Soviet posterFederal Agency for Tourism
Dressed herring (‘herring under a fur coat’), doktorskaya sausage (doctor’s sausage), and sprats are sold in ‘Russian stores’ from São Paulo and New York to Sydney and Hong Kong.
For millions of people, this is the taste of their childhood, and they continue to love it. Many of these dishes became permanent fixtures on restaurant menus.
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The massive continent called ‘Soviet cuisine’ did not emerge out of the blue and did not disappear overnight. In fact, it did not disappear at all. The state no longer determines proper nutrition for its citizens, but even those who were born after the collapse of the USSR feel the strong pull of this continent’s magnetic field.
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The recipes and products that appeared during the Soviet period became a cultural code for people living in the countries that made up the USSR, and even for people who had left those countries.
Breakfast by Proximity RussiaFederal Agency for Tourism
Eat Breakfast Like a King
The old aphorism ‘eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper’ was reflected in the most popular healthy diet in the USSR. People in the Soviet Union liked to have a hearty breakfast. Rich porridges, cheesecake made from tvorog (quark, or farmer’s cheese), and eggs sunny-side up with fried doktorskaya sausage were cooked at home and eaten at cafes and school cafeterias. We have compiled a list of traditional Soviet-era breakfast dishes for you.
Everyone – especially children – ate something sweet for breakfast. The easiest sweet breakfast dish to make was cream of wheat porridge with jam. Breakfast regularly – but not as frequently – featured wheat porridge (often with pumpkin or quark), buckwheat porridge (often with pumpkin or quark), buckwheat porridge (which could also be sweet), and oatmeal – porridge made from ground oats.
Syrniki With Smetana
People usually cooked syrniki at home. At schools, kindergartens, and cafeterias, cooks tended to prefer zapekanka made from tvorog – cheesecake made with farmer’s cheese – with raisins, which required less effort for more portions. Since mothers and grandmothers were usually better cooks than cafeteria workers, syrniki remain a favourite dish for many, while zapekanka does not inspire quite as much loyalty.
Blini And Oladyi
Oladyi and blinchiki made from batter with baking powder were the Soviet standard for breakfast both at home and in food service. Russian tradition dictated that blini be served with something savory, but in the Soviet era, with its concern for sufficient dietary calorie intake, blinchiki with jam, condensed milk, or smetana, often including sugar, were bestsellers.
The quickest breakfast to make was a sandwich with butter and Russian cheese or sausage. Sandwiches were also the most popular take-away food. If a person’s workplace or school did not have a cafeteria, they could have a sandwich and a cup of tea for lunch.
Fried Eggs And Sausages
This was the standard ‘bachelor’s’ recipe, but everyone cooked it. Cracking two eggs into a pan together with a couple of slices of doktorskaya sausage and frying for five minutes was easy and convinient for busy mothers and cooks at cafés that served breakfast.
A much-loved addition to porridges, syrniki, and grenki. Sweetened condensed milk could be stored forever, was present in the majority of households, and could be used to dress almost any dish. Another product was milk caramel, which was made by boiling cans of condensed milk in a pot for several hours to make the milk caramelize into a thick cream the color of milk chocolate.
Сhief Сonsultant — Ekaterina Drozdova, restaurateur, gastronomic entrepreneur, food and social activist, Contributors — Anna Kukulina, Proximity Russia, Translation Services Win-Win, Andrey Shmakov