Soup and Revolution: why we know so little about the true Russian cuisine

Soup and Revolution: why we know so little about the true Russian cuisine

Soviet power Russian cuisine has changed beyond recognition. Some dishes were missing, others lost a large part of the ingredients. Now it’s time to “gather stones”: some modern restaurateurs trying to invent “new Russian cuisine”, and others — to create a “new Russian public catering” with the support of the government. What does it do?

“Smell anything yet, but it looks damn strange,” the girl with disbelief pokes with a fork in a pinkish mass on a glass dish. So begins with over 7 million views on Youtube video Buzzfeed.

In it the aliens are trying Russian food: first, the herring under a fur coat, on the list for a tasting of boiled sausage, jelly and bacon. It would seem that the standard for the new year table set. Here only to Russian cuisine, it is almost irrelevant.

Actually, the single concept of Russian cuisine was never.

First, the varied diets of the regions, says researcher of the Institute of Ethnology and anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences Paul Serin. The same dish cooked in different recipes: for example, where a soup was prepared from Hogweed, but somewhere — out of beets.

Secondly, different social strata eat different. For example, in Moscow of Ivan the terrible best-seller on the provided tables was Swan meat under a layer of dough.

For dessert, the rich people prefer melons grown directly in Moscow, written by Paul and Olga Syutkini in the book “the True history of Russian cuisine”.

But poor Muscovites diet was rather poor: in the worst case drinking water with dissolved flour in the best — something like “ready soup” based on cheese powder.

But in General about the kitchen in those years little is known, add Sutkin The main source of information — the diaries of foreign ambassadors in Moscow.

Most of them complain that Russian food not seasoned with salt and pepper, but add as many onions and garlic that is absolutely impossible. In General, the reaction of the ambassadors in the same way as the Americans from the movie Buzzfeed.

A window to Europe

In the time of Peter to foreigners has become easier: the Russian cooking a predictable start to copy European recipes as well as absorbed Asian. “Russified” dumplings, by the way, of the latter.

And yet, although regional discrepancies and lack of information, some constants are known.

National Russian cuisine of the XIX century was characterized by seasonality and religious influence: the diet varied in accordance with positions, explains the serine from the wounds. It was a lot of sour and baked, grilled meals were cooked rare.

Salads, burgers and cakes are not eaten at all, he adds. But it was a very popular cereal, soup and ingenious baking. The aristocratic kitchen was fond of foreign recipes in the first place French adds Syutkin.

Culinary coup

Everything changed the Revolution of 1917. The first decades of Soviet power took place under the romantic motto: “a New person — a new life.” The change in the social aspects of cooking — where people are taking food, how to eat, with whom to share — changing society, argues Professor of philosophy at the Moscow Higher school of Economics Kirill Martynov.

The Soviet citizen had to eat fast, cheap, and most importantly — without the job and team. In this paradigm are not equally fit and fine cuisine of the aristocratic dishes, and people’s pies for the four corners, to prepare which we had for hours.

Like other early Soviet utopian ideas, the desire to create a new system of power, many were greeted with enthusiasm.

“I worked at the Stanislavsky. I was assigned the role of dogs” — seriously told some newspaper an employee of the slaughterhouse.

The play, which was preparing to make the girl began with the passage: “We, the Soviet sausage, widely penetrated the masses.”

Stanislavsky could not dream of such a transformation: man plays that he makes, ironically, in his book “Catering. Mikoyan and Soviet cuisine” Irina Glushchenko.

Later, the catering brand has become antiracist. Until now, many cafes attract visitors with the slogan “tasty like at home”, continues Martynov from the HSE. The idea is that it should be the opposite: after preparing the professionals, and home — lovers. But the Soviet people knew: at home at least you will not regret ingredients.

Catering would have appeared, even if the revolution did not happen.Paul Suckingwomen historian

According to him, such a power supply system gave rise to industrial society — working table with a standard set of dishes were French and American factories.

By the way, the idea of his famous meatballs Anastas Mikoyan assembled just in one of the American canteens, writes Glushchenko. However, there are these meatballs were served inside the Burger.