This fresh book on traditional Russian food sports beautiful photography and enticing recipes. But what really makes it sing is the context that author Darra Goldstein provides: the history, the cultural details, the sense of the Russian mindset at table.
A professor of Russian at Williams College and a respected food scholar, Goldstein is fascinated by the background of the dishes she presents, and particularly of the Russian far north, where ancient foods have endured longer than elsewhere in the country.
Blini, for instance, whose origins lie in pre-Christian Russia, when they were baked on stones. Shan'gi, small open-faced pies made with a rye-flour dough. Brine-fermented whole apples; pork braised with kvass and honey; kisel', the tart rhubarb pudding that evolved from grain porridges.
A few minutes with Beyond the North Wind will remind you of why we prize books that places foods firmly within their culture. Goldstein accomplishes this deftly while presenting an enticing array of food to cook and enjoy.
Hardcover. Color photographs throughout.