Are you finding lockdown means you need new ideas, new challenges, to help you break out?
How about discovering the opulence of pre-revolutionary Russia…the stories behind the banquets and the recipes used for creating feasts fit for a royal household? And then trying those recipes for yourself!
“Courtly Feasts to Kremlin Banquets” is a brilliantly-researched and beautifully-illustrated Russian bestseller that has just been translated into English and adapted by the founder of our agency Marina Gorge. It details numerous menus from inside the Russian imperial household, together with their full recipes (usefully including ingredients and alternatives in both UK and US measurements).
However, this book is not only for those lovers of food with an appetite for discovering exciting gastronomic delights. The 204-page volume contains a wealth of historical information about Russian cuisine from the 16th century, as well as providing an understanding of the rich tapestry of extravagant ceremonies around the great feasts. Not only the magnificent grandeur of individual courtly feasts but also of the successive generations of nobility actively vying with each other to surpass the splendour created by their predecessors. Russian hospitality has always exuded a special vitality and sense of warm-hearted sociability. In Old Russia we find that there was also a significant link between the imperial household’s hospitality, the teachings of the Orthodox Church and a concern for, and generosity to, their subjects.
The political and social history of Russia has seen some very violent changes. The more shocking the political events of a country, the more brutal the cultural changes can be. At times, the differences between the past and the present are so extreme that one is faced with completely different worlds. However, despite dramatic and often heart-breaking upheavals, it is important to remember and understand how those distant roots have helped to nourish the present.
“Modern society contemptuously dismisses and sneers at the former way of life and deliberately breaks any connection with a past that would always have been held to be so dear at the time.” These words of writer, historian and theatre critic Yevgeny Opochinin were published in 1909, before the full horror of the revolutionary upheaval. The relevance of such remarks is surely as valid now as then.
Throughout history, special events have been an important means for ensuring the continuance of traditions from one generation to the next, and symbolic meanings can still be found, if one only knows the stories from the past. One just has to know where to look.
So, it is time to raise a toast in memory of bygone custom and tradition and to celebrate that great warm-hearted generosity of the Russian people. Featuring a foreword and epilogue from Princess Olga, one of the surviving Romanoffs, this is a book not to be missed.
You can buy this book by following the link below: