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Please to the Table: The Russian Cookbook

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Beyond borscht: 400 recipes including classic Russian cuisine, Azerbaijani pilafs, Armenian lentil and apricot soup, Ukrainian Chicken Kiev, Uzbek lamb kebabs, and much more. PLEASE TO THE TABLE encompasses the exhilarating pleasures of Soviet cooking—of robust Ukranian borschts and classic Russian cuisine, of healthy Georgian grains and yogurts and the delicately perfumed Beyond borscht: 400 recipes including classic Russian cuisine, Azerbaijani pilafs, Armenian lentil and apricot soup, Ukrainian Chicken Kiev, Uzbek lamb kebabs, and much more. PLEASE TO THE TABLE encompasses the exhilarating pleasures of Soviet cooking—of robust Ukranian borschts and classic Russian cuisine, of healthy Georgian grains and yogurts and the delicately perfumed pilafs of Azerbaijan. Its 400 recipes are a revelation. From the Baltic Republics: Cold Veal Meat Loaf with Horseradish Sauce. Pork Chops with Apples Braised in Beer. Carrot Baba. Estonian Rye Cookies. Black Bread, Apple, and Cherry Pudding. From Russia: Sour Cherry Soup. Shchi. Chicken Cutlets Pozharsky. Steamed Salmon with Sorrel and Spinach Sauce. Fried Potatoes with Wild Mushrooms. Blini. Russian Cranberry Mousse. From the Caucasus: Armenian Lentil and Apricot Soup. Grilled Chicken with Garlic and Walnut Sauce. Grilled Trout with Tarragon. Asparagus with Egg, Garlic, and Lemon Sauce. Saffron Pudding. From Central Asia: Asian Radish Salad. Uzbek Lamb Kebabs. Spicy Carrots with Cumin Seeds. Chicken Pilaf with Nuts and Candied Orange Peel. Poached Quinces. From the Ukraine: Borscht with Apples and Beans. Potato, Feta, and Scallion Salad. Chicken Kiev. Roast Pork Loin with Caraway Seeds. Vareniki. Almond Raspberry Torte. Anya von Bremzen, a native of Moscow who emigrated to the West in the mid-1070s, is a food writer and food consultant. John Welchman is a travel and food writer who, like Ms. Von Bremzen, specializes in writing about the former Soviet Union. Together they spent three years working on PLEASE TO THE TABLE, traveling extensively through the former USSR, visiting professional chefs, touring markets, and sampling and gathering dishes.


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Beyond borscht: 400 recipes including classic Russian cuisine, Azerbaijani pilafs, Armenian lentil and apricot soup, Ukrainian Chicken Kiev, Uzbek lamb kebabs, and much more. PLEASE TO THE TABLE encompasses the exhilarating pleasures of Soviet cooking—of robust Ukranian borschts and classic Russian cuisine, of healthy Georgian grains and yogurts and the delicately perfumed Beyond borscht: 400 recipes including classic Russian cuisine, Azerbaijani pilafs, Armenian lentil and apricot soup, Ukrainian Chicken Kiev, Uzbek lamb kebabs, and much more. PLEASE TO THE TABLE encompasses the exhilarating pleasures of Soviet cooking—of robust Ukranian borschts and classic Russian cuisine, of healthy Georgian grains and yogurts and the delicately perfumed pilafs of Azerbaijan. Its 400 recipes are a revelation. From the Baltic Republics: Cold Veal Meat Loaf with Horseradish Sauce. Pork Chops with Apples Braised in Beer. Carrot Baba. Estonian Rye Cookies. Black Bread, Apple, and Cherry Pudding. From Russia: Sour Cherry Soup. Shchi. Chicken Cutlets Pozharsky. Steamed Salmon with Sorrel and Spinach Sauce. Fried Potatoes with Wild Mushrooms. Blini. Russian Cranberry Mousse. From the Caucasus: Armenian Lentil and Apricot Soup. Grilled Chicken with Garlic and Walnut Sauce. Grilled Trout with Tarragon. Asparagus with Egg, Garlic, and Lemon Sauce. Saffron Pudding. From Central Asia: Asian Radish Salad. Uzbek Lamb Kebabs. Spicy Carrots with Cumin Seeds. Chicken Pilaf with Nuts and Candied Orange Peel. Poached Quinces. From the Ukraine: Borscht with Apples and Beans. Potato, Feta, and Scallion Salad. Chicken Kiev. Roast Pork Loin with Caraway Seeds. Vareniki. Almond Raspberry Torte. Anya von Bremzen, a native of Moscow who emigrated to the West in the mid-1070s, is a food writer and food consultant. John Welchman is a travel and food writer who, like Ms. Von Bremzen, specializes in writing about the former Soviet Union. Together they spent three years working on PLEASE TO THE TABLE, traveling extensively through the former USSR, visiting professional chefs, touring markets, and sampling and gathering dishes.

30 review for Please to the Table: The Russian Cookbook

  1. 4 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. 5 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.

  3. 5 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....) The best egg salad I've ever had was adapted from a recipe in this book. (See: http://orangette.blogspot.com/2011/05....)

  4. 5 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. 5 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.

  6. 5 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 4 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! :-)

  9. 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. 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.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I wish I had this book for exploring world recipes a couple of years ago, but, at the same time, out of 400 recipes, I only found a handful that I found of interest to make. Most either require too many ingredients or ingredients which aren't readily available. The main problem I had with this book was the copy I found was seriously dated. I checked it out from the library and the publication date was 1990, so many of these countries are now independent from the old "Soviet Union." I wish I had this book for exploring world recipes a couple of years ago, but, at the same time, out of 400 recipes, I only found a handful that I found of interest to make. Most either require too many ingredients or ingredients which aren't readily available. The main problem I had with this book was the copy I found was seriously dated. I checked it out from the library and the publication date was 1990, so many of these countries are now independent from the old "Soviet Union."

  11. 4 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. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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!

  14. 5 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. 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.

  15. 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. 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.

  16. 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. 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.

  17. 5 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. 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

    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! 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!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bax

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

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lynda

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

  21. 4 out of 5

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

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

  22. 4 out of 5

    Gayle

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

  23. 4 out of 5

    Marina Bront

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

  24. 5 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. 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.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

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

  26. 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

  27. 5 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. 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.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    Great comprehensive recipes from all over the USSR. There is a lot to work through here, but everything we've tried has been a hit. Great comprehensive recipes from all over the USSR. There is a lot to work through here, but everything we've tried has been a hit.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cole Chalupka

    A little known cuisine with a TON of creativity... I picked up Please to the Table to reconnect with my Eastern European lineage and come up with my own repertoire of dishes that was inspired by my cousins and ancestors in Eastern Europe. At least, that's what I was seeking. What I found was a book with a HUGE diversity of Russian Cuisine, from the Baltics to Georgia. Set before the fall of the USSR, this cookbook contains the flavors of an empire, from border to border. You'll love the anecdotes A little known cuisine with a TON of creativity... I picked up Please to the Table to reconnect with my Eastern European lineage and come up with my own repertoire of dishes that was inspired by my cousins and ancestors in Eastern Europe. At least, that's what I was seeking. What I found was a book with a HUGE diversity of Russian Cuisine, from the Baltics to Georgia. Set before the fall of the USSR, this cookbook contains the flavors of an empire, from border to border. You'll love the anecdotes paired with creative recipes and foreign flavors, such as the Georgian chef who states that the best recipe for his famous Kharcho soup is to "throw in everything that tastes good", or the Turkey Breast and Tomato-Apple puree that encapsulates Russia's fascination with the West (specifically French cooking). From distinct culinary cultures (ie. Central Asian foods) to rich food histories (history of Ukraine and bread-making), this book exquisitely captures the weird and wacky world of Russian cooking. Just maybe substitute out half of the butter😉

  30. 4 out of 5

    Leila Kern

    I perused this book over several days and love what I read. I love the tidbits of the different regions. Brings back memories of my Baba’s cooking when I was a child. Unfortunately, I was unable to locate a recipe that reflects my grandmother’s fried chicken (the chicken was fried but not crunchy after frying); I will have to keep searching, alas). I will certainly be trying some of the recipes! This book is a keeper!

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