5. Food and Cooking in Revolutionary and Soviet Russia

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Daniela Steila

Abstract

In tsarist Russia, with both indigenous and foreign cuisine being very popular, since the middle of the 19th century the figure of the revolutionary took ascetic features. The 1917 revolution saw a prevalence of the scientific aspects of nutrition and its collective organization over any ‘culinary’ consideration. Nevertheless, during the 1920s, some cookbooks adapted pre-revolutionary culinary traditions to post- revolutionary conditions. But again and again the country would meet dramatic situations as far as food production and distribution were concerned. At the end of the Twenties, the system of communal dining faced a serious crisis, when local governement was forced to help starving people rather than organize collective canteens. Alongside with industrialization of food production (in which A. Mikojan had a crucial role), nutrition was again considered as a pleasure in the 1930s, when Stalinism started to present the Soviet society as accomplished. Often disregarded in Russian revolutionary movements, food became an important element in the propaganda of the Soviet way of life. 

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