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The book of the Book of Tasty and Healthy Food Remembering the food of the past, no matter how bad it was

Illustration of a avish spread from The Book of Tasty and Healthy Food

Home mdae ice cream on a snowy Moscow balcony

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.

Notes

  1. Anna Kharzeeva’s cookery school is the Samovar Cook & Chat Club. She is also on Facebook and Instagram.
  2. Wikipedia has a little information about The Book of Tasty and Healthy Food and the 1952 edition is online in Russian.
  3. Some of the stories and recipes we talked about:
  4. Here is the transcript. Sorry about the delay.
  5. Laughter from Freesound by lonemonk
  6. The ice cream photograph is Anna’s own.

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  1. This podcast reminded me of ‘Please To The Table’ by Anya von Bremzen and John Welchman. I love this cookbook and will be looking forward to Anna Karzeeva’s book and her Grandmother’s input into the book.
    Thank you, I look forward to your podcasts!

    • Even more so, it reminded me of Anya von Bremzen’s Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking. And if you’re interested in Russian food, there will be an episode with Darra Goldstein soon.

    • Rozlyn, thank you so much for your interest! The book is up on Amazon: The Soviet Diet Cookbook: exploring life, culture and history – one recipe at a time. I hope you enjoy it.
      All the best,
      Anna

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