Talk:Soviet cuisine

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What's missing?[edit]

Zakusky - assorted cold cuts and sausages, smoked and pickled fish, pickled cucumbers, tomatoes, mushrooms and other vegetables, salads, rye bread. Often accompanied by toasts of vodka, sometimes with women drinking "Shampanskoye" (champagne) instead of vodka. This may be an event in itself, or it may precede dinner.

Soviet Georgia had a tremendously long history of winemaking, dating back to the ultimate origins of winemaking in the Ancient Near East at least four thousand and possibly six thousand years ago. Compared to a few tens of grape varieties used to make wine in the West, there are hundreds of varieties in Georgia.

Unfortunately this history was largely lost on the Soviets, who emphasized quantity of production over quality and subtle distinctions based on grape varieties, soil and climate. Soviet wines were often pedestrian. Soviet Champagne was a bit sweet by western standards, but drinkable. Brandy and "Konyak" were made in Soviet Armenia, but were usually chugged down as fast as vodka. Nevertheless there were exceptions in the form of rarer, more carefully made products for the Soviet elite. Stalin -- who was a Georgian -- was something of a wine conoisseur and may still have had access to the cellars of the tsars. Ordinary Georgians preserved traditional grape varieties in their backyards and produced homemade wines from them.

Vodka is the most widely consumed distilled drink. Soviet quality ranged from world-class down to at least minimally drinkable where legitimate distilleries were concerned. When the Party endeavored to crack down on excesses and reduce overall production, "Samogon" (moonshine) was widely produced and questionable substitutes like cologne, industrial alcohol and even wood polish came into vogue. Deaths from impurities and blindness from methyl alcohol were depressingly commonplace.


Baked goods and sweets - Soviets occasionally enjoyed elaborate "tortes" of the central and eastern european variety. Boxed chocolates were routinely used to bribe officials to expedite things. Wrapped candies made for children commonly had a milk base, similar to caramel or milk chocolate chews. LADave 02:30, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

There's no such thing as "the fourth". "The third" encompasses both the customary tea or coffee and something sweet to accompany it. Or, in the case of kisel' and kompot, both in one go.

Kasha and porridge[edit]

The Russian word "kasha" indeed means porridge in certain contexts (such as ovsyannaya kasha -- oatmeal porridge, mannaya kasha -- semolina, etc.), but these are stand-alone dishes, not side dishes to main courses. When the word "kasha" is used in Russian for a side dish, it usually means "grechnevaya kasha" or "grechka", which is a boiled grain dish enriched with butter, sometimes including fried mushrooms and/or fried onion. This is not porridge: it has the consistency of boiled rice. Since "kasha" in English (or perhaps only American) usage is practically synonymous with this buckwheat dish (see kasha), we can safely use it in Soviet cuisine without looking for English-language substitutes. --Zlerman (talk) 05:42, 3 January 2009 (UTC)