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* WINNER OF THE 2014 GUILD OF FOODWRITERS FOOD BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD *

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 Soviet Cooking is a book that stirs the soul as well as the senses.

Reviews

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

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780552777476

    July 1, 2014

    Black Swan

    448 pages

    RRP $22.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
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    • Boomerang Books
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    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781446463529

    September 12, 2013

    Transworld Digital

    448 pages

    RRP $32.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • iBooks
    • Kobo
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

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