Russian Cuisine in Exile

Russian Cuisine in Exile


Alexander Genis & Pyotr Vail
Edited and translated by Angela Brintlinger and Thomas Feerick

ISBN: 9781618117304 (paper)
Pages: approx. 150 pp.
Publication Date: October 2018


Russian Cuisine in Exile brings the essays of Pyotr Vail and Alexander Genis, originally written in the mid-1980s, to an English-speaking audience. A must-read for scholars, students and general readers interested in Russian studies, but also for specialists in émigré literature, mobility studies, popular culture, and food studies. These essays—beloved by Russians in the U.S., the Russian diaspora across the world, and in post-Soviet Russia—narrate everyday experiences and re-imagine the identities of immigrants through their engagement with Russian cuisine. Richly illustrated and beautifully produced, the book has been translated “not word for word, but smile for smile,” to use the phrase of Vail and Genis’s fellow émigré writer Sergei Dovlatov. Translators Angela Brintlinger and Thomas Feerick have supplied copious authoritative and occasionally amusing commentaries.

Angela Brintlinger is fascinated with Russian language and culture. She has written, edited and translated numerous books and articles about Russian literature and has taught several generations of students at Ohio State University, including co-translator Thomas Feerick, who is currently pursuing his PhD at Northwestern University.

Table of Contents

Preface (Angela Brintlinger)
Introduction: Expressions of the Soul
1. The Clay Pot – A Repository of Tradition
2. Tea is not Vodka – You can’t drink too much
3. The Scent of Cabbage Soup
4. Walking on Eggshells
5. Back to the Chicken!
6. The Soul of Solyanka
7. Fish Tales
8. Vital Forces
9. An Unfashionable Virtue
10. I’ll Have the Kharcho!
11. Sharlotka, a Russian Name
12. The Anti-Semitic Lily
13. A Chameleon Lunch
14. In Search of Lost Appetite
15. Our Underwater Life
16. Mushroom Metaphysics
17. The Botvinya Battle
18. Running with the Sheep
19. Hang him from the Klyukovo Tree!
20. Ukha – Not Just Soup, but Pure Pleasure
21. Our Native Tongue
22. Jewish Penicillin
23. Salad and Salo
24. Rehabilitating the Cutlet
25. Adventures in Scent
26. The Wolf is Fed and the Lamb Survives
27. Pelmeni for the Lazy
28. Aristocrats in a Can
29. The Russian Rassole
30. Borscht, with a Side of Emancipation
31. A Relative in Military Jacket
32. Picnic in the Pyrenees
33. Exotic and Stinky
34. Veal Tenderness
35. Enjoy the Steam
36. Neither fish nor fowl
37. The Holiday That Is Always with You
38. The Non-False Non-Hare
39. “Sober Drunkenness”  
40. The First is also the Last
41. The Meaning of Sour Cream
42. Breadslicers at Work
43. The West is Wind, The East is Ecstasy
44. A Toast to Gluttons
Interview with Alexander Genis
Further Reading