电子艺游平台大全:Fried eggs with jam? A short history of the USSR through its food
Nostalgia for Soviet-era food has gripped the new east in recent years, fuelled by a post-cold war generation who are unfamiliar with the regions classic dishes, and intrigued by a period their elders would now rather forget.
Soviet-style canteens, in Moscow, now serve “” to queues of hipsters while curious westerners can now consult an English-language edition of Soviet cookery bible to try their hand at holubtsi (cabbage rolls).
Olga and Pavel Syutkin’s continues the trend, serving up recipes of Soviet-era classics while delving into the stories behind the dishes to offer a cultural history of the USSR through its food.
Here we’ve selected perhaps not always the tastiest but certainly some of the the most interesting dishes.
Okroshka enjoyed great popularity in the USSR. The reason for its success is simple: it is almost impossible to judge the quality of the ingredients – such as frankfurters, cucumbers or radishes – when they have been diced into cubes and are floating in generous and smetana (sour cream).
But before the Russian revolution the ingredients were quite different, typically high-quality boiled meat (usually beef) or white fish.
But Soviet food shortages served to mangle the original version to such an extent that only the name remained. Initially, the meat was replaced by tongue, offal and scraps. Then, from the end of the 1950s onwards, finely chopped frankfurters or boiled sausage (a common meat substitute during the late Soviet era) became the primary ingredient. As food shortages peaked, a vegetarian variety appeared and occasionally the consumer was in for a further surprise as kvas was replaced with kefir (a fermented milk drink).
A social glue
Aspics (savoury jelly) were a quintessential part of any Soviet feast, in particular New Year’s dinner. Each household would have its own trusted recipe for this cold appetiser: some used only pigs’ trotters while others preferred beef shanks or cows’ heads.
True connoisseurs, however, always mixed different kinds. The thick stock that resulted from cooking the meat would be poured into bowls and taken outside. A domestic fridge just wasn’t cold enough for the aspic to set, but winter temperatures of -15-20C were ideal. Minutes before the Kremlin clock struck midnight, the bowls would be brought back inside, placed on the table, and the party would begin.
Galantine, a dish of boiled or roast meat, fowl, rabbit or fish, served in aspic is another Soviet stalwart. During the the Soviet authorities found 2,000 tonnes of mutton guts which they turned into galantine to feed the starving citizens. In their extreme hunger, people would make galantine from whatever “ingredients” they could find, including wood glue (at that time made from bone and gristle) flavoured with bay leaves.
Blini and caviar
As Soviet leaders tried to build a new way of life following the 1917 revolution, the country collapsed into poverty. In 1918, Elena Molokhovets, whose culinary bible sold hundreds of thousands of copies, died of starvation in St Petersburg.
Under the new regime, the “material luxuries of the nobility” were frowned upon. When the People’s Commissar, Alexander Tsiurupa, fainted from hunger at a government meeting he was hailed as a symbol of communist asceticism and the new proletarian consciousness, and the scene was relayed widely as propaganda.
Before 1917, caviar had been an everyday item, widely available from local grocery stores and a popular accompaniment to blini (pancakes) eaten at inns during Shrovetide. But under the new regime caviar became a symbol of inequality. Rumours spread that even during the harshest years, Kremlin leaders were consuming it by the spoonful.
These whispers were not entirely unfounded. In 1919 Fyodor Raskolnikov, commander of the Volga-Caspian fleet, brought several barrels of black caviar captured from former Tsarist warehouses back to Moscow. At a dinner commemorating the second anniversary of the October Revolution, large bowls of it were served to every guest. Unfortunately the diners were only offered two thin slices of bread, not nearly enough to finish the caviar, so the contents of the barrels featured on Kremlin menus for months to come.
The famous Intourist dish
Opinions about the origins of Chicken Kiev differ. Some claim the dish was invented in the Merchants’ Club of St Petersburg in the early 1910s. Others believe it is derived from a much older Russian dish made from fattened fowl or capons fried so the butter inside didn’t melt.
The dish was resurrected in 1947 thanks to a cook at the Ministry of International Affairs, who served it to diplomats at a reception in Kiev. It then became popular in the restaurants on Khreshchatyk (the city’s main street) and spread to other venues.
Worldwide popularity arrived soon afterwards and eventually the dish was included on the menu of every Intourist restaurant, run by the Soviet organisation responsible for accommodating international guests. As a result, hundreds of thousands of visitors to Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev and Odessa were introduced to the dish, and disseminated its fame.
Fried eggs with jam
The exoneration of eggs
Eggs were one of the first foodstuffs to disappear at the beginning of the second world war, but the Soviet authorities were quick to find a solution, in the powdered eggs provided by the US .
Initially people reacted to powdered eggs with caution, and the government responded by taking coordinated action. One after another, Soviet newspapers featured articles claiming that while powdered eggs contained almost every nutritional benefit known to mankind, regular eggs were filled with pathogens and fats that weakened the body.
In the mid-1950s fresh eggs began to re-emerge on grocery shelves. At first people were understandably doubtful, so the authorities immediately commanded the press to reverse their previous statements and a “new” idea came into vogue: fresh eggs are enormously healthy and nutritious.
Following the end of the war in 1945 and Stalin’s death in 1953, hundreds of thousands of political prisoners returned to their homes, officially “exonerated”. Rumour has it that the great Soviet actress Faina Ranevskaya, famous for her wit, telephoned her friends after reading about the rehabilitation of the humble egg, to exclaim, “What joy! Eggs have just been exonerated!”
In Ranevskaya’s time eggs were fried not only with ham and tomatoes (which were not always easy to come by) but also jam. This was usually homemade in the autumn after the ripe berries and fruit had been picked at family dachas (holiday homes).
Suckling pig with buckwheat
The pig that angered Khrushchev
Increased austerity in communist meant some foods that had once been common became sought-after and expensive and were prepared only on special occasions. A pig stuffed with buckwheat was a perfect example. Previously a simple peasant dish, it was soon available solely to the Communist Party elite during official celebrations.
In May 1962 Nikita Khrushchev was on an official visit to Bulgaria. Arriving at a reception in the Soviet embassy, he entered the banqueting hall and suddenly stood still. The numerous tables were crowded with delicacies: sturgeon, salads, fruit and at the centre of each a golden-brown roasted pig with buckwheat. Seeing Khrushchev’s amazement, the ambassador anticipated praise, if not a medal. But that was far from the First Secretary’s mind.
“Do you think communism has already arrived?” Khrushchev is said to have asked, with a stern expression on his face. “Who gave the order for this?”
The ambassador turned pale. He mumbled something about additional money being allotted by the Council of Ministers to fund both the reception and a charter jet from Moscow to bring in the exquisite food. Khrushchev frowned.
Enraged, he proceeded to one of the tables where, to everyone’s relief, he began to eat. The silence in the hall was broken only by the sound of clinking silverware. It was clear to the ambassador that roasted pig stuffed with buckwheat should not be a feature of a communist menu.
The CCCP Cook Book: True Stories of Soviet Cuisine is published by
A version of this article first , a guide to the new east