Did you know that Russian cuisine – traditional and contemporary home cooking is not just a collection of recipes but a detailed exploration of Russian culinary history, exploring links between art and food as well as a detailed account of evolution of traditional cooking.
Here is a little preview:
The Prodrazverstka Campaign.
By the end of 1918 the First world War was over but a civil war continue in Russia until 1923. The newly formed Sovit government tried to fix the deficit by initiating prodrazverstka, a violent campaign of confiscating grain, cattle, poultry and any other edible goods from village dwellers. The government used the confiscated goods to feed the army and ammunition manufacturers, and then sold whatever was left to the common people in the cities. The prodrazvestka confiscated absolutely everything edible, including seeds, which meant that crops could not be planted for the next year and cattle could not be fed. The campaign caused a vast number of cattle deaths and contributed to people’s hardships.
in Moscow and St. Petersbourg black markets flourished – people were selling precious works of art as well as gold, silver, heirlooms and clothes for pennies, just to buy a small piece of bread, if they were lucky enough to find one.
The government opened up a chain of specialty stores called Torgsin (abbreviated from torgovlya s inostrancami – which means “trade with foreigners”). In these stores, people were able to buy luxury food items – chocolate, coffee, caviar, fruit – in exchange for foreign currency, gold, silver or jewelry. However, since valuables were usually confiscated during home searches (which could be conducted without a warrant and were a relatively common occurrence), not many people could take advantage of the Torgsin.
See the rest of the story in my book