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Über dieses Produkt
- KurzbeschreibungA 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 melancholy - and 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.
- AutorAnya Bremzen
- SerieBroadway Books
- VerlagRandom House LCC US
- Seiten368 Seiten
- Gewicht282 g
- LeseprobeChapter One
1910s: The Last Days of the Czars
My mother is expecting guests.
In just a few hours in this sweltering July heat wave, eight people will show up for an extravagant -czarist--era dinner at her small Queens apartment. But her kitchen resembles a building site. Pots tower and teeter in the sink; the food processor and blender drone on in unison. In a shiny bowl on Mom's green -faux--granite counter, a porous blob of yeast dough seems weirdly alive. I'm pretty sure it's breathing. Unfazed, Mother simultaneously blends, sautés, keeps an eye on Chris Matthews on MSNBC, and chatters away on her cordless phone. At this moment she suggests a plump -modern--day elf, multitasking away in her orange Indian housedress.
Ever since I can remember, my mother has cooked like this, phone tucked under her chin. Of course, back in Brezhnev's Moscow in the seventies when I was a kid, the idea of an "extravagant czarist dinner" would have provoked sardonic laughter. And the cord of our antediluvian black Soviet telefon was so traitorously twisted, I once tripped on it while carrying a platter of Mom's lamb pilaf to the low -three--legged table in the cluttered space where my parents did their living, sleeping, and entertaining.
Right now, as one of Mom's ancient émigré friends fills her ear with cultural gossip, that pilaf episode returns to me in cinematic slow motion. Masses of yellow rice cascade onto our Armenian carpet. Biddy, my -two--month--old puppy, greedily laps up every grain, her eyes and tongue swelling shockingly in an instant allergic reaction to lamb fat. I howl, fearing for Biddy's life. My father berates Mom for her phone habits.
Mom managed to rescue the disaster with her usual flair, dotty and determined. By the time guests -arrived - -with an extra four -non--sober -comrades - -she'd conjured up a tasty fantasia from two pounds of the proletarian wurst called sosiski. These she'd cut into -petal--like shapes, splayed in a skillet, and fried up with eggs. Her creation landed at table under provocative -blood--red squiggles of ketchup, that decadent capitalist condiment. For dessert: Mom's equally spontaneous apple cake. -"Guest--at--the--doorstep apple charlotte," she dubbed it.
Guests! They never stopped crowding Mom's doorstep, whether at our apartment in the center of Moscow or at the boxy immigrant dwelling in Philadelphia where she and I landed in 1974. Guests overrun her current home in New York, squatting for weeks, eating her out of the house, borrowing money and books. Every so often I Google "compulsive hospitality syndrome." But there's no cure. Not for Mom the old Russian adage "An uninvited guest is worse than an invading Tatar
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