What’s Cooking in the Kremlin: From Rasputin to Putin, How Russia Built an Empire with a Knife and Fork

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What’s Cooking in the Kremlin is an intimate look behind the scenes in the Kremlin kitchens where a succession of cooks fixed meals for the Soviet leaders. Their daily fare defied the legendary excess: Lenin favored raw imlk and scrambled eggs, Stalin settled for meat soup and sauerkraut, Kruschev, “a small barrel-shaped apparatchik” chose Ukrainian borscht and dumplings, and for Breznev, fried potatoes and soured milk were satisfactory.

But the book’s unique contribution is outside the Kremlin, where interviews with cooks, some extremely elderly, tell memories of their career. Author Witold Szablowski, a Polish journalist, hears memories of the Great Famine of the early 1930s where soup created from nettles and potatoes spelled survival, and cooks later helped exhume the Red Army soldiers whose belt buckles and medals became valuable souvenirs.

Here is a behind-the-scenes chronicle of working in extreme conditions, none more taxing than in the aftermath of Chernobyl, food prepared and cooked by a staff unaware of the mortal effects of the radiation. When the space program was launched in the 1960s, a mongrel named Laika was catapulted skyward and scarified to enable Yuri Gagarin to become the world’s first cosmonaut. Here is a riveting and fascinating history from a distinctively different perspective.

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Author Witold Szablowski, Antonia Lloyd-Jones
Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 384 pages
Publisher Penguin Publishing Group
Publish Date 07-Nov-2023
ISBN 9780143137184 Buy this Book
Issue November 2023
Category History