaraBB I have cooked from it a bit -- the soup & sandwich base recipes were from it. 3mo
BarbaraBB Very cool! 3mo
lynneamch Really enjoyed this book and learned a bit of history, too! 3mo
72 likes3 stack adds8 comments
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BibliOphelia
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My #bookhaul from last weekend‘s #bookorgy at the #BookBarn in Niantic, CT. A bit of profligacy, but the most expensive was $4, and look at some of those chunksters. 😍😍😍

ravenlee 😯❤️ 6mo
BibliOphelia @ravenlee 😳😂😂 6mo
29 likes2 comments
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ShannonOffDuty
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Pickpick

I loved this book so much. Russian history is one of my favorite subjects. Also, I love memoirs that take place during an interesting historical period. So this book really spoke to me.

lynneamch Me too! I think I enjoyed Amor Towles book in part because I read had Soviet Cooking first. 14mo
ShannonOffDuty I plan to read that soon :) 14mo
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hoggman
Pickpick

Really interesting and detailed. My only major complaint is that the author tends to ramble quite a bit, jumping from topic to topic without giving much sense of timeframe or subject until you're already halfway through the new one. This one was for the #readharder challenge, #5 on the list

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annalibris
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Pickpick

I can‘t remember why I requested this one through interlibrary loan, but I‘m certainly glad I did. My knowledge of Soviet history comes mostly from what I absorbed as a child during the Cold War, so it‘s interesting to see it through the lens of someone whose family was part of the story. And also, it‘s told through the lens of food, which is the best part of all.

lynneamch Well said. I felt the same way. 2y
5 likes1 comment
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lynneamch
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Absolutely fascinated by this history of food and more in the USSR, as described in this memoir. I'm going to recommend it for #bookclub. Because my dad's parents came to the US from Ukraine, I had to try this Ukranian fish pie called kulebiaka. Yummy #treat #uncannyoctober @reallifereading #bookanddinner #litsycooks

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addendumadventure
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Pickpick

If you have any sort of soft spot for Russian history you‘ll adore this memoir. Part of the fun in it for me was catching her numerous references to Russian lit and of course her mouth water descriptions of various Soviet dishes. It‘s a unique and compelling way to write a history and I adored it.

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DebinHawaii
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Pickpick

I liked this one-a memoir of growing up in the Soviet Union-though I wanted a bit more food description & a little less history, name after name & nicknames for everyone. Still, it was well-written & taught me a lot about Russian food, culture, politics & history. Paired for lunch with Okroshka (Cold Russian Kefir Soup) & my take on an open-faced sandwich-'buterbrodi' for virtual foodie book club. Link to post/recipe👇🏻 #soup #litsycooks 📚🍴👍

merelybookish I heard her on NPR years ago and keep wanting to read it. 2y
HippieChickHomeschool I'm Russia obsessed I just ran to Amazon and ordered a copy! Can't wait to read it! 2y
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Simona 😍😍🤤😋🤤😋 2y
LeahBergen This is sitting on my TBR. And ... YUM. 2y
101 likes6 stack adds6 comments
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DebinHawaii
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#24in48 Swagalicious Challenge. I don't think I ever posted this picture of my bookish swag from a trip to Portland in May. I tend to collect books more than swag but you can never resist a visit to Powell's & some totes, bookmarks & pins.

Graciouswarriorprincess Great swag!! 2y
L_auren Love the umbrella art! I have it on a mug! 2y
89 likes2 comments
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DebinHawaii
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Took a long break to run my errands & have second breakfast which is a green juice, a guava hand pie, & SBUX Pineapple-Black Tea Infusion (no sweetener). I'll need healthy protein for lunch I think 😆 but the hand pie is worth it--such flakey crust.😋🍴I'm in more of a thriller mood but I want to knock out some of this foodie memoir for book club. Going back into #24in48 mode. Catch you on the next break! 📚📚🤓📚📚📚

83 likes2 stack adds
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DebinHawaii
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The soup is leftovers from yesterday's Asian-Style Cucumber Soup, so not Soviet cooking but it is today's lunch and I'm taking a work break and getting in some pages of this book for my virtual foodie bookclub. It's one of my current reads for @Liberty 'a #BIRTHDAYSPACE Giveaway. Thanks Liberty for the chance to win and for sharing your Birthday love. 🎉🎂📚🎁🎈

Titania I almost bought this book last year! I'll be watching for your review. 😊 2y
107 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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Jess_Read_This
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"On Sundays Mom invariably ran out of money, which is when she cracked eggs into the skillet over cubes of fried black sourdough bread. It was, I think, the most delicious and eloquent expression of pauperism."

•I highly recommend this one. Listening to her experience in Soviet Russia was interesting.

#BackInTheUSSR #RockinMay #fromrussiawithlove #memoir #cooking #foodie #nonfiction #ussr

Cinfhen I love that sentence and I'm so making those eggs! 2y
Jess_Read_This @Cinfhen Those eggs do sound really good! 🍳 2y
ValerieAndBooks Looks good-- stacking!! 2y
See All 8 Comments
MidnightBookGirl That cover is awesome! 2y
LeahBergen Drat! This was going to be my pick for today, too! 😂 2y
Jess_Read_This @LeahBergen 😊It is a great book.. Post it anyway! You always style your photos so prettily. 💕📚💕 2y
Jess_Read_This @ValerieAndBooks I hope you enjoy it! 2y
Jess_Read_This @MidnightBookGirl I love the cover too! 2y
61 likes5 stack adds8 comments
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MeaMck
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Pickpick

I know it's only the end of April but I'm already calling it; this will be one of the best books I read all year. I will read this again. And again. And probably one more time.

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MaleficentBookDragon
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Considering I am Polish and Ukrainian, it is sad I only have one book about Eastern Europe. I better get on that! #aphotoadaynov16 #SetInEasternEurope

LeahBergen I have this and need to read it soon. 3y
23 likes1 stack add1 comment
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chlobee
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Pickpick

For #cookbooklove I have a historical-autobiographical-food-memoir-travel account that tells the story of the Soviet Union through Russian food, political history, and Anya's childhood memories. The way she blends each of these genres into one fascinating portrait of Soviet life is just wonderful. Her storytelling voice is warm and highly approachable and I loved this book.

In short, history + food = a killer combo. #photoadaynov16

Hobbinol That sounds completely awesome! 3y
chlobee @Hobbinol It was! She chooses a dish/recipe to represent each period of Russian history - such on interesting take on history writing. 3y
MrBook #NoTotsNotACookbook!!! 😂👏🏻 3y
18 likes3 stack adds3 comments
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CrazyLibraryGirl
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Pickpick

Through the lens of food, Bremzen paints a vivid (and funny!) picture of her childhood in the USSR, moving to America, and visits back. There's recipes, too!

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Lydia_Magic
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Pickpick

Absolutely adored this book. A thoughtful #memoir using one fascinating family to tell the foodie history of the #Soviet empire, from tsarist times to today. I learnt a lot, even about periods I'm already familiar with, and there are even recipes to try from each era! Definitely recommend for anyone interested in #Russian life, #politics & #history.

#food #Russia #foodhistory #cooking

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