Leo Tolstoys Family Recipe Book: 4 Stars
Author: Sergei Beltyukov
Pub Date: 21 May 2014
Disclaimer for VEGETARIANS: Leo Tolstoy become vegetarian when he was 50 years old. Before that his true passion was hunting. So, do not expect only vegetarian recipes.
Description via NetGalley
This book features recipes from Tolstoy’s wife Sophia. Sophia Tolstoy’s 1874 “Cookery Book”, which was compiled for her by her brother from her diaries, provides a rich tapestry of the Tolstoy family’s dining habits.
Many of the original versions of the recipes lacked exact descriptions of ingredients and cooking times, but the recipes were edited by chef de cuisine at some of Moscow’s best fine-dining restaurants to insert the missing elements to make the meals you prepare as delicious as possible. So whether you’re looking for a modern revision on a classic or the original recipe right from the 1800’s, you’re guaranteed to find a meal you’ll love.
This is a lovely book for anyone at all interested in history, old recipes and methods of preparation. I like the way it is set out, with the recipe and method from the original diary first, followed by a modern interpretation. An example of the huge difference between the two is the recipe for Cold Apple Pudding. The original recipe calls for apple puree, egg yolks and sugar to be whisked together for one hour! The modern version uses an electric mixer and simply whisks until thick and pale.
Many of the recipes include some unusual ingredients and also some may not suit todays tastes, but there are also quite a few which could easily be made today.
Non-Americans will have to research the equivalent measurements, bearing in mind that a standard American cup holds a different quantity to Australian and British cups. To kick you off, a “stick” of butter weighs 1/4 pound/4 ounces/110g.
Of added interest are the diary entries made by the family and guests giving a little insight into their daily lives.
There is also a short bio on each of those mentioned in the book.
An interesting book but probably more for the curious than the cook.
About the Author (via Publisher)
Sergey Beltyukov was born and grew up in Vladivostok, Russia. He later moved to Toronto, Canada, but now lives in Los Angeles with his better half and their cat. Although Beltyukov graduated with a degree in management, his time in college ignited his true passion: European history and the history of food. Today, he runs an international commerce company, but when he’s not managing his company, he spends his time at UCLA taking courses from their Writers’ program and volunteering as an editing corrector for the “All Tolstoy in one click” project, which is a project that aims to digitize the entire works of Leo Tolstoy. Beltyukov describes himself as an amateur cook and historian as well as a full-time entrepreneur. His family loves to cook and eat at home and frequently entertain friends. For Beltyukov, an ideal dinner party would consist of friends telling stories around a table stacked with unique and new culinary creations. Leo Tolstoy’s Family Recipe Book was born out of many hours of research and Beltyukov’s passion for unique and delicious meals and the stories behind them. In Beltyukov’s book, food isn’t just sustenance: it’s a culturally-important art form to be celebrated.
Copy provided by NetGalley/Amazon