Published November 01, 2012

A Taste of Russia

  • by Darra Goldstein

A Taste of Russia
  • 302 pages
  • ISBN: 978-1-940585-03-1
  • $25
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This 30th Anniversary Edition of A Taste of Russia is the definitive modern cookbook on Russian cuisine, layering superbly researched recipes with informative essays on the dishes' rich historical and cultural context.

With over 200 recipes on everything from borshch to blini, from Salmon Coulibiac to Beef Stew with Rum, from Marinated Mushrooms to Walnut-honey Filled Pies, A Taste of Russia shows off the best that Russian cooking has to offer. Full of great quotes from Russian literature about Russian food and designed in a convenient wide format that stays open during use. [See sample recipes and layout here.] 


Professional Reviews


“Goldstein... manages to make Russian cuisine dance. It’s hard to imagine anything that might have been left out of this delightfully comprehensive collection.”

Publishers Weekly


“The imaginative range of the selection would be enlightening in itself even without the multitudinous snippets from Chekhov, Gogol and Oblomov. First rate.”

Kirkus Reviews


“This is simply the best and most complete book on Russian cooking in English.”

— Suzanne Massie

Reader Reviews

"This is a great book on the food of Russia and the culture also. All too many times we seem to channel Russian cuisine into a few simple dishes. Granted the few simple dishes we view as "Russian" are grand and quite tasty, we tend to shove aside the rich culinary history this country has and the peoples grand capacity to share and truly enjoy food and life. Many times it has been written of the sharing and emphasis of food and being together to enjoy it in other european cuisines, however Russia tends to be overlooked in the cloud of past paranoia of the political state of the land. Ms. Goldstein gets beyond that and makes it clear that food is the binding stuff of a country and of people just as it is in this country and all around this globe." {John T. Suhr / Amazon}

"Having spent a lot of time working in the former Soviet Union, and trying to reconstruct many of the wonderful and interesting dishes from various republics, I was delighted to find a book that "translated", "a pinch of this and a gram of that" into something I could understand and make with products available to me here in the US. I recommend this cookbook to anyone who has tried food from Eastern Europe, enjoyed it and wants to bring it up to our standards. The book is so popular with my friends that I keep giving it as a gift."  {T. Davignon / Amazon}

"I spent a month visiting Russia. I tried to sample as many Russian dishes as possible. I eat in homes, small town cafes, etc. On my return, I was looking for a cookbook that had the foods I tasted. This cookbook brings true Russian cooking to the USA table. If you want to enjoy tasty Russian meals without going to visit Russia, this is the cookbook for you." {G.L. Dickerson / Amazon}

"I first found this book on sale, years ago, at a Catherine the Great museum exhibit. I bought it and tried out some of the recipes. My favorite recipes were the Baked Apples (very simple to make) and the Black Bread (a bit more time consuming, but worth it). It seems the author wanted to maintain the authenticity of true Russian cuisine. If you want to try cooking some Russian style foods, I would highly recommend this book." {J. Carroll / Amazon}

"Hooray for Russian food! If you haven't tried it, you should. And while no effort to duplicate the fresh, tasty, and attractive cuisine of Russia quite measures up (no pun intended)to having it in country, these recipes come as close as you will get on this side of the world. I bought this years ago when my ache for pelmini, borsch, plov, and many other favorites became overwhelming. It's definitely my go-to cookbook when I need a Taste of Russia in between trips." {Jeanette Morris / Amazon}

About the Author

Dr. Darra Goldstein is Food Editor at Russian Life magazine and the author of four cookbooks: A Taste of Russia, The Georgian Feast (winner of the IACP Julia Child Award for cookbook of the year), The Winter Vegetarian, and Baking Boot Camp at the CIA. She is Founding Editor of the quarterly magazine Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture, published by University of California Press. Goldstein is the Francis Christopher Oakley Third Century Professor of Russian at Williams College and widely considered to be a leading authority on Russian cooking and culinary arts. Her website is here.

Seven Myths About Russian Cuisine

  • It’s just meat and potatoes. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, a typical Russian feast starts with a table brimming with salads made from fresh vegetables, pickled foods, cheeses and smoked fish.
  • It’s heavy. Only if you want it to be. A well-prepared Russian meal draws on a wide range of fresh dairy, fish, and garden-grown products. It can be very rich, yes, but rich does not have to equal heavy.
  • It’s fattening. Not so. Russian cuisine emphasizes whole foods, whether grain, dairy or vegetables.
  • It’s just an excuse to drink vodka. Vodka is the national drink and for hundreds of years has been an integral part of the Russian dining experience (especially the rich array of infused vodkas), but that doesn’t mean it should be taken to excess. Vodka, by the way, is especially compatible with the preserved foods that are so central to Russian cuisine.
  • It’s too time-consuming. Fine for the Russian Tea Room. But for my home?! Unless you decide to labor for hours over a perfect coulibiac, home-style Russian cooking doesn’t take very much time at all. Soups can simmer on their own for hours, while fresh salads can be prepared in a flash.
  • It’s little more than 101 Ways to Cook Cabbage. Yes, cabbage, served fresh, preserved and cooked, has a strong supporting role on the Russian table, but it never steals the scene. Russian cuisine is anything but monochromatic.
  • It doesn’t offer any good desserts. Well, the proof is in the kasha, and if you’ve ever had Guriev kasha, you know Russians love creamy deserts, airy tortes and flaky pies. A Taste of Russia includes over three-dozen mouth-watering dessert recipes.  

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