The Classic Cuisine of Soviet Georgia: History, Traditions, and Recipes

Julianne Margvelashvili, Author Prentice Hall $21.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-13-138215-2
In dramatic contrast to the Western view of a drab and gray Soviet Union, where food is ever in scant supply, the Soviet Georgia described by food historian and folklorist Margvelashvili is an untouched paradise where ``plates piled high with fragrant opal basilsic , tender cilantro, flat-leaf parsley, long stems of tarragon, green onions, and young garlic infuse life into even the most lifeless soul at any table.'' Her book reveals a culture immersed in the from-scratch preparation of time-honored recipes, many of which resemble Middle Eastern specialties--e.g., a pilaf with meat, and stuffed grape leaves called tolmas which resemble their Greek cousin. Vegetables, fresh cheeses and yogurts play an important role in Georgian dining; included are recipes for eggplant in walnut sauce, chilled yogurt soup and Georgian ricotta. While introductory chapters define some of the ingredients found in Georgian fare, many recipes feature shaffran , a mysterious spice consisting of dried marigold petals, ``not to be confused with saffron as to flavor and especially quantity''--without offering substitutions. This flaw aside, the volume takes an illuminating look at an obscure corner of the world. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1991
Release date: 10/01/1991
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