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Please to the Table: The Russian Cookbook

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From the robust foods of the Baltic states to the delicately perfumed pilafs of Azerbaijan, from borscht and beef stroganoff to the grains and yogurts of Georgia, Anya von Bremzen and John Welchman take Westerners on a spectacular tour of the many and varied cuisines of the fifteen former Soviet republics. Anya von Bremzen, a native Muscovite, grew up on regional cooking a From the robust foods of the Baltic states to the delicately perfumed pilafs of Azerbaijan, from borscht and beef stroganoff to the grains and yogurts of Georgia, Anya von Bremzen and John Welchman take Westerners on a spectacular tour of the many and varied cuisines of the fifteen former Soviet republics. Anya von Bremzen, a native Muscovite, grew up on regional cooking and has traveled extensively throughout the former Soviet Union, visiting professional chefs, touring markets, and sampling and gathering dishes. Covering eleven time zones and hundreds of recipes, Please to the Table brings to light the astounding culinary diversity of this corner of the world-and the similarities between the cuisines, too. Here are Byelorussion Mushroom Croquettes, Armenian Stuffed Mussels, and dozens of other zakuski-the "little bites" that are the heart and soul of Russian meals. Soups from Armenian Lentil and Apricot Soup to Lithuanian Apple Soup with Apple Dumplings. Dozens of entrees including Uzbek Lamb Pilaf, Russian Salmon with Sorrel and Spinach, Azerbaijani Quail in Walnut and Pomegranate Sauce, Armenian Pumpkin Moussaka. And side dishes, salads, beverages, and desserts such as Russian Cranberry Mousse and an Almond and Pistachio Paklava. Plus vatrushki, pampushki, halushki, blinchiki, sirniki, and pirozhki. Winner of the 1990 James Beard Food and Beverage Book Award. Selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club's Homestyle Books and the Better Homes & Gardens Family Book Service. 58,000 copies in print. Priy.tnova Apetita-good appetite!

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30 review for Please to the Table: The Russian Cookbook

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    A spectacular feat of regional Russian cuisine, from the French-inspired recipes enjoyed by the elite of past eras to dishes from the borders. I understand why the French recipes were included but I think I would have left them to a French cookbook. There are helpful inserts on holidays, regional favorites, and even ideas for menus (three Russian tea menus and my imagination went wild.) You won't find any pictures of the dishes, however, and for me that made this less than a five star book. For A spectacular feat of regional Russian cuisine, from the French-inspired recipes enjoyed by the elite of past eras to dishes from the borders. I understand why the French recipes were included but I think I would have left them to a French cookbook. There are helpful inserts on holidays, regional favorites, and even ideas for menus (three Russian tea menus and my imagination went wild.) You won't find any pictures of the dishes, however, and for me that made this less than a five star book. For more context and story to the cuisine, I also recommend her more recent book, Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    The best egg salad I've ever had was adapted from a recipe in this book. (See: http://orangette.blogspot.com/2011/05....)

  3. 4 out of 5

    John Sgammato

    I come back to this book again and again. Everything I have made from it has been interesting and delicious (of course, I have not made the things that look yucky...) Tomorrow night I'll serve visitng friends the Kulebiaka (a guaranteed crowd-pleaser and showstopper) and the orange-hazelnut buttercream torte (my wife's absolute favorite). The Armenian Stuffed Pumpkin is a perfect centerpiece for a vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner. The red peppers stuffed with feta, the sauerkraut with mushrooms, t I come back to this book again and again. Everything I have made from it has been interesting and delicious (of course, I have not made the things that look yucky...) Tomorrow night I'll serve visitng friends the Kulebiaka (a guaranteed crowd-pleaser and showstopper) and the orange-hazelnut buttercream torte (my wife's absolute favorite). The Armenian Stuffed Pumpkin is a perfect centerpiece for a vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner. The red peppers stuffed with feta, the sauerkraut with mushrooms, the mushrooms with Madeira... so many wonderful dishes! And I love the cultural information, too. Her writing is easy and enjoyable to read - this is a cookbook to read in a comfy chair on a winter night.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    This is almost a 5-star book... but there's no 'recipe' for Kymyz - a fermented mare's milk beverage that has almost magical curative properties when you have a serious case of food poisoning or other digestive ailments while camping in the Kyrgyz mountains, and happens to taste just like effervescent baco-bits. Although kymyz is referenced in the book (as Kumiss), with the omission of instructions on how to make or approximate this beverage, and the significant role it plays in Kyrgyz culture, This is almost a 5-star book... but there's no 'recipe' for Kymyz - a fermented mare's milk beverage that has almost magical curative properties when you have a serious case of food poisoning or other digestive ailments while camping in the Kyrgyz mountains, and happens to taste just like effervescent baco-bits. Although kymyz is referenced in the book (as Kumiss), with the omission of instructions on how to make or approximate this beverage, and the significant role it plays in Kyrgyz culture, I just can't bring myself to say it was 'amazing.' Almost, but not quite. It's also tough to get hold of a copy, as it's out of print... but luckily, you can read it for free at openlibary.org.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

    I first ran across this cookbook about 16 years ago when a Russian American friend loaned it to me for a short while. Recently, I was looking for some Russian Easter recipes and remembered this book, and found a good used copy on Ebay. I had saved many of the recipes years before, and it was great revisiting them here along with other recipes that will be on my to-do list. The author also includes chapters on various Soviet Union Republics and their cuisines, which provides some great context. If I first ran across this cookbook about 16 years ago when a Russian American friend loaned it to me for a short while. Recently, I was looking for some Russian Easter recipes and remembered this book, and found a good used copy on Ebay. I had saved many of the recipes years before, and it was great revisiting them here along with other recipes that will be on my to-do list. The author also includes chapters on various Soviet Union Republics and their cuisines, which provides some great context. If you're interested in ethnic cuisines of the world, give this book a try, as it scans from Eastern Europe to Central Asia. I think you'll find plenty here to try in your home kitchen.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Adrienne Harris

    I use this book all the time--for parties for our Russian club (I'm a Russian professor), for coffee hour at our Orthodox church, for our family. I LOVE the eggplant caviar recipe. I use the pirozhki recipe frequently. I love the descriptions of foods. I highly recommend this cookbook!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    I've made several things I enjoy very much - vegetable caviar and hot horseradish sauce. The commentary on the culture of various parts of the former soviet union is also fascinating.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lin

    I have used it for over 20 years. It has a great selection by regions. Recipes are easy to follow.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Claudia Majetich

    This book won awards when it was first published in 1990. Maybe it was groundbreaking then, but I don't find it particularly inspiring. I was interested that she feels that baba, not babka, is the "real pride and joy of eastern European and western Russian cooking." I was brought up on babka, which I still love; I never heard of baba until I discovered the French baba au rhum. Perhaps babka became more popular in U.S. among immigrant communities? Her potato pancake recipe and commentary is also This book won awards when it was first published in 1990. Maybe it was groundbreaking then, but I don't find it particularly inspiring. I was interested that she feels that baba, not babka, is the "real pride and joy of eastern European and western Russian cooking." I was brought up on babka, which I still love; I never heard of baba until I discovered the French baba au rhum. Perhaps babka became more popular in U.S. among immigrant communities? Her potato pancake recipe and commentary is also interesting, but I wonder why she didn't mention that potato pancakes were ubiquitous, especially among the poorer folks.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Callie

    I love this cookbook. It's very comprehensive, with recipes from all the republics of the former Soviet Union. The recipes are easy to follow and seem authentic. I've made a few things from this already (just received it at Christmas) and plan to make many more. In addition to the recipes, there are quotes from great Russian writers and others scattered throughout, introductions to some of the republics and their cuisine, and many interesting tidbits. There's actually a lot to read in this cookb I love this cookbook. It's very comprehensive, with recipes from all the republics of the former Soviet Union. The recipes are easy to follow and seem authentic. I've made a few things from this already (just received it at Christmas) and plan to make many more. In addition to the recipes, there are quotes from great Russian writers and others scattered throughout, introductions to some of the republics and their cuisine, and many interesting tidbits. There's actually a lot to read in this cookbook aside from the recipes.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    This is a FABULOUS Russian cookbook. I've owned it for a number of years and cooked many recipes from it. They are all great. The beef stroganoff is always impressive for guests. I love the sour cream pastry dough for little piroshki with cabbage filling. The Mushroom Tokana is a great option for vegetarians. The one recipe requested again and again in our household is the Garlic Mashed Potatoes, decadent but worth it. I highly recommend this cookbook.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Fluegge

    I heard about this English-language Russian cookbook while we were in Russia (imagine that). I only recently (in the last year or so) got my own copy, and I love it! I should really cook more Russian food, but there is one time of year that I do for sure--the International Dinner at the end of Missions Conference in the spring. Which is just a week or so away! So this book will be pulled off the shelves shortly and used! :-)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Woodman

    We love this cookbook--it encompasses the cuisine of the greater Russia (considering they just invaded Georgia this week, perhaps they are not so pleased to be included under the umbrella of Russian cuisine) and we have made many favorites--walnut sauce, borcht, things with pomegranates, and varenike to name a few, and we will make many more in days to come

  14. 4 out of 5

    Elisse

    I love cookbooks- I buy them to read even more than to work from! I loved her book on Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking, and so I had to get this! The info on all the cuisines of the various countries within the former Soviet Union is great, and the recipes are, too- I have dogeared MANY pages of things I want to makes, especially the Georgian recipes!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    It's not the most practical cookbook I own, and I've rarely used a recipe in it as written, but it is a facinating cultural guidebook. I'm sure the recipes are great, but like many books of unaltered ethnic cuisine, the dishes are either very plain or have a long list of ingredients which are expensive, hard to find, and you aren't likely to use often.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Angelar

    I really like this cookbook, but I keep reading it and not making anything from it because it's not winter in Russia and other cookbooks I have floating around keep stealing its thunder. Tons of appetizing recipes and lots of interesting writing on what are now the Former Soviet Republics.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Larry Edwards

    If you want to get into Russian food, this is a pretty good introduction. I have enjoyed the dishes I have prepared from it. Most of the dishes are pretty basic but when you're learning a cuisine, that is pretty much what you want.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cyndi

    There is something special about a cookbook that also tells the story behind the foods and the culture. Please to the Table does this so well, the author brings you with her on her journey, see the places and "taste" the dishes through her words.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Yaaresse

    There aren't a lot of Russian cookbooks out there that can both work in US kitchens and be educational about food/culture. This one is extensive. No photos, which is fine with me, and it doesn't lie flat without breaking the spine, but the font is large and clear and the book well-organized.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lina

    I'm obsessed with this cookbook. I've made at least a dozen recipes so far and they are all SO GOOD. Would love to see an updated version someday.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Bax

    Best cookbook on Russian food I've come across. Lots of exotic, delicious & well composed recipes.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gayle

    Wonderful information, even if you never try a recipe!! (I've only tried a couple.)

  23. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    Really fun cookbook with a great blend of historical information and Soviet ethnic cuisines.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mazzou B

    Despite the unpleasant and confusing cover, and the picture-less interior, this is an excellent cookbook packed with delicious and better yet, authentic recipes!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Marina Bront

    Lots of familiar recipes and also new ones. Interesting to read the other interesting facts too.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lynda

    This is a great cookbook. I love ethnic cooking and Russian recipes are among my favorites.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ms. S...........

    I use this cookbook frequently. Authentic and varied recipes from the many regions of the Motherland.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bree

    Notes: this book is huge and a bit overwhelming but there are several good recipes we tried; history stuff at the beginning of each section is interesting

  29. 5 out of 5

    John Mauro

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mmthomas

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