I do like this book. It provides a lovely cultural context - the author had a Belorussian granny and went on to study Russian literature so the text is peppered with literary food-based references and reflections on how Russian cooking has changed since the author was travelling as a student in Soviet Russia. Most tricky thing will be dealing with imperial/US cup measurements but the recipes look practical and they're not rammed with esoteric ingredients.
This is a book that has a lot of promise, masses of information yet sadly might only "preach to the converted" due to its somewhat reduced accessibility.
Here is a veritable bible of Russian cuisine, featuring a very comprehensive introduction to a relatively unknown, pre-judged subject and over 200 recipes that you can make at home using locally-acquired ingredients. This is a new "30th Anniversary edition" of this classic book yet, sadly, things have not been brought up to typical production standards for 2013.
There are no photographs of the finished recipes to encourage you to try something possibly unknown or unfamiliar. So you need to be either very open to try new things based on a textual description alone or do some additional research to first learn about a given dish, possibly see a picture elsewhere and then look the recipe up in this book. This is such a let down as this book is more than capable of being the "go to" book, a central part of your reference library, a thing to look through to get inspiration. One feels rather let down by this rather unforgivable omission.
Other than that, everything just goes swimmingly. It is one of those books that you really should read, at least once, sequentially to get the most out it as well as any dipping in and out you may do to get a certain recipe. You really do get a fairly comprehensive education about Russian cuisine by the end and you will want to start cooking. You might even learn a little Russian along the way (or get help should you ever travel to Russia) as the recipes also feature their name in cyrillic.
The recipes are fairly clear to understand and sufficiently detailed but the measures are only given in U.S. units (a strange oversight). With a little more spit and polish to the book's design and the presence of photographs showing the finished dishes this would have been a clear five YUM (star) book, a clear example of a "go to" book for a given cuisine, a great surprise gift for a foodie friend or family member who likes to try something new. As it stands, sadly it is still a very good book but you need to be a bit more determined, more adventurous and open to a bit of external research to really get the most out of it.
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