Alison K. Smith, "Cabbage and Caviar: A History of Food in Russia" (Reaktion Books, 2021)

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When people think of Russian food, they generally think either of the opulent luxury of the tsarist aristocracy or of post-Soviet elites, signified above all by caviar, or on the other hand of poverty and hunger--of cabbage and potatoes and porridge. Both of these visions have a basis in reality, but both are incomplete. The history of food and drink in Russia includes fasts and feasts, scarcity and, for some, at least, abundance. It includes dishes that came out of the northern, forested regions and ones that incorporate foods from the wider Russian Empire and later from the Soviet Union. Cabbage and Caviar: A History of Food in Russia (Reaktion Books, 2021) places Russian food and drink in the context of Russian history and shows off the incredible (and largely unknown) variety of Russian food.

Alison Smith is Professor and Chair of History at the University of Toronto.

Steven Seegel is Professor of Slavic and Eurasian Studies at The University of Texas at Austin.

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