The Book of Tasty and Healthy Food – Книга о вкусной и здоровой пище – was published in 1939 as a complete guide for Soviet citizens. It was both practical, with recipes and tips on etiquette, hygiene and nutrition, and propaganda, with pictures of lavish spreads that no ordinary citizen would ever enjoy. It was, effectively, the only cookbook most Russians knew, and for a few writers has acted as a springboard to produce a food-based memoir. Latest of these is Anna Kharzeeva, a young Russian woman whose blog posts detailing her adventures cooking from The Book – leavened with the stories of her Granny and Granny’s friends – will shortly be published as a book.
Anna sent me a selection of her online articles to read, and on the basis of those, I set out to discover for myself the allure today of Soviet-era food.
- Anna Kharzeeva’s cookery school is the Samovar Cook & Chat Club. She is also on Facebook and Instagram.
- Wikipedia has a little information about The Book of Tasty and Healthy Food and the 1952 edition is online in Russian.
- Some of the stories and recipes we talked about:
- Here is the transcript. Sorry about the delay.
- Laughter from Freesound by lonemonk
- The ice cream photograph is Anna’s own.