Author(s): Anya von Bremzen
"Born in a surreal Moscow communal apartment where eighteen families shared one kitchen, Anya von Bremzen grew up singing odes to Lenin, black-marketeering Juicy Fruit gum at school, and longing for a taste of the mythical West. It was a life by turns absurd, drab, naively joyous, melancholy and, finally, intolerable. In 1974, when Anya was ten, she and her mother fled to the USA, with no winter coats and no right of return. These days, Anya is the doyenne of high-end food writing. And yet, the flavour of Soviet kolbasa, like Proust's madeleine, transports her back to that vanished Atlantis known as the USSR . In this sweeping, tragicomic memoir, Anya recreates seven decades of the Soviet experience through cooking and food, and reconstructs a moving family history spanning three generations. Her narrative is embedded in a larger historical epic- Lenin's bloody grain requisitioning, World War II starvation, Stalin's table manners, Khrushchev's kitchen debates, Gorbachev's disastrous anti-alcohol policies and the ultimate collapse of the USSR. And all of this is bound together by Anya's sardonic wit, passionate nostalgia and piercing observations. Mastering the Art of Sov
A mother and daughter relive their memories of 20th-Century Russia through cooking and food...
"Moving and darkly comic" -- Niki Segnit The Sunday Times "Heartbreakingly poignant and laugh-out-loud funny. This is an important book, a must read!" Heston Blumenthal "Vastly entertaining... A real treat." Woman & Home "The culinary memoir has lately evolved into a genre of its own... But Anya von Bremzen is a better writer than most of the genre's practitioners, as this delectable book, which tells the story of postrevolutionary Russia through the prism of one family's meals, amply demonstrates. von Bremzen moves artfully between historical longshots...and intimate details. The descriptions of meals are delightful..." New York Times "By turns funny, tragic and nostalgic, this is a wonderful, fascinating volume, which puts a human face on the grim pages of the history books" The Lady
Anya von Bremzen has been many things: as a child in the Soviet Union, she was the granddaughter of the former head of Naval intelligence, and thus a bona fide member of the nomenklatura; she was also the daughter of a disaffected dissident; a child actress; a piano prodigy. Then, because of political repressions in Brezhnev-era Russia, she and her mother became emigres, to America. Eventually, when an injury ended her piano career, she reinvented herself as one of the most accomplished food writers of her generations: the author of five acclaimed cookbooks, the recipient of three James Beard awards, and a contributing editor at Travel + Leisure magazine. Anya's articles have also appeared in The New Yorker, Food & Wine, Saveur, and the Los Angeles Times. She divides her time between New York City and Istanbul.