"... the specificity and breadth of this [work] makes it unique.... lively reading... particularly recommended for academic collections with a strong focus in Russian history." Library Journal
"... a remarkable new collection of essays... The book reads like a literary hybrid of cookbook, historical treatise, and novella; its subject is, literally, the essence of life itself.... Glants and Toomre deserve further praise for the book's consistent, animated directness of style." The Boston Phoenix
This sparkling collection of thirteen original essays gives surprising insights into what foodways reveal about Russia's history and culture, from Kievan times to post Soviet Russia. Some of the chapters focus on historical topics while others consider images of food in literature and art.
Fourteen scholars have contributed 13 essays, each impeccably documented with endnotes, on the place of food ("foodways") in Russian history and culture. Edited by Glants, a specialist on 19th- and 20th-century Russian painting, and Toomre, a Slavicist and culinary historian, the book spans over ten centuries, from Kievan Rus to the present. Relying on sources as diverse as personal journals, police records, paintings, poems, and cookbooks, the writers examine changing attitudes about foodmoral, ideological, and spiritualthrough the eyes of peasants as well as tyrants. Recent works have dealt with the relationship between food and power (Sidney Mintz, Tasting Food, Tasting Freedom, LJ 8/96), but certainly the specificity and breadth of this one makes it unique. Although lively reading, it is particularly recommended for academic collections with a strong focus in Russian history.Wendy Miller, Lexington P.L., Ky.