Paperback: 308 pages
Publisher: Hippocrene Books; Revised ed. edition (May 1, 1993)
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #1,726,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #89 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Regional & International > European > Russian
You may have difficulty getting to the recipes, because Alexandra Kropotkin's narrative is so engaging, you'll want to read it through for all of her insight into pre-Soviet Russian life and manners, especially the life and manners of the upper class. It seems as though Ms. Kropotkin had a not-insignificant position at one point (in fact, the man who wrote the forward calls her "Princess"), and she had to flee to England when the revolution came, and she learned to make traditional Russian meals using the ingredients found wherever she happened to be.If you focus on the narrative, however, you will miss the fabulous food. The food is all very rich, and none of it is made with pre-prepared over-processed food, but good solid ingredients like milk and eggs and flour, and of course, sour cream and dill and turnips. Though some of the recipes are time-consuming (the 'yellow consomme' used to make cabbage soup simmers for three hours, for example), they are all accessible to cooks with even a little bit of experience. Princess Kropotkin talks you through the recipes like a good friend or a mother might, leading you every step of the way.
I bought this book because I wanted to introduce my husband to something authentic and I wanted to do it right. The Introduction is very cute, it describes some of the Russian habits in quite exact details which made me convinced that the author knows what she is talking about. There are also 15 chapters that contain recipes by categories from appetizers to desserts, mostly for everyday cooking. But I give this book 4 stars because of several reasons. First, you have to have at least basic culinary skills. The book does not have any illustration, so you have to figured out by yourself how to wrap cabbage leaves for Golubtsi or how to wrap Pelmeni. Second, these recipes were created to use the ingredients bought at local market at the same day they were harvested or produced. There are not much spices being used and when using the store-bought ingredients you might find some of these dishes too plain or bland. But using organic ingredients might help since most of the time it is not the technique, it is the quality of the ingredients that really matters.
The book is unique in its genre. It is not just a compilation of recipes, many of which are truly unique and most of them really genuine. It also provides a thourough overview of the way Russians eat, treat their guests and cook. It is perfectly adopted to the undersyanding of non-native Russian readers but a bit outdated since the last revision by the author dates of early sixites. Enjoyable and very useful reading for all food lovers.
ProThe recipes take into account that this is the US and not Russia -- they make substitutions when ingredients cannot be found here.There are a fair number of recipes. The instructions are reasonably clear.ConSometimes the author seems to be writing a novel instead of a cookbook. There is too much extraneous text to suit me. Some people like that sort of thing, but I prefer a cookbook to be a cookbook.I also found it interesting that the Kindle price is higher than the price of a new paperback copy.
It was in depth and very easy to follow recipes. It also provided recipes in an historical perspective.
Have a 50 year old copy of original, now I don't have to spill on it! i can now share it with friends.
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