Educated Tastes: Food, Drink, and Connoisseur Culture

By Jeremy Strong | Go to book overview

Chapter Two
The Book of Tasty and Healthy Food

The Establishment of Soviet Haute Cuisine

JUKKA GRONOW AND SERGEY ZHURAVLEV

Cultural politics were an essential and important part of the building of socialism in the Soviet Union. Socialist society—and even more so the coming Communist society—demanded not only the industrialization of the country and high levels of economic and technical development, it also presumed the emergence of a new kind of citizen with new and greater needs and capabilities. This meant the overall cultivation of human needs. Food culture was no exception.

Culinary culture did not enjoy as prominent a profile as some other fields of “highbrow” culture, such as literature, film, and theater—which were the main targets of ideological and political interference from the Communist Party. The authorities and experts on nutrition did nonetheless codify a Soviet etiquette and actively influence the culinary habits, desires, and tastes of their citizens. To promote these goals they opened new exemplary restaurants, workplace canteens, and cafés, as well as propagating “proper” ways of eating and dietary manners. The Soviet case did not, after all, differ that much from many other rapidly industrialized and urbanized countries in Europe or North America. New

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