DATE 3/29/2018

'Ice Cream Headaches' launch event at Pilgrim Surf

DATE 3/16/2018

What is 'The Sausage of the Future'?

DATE 3/15/2018

The enigmatic, unreadable writings of Mirtha Dermisache

DATE 3/14/2018

Joyce J. Scott: "I skirt the borders between comedy, pathos, delight, and horror"

DATE 3/13/2018

Bringing boundless joy: Anna Zemánková

DATE 3/12/2018

Weird and beautiful: Anna Zemánková

DATE 3/11/2018

Singular, odd and inspiring: Danh Vo: Take My Breath Away

DATE 3/10/2018

Mojos, mandalas and divining tools: Chris Martin

DATE 3/10/2018

Subversive, even scandalous: Francis Picabia: Littérature

DATE 3/9/2018

Provocateurs of the human body in 'Klimt and Schiele: Drawings'

DATE 3/8/2018

Celebrate International Women's Day… 1975 to now!

DATE 3/7/2018

Celebrate Women's History Month with Marina Abramovic's rendition of 'The Ugly Duckling'

DATE 3/6/2018

René Magritte: The Revealing Image

DATE 3/6/2018

Watch the Video Trailer for "Johnny Cash at Folsom and San Quentin: Photographs by Jim Marshall"

DATE 3/5/2018

Private entertainments or public show? Frida Kahlo: Her Photos

DATE 3/5/2018

SOM to launch 'The Future of Public Space' at the Strand

DATE 3/5/2018

Chris Martin book launch at Spoonbill Studio

DATE 3/4/2018

Frida Kahlo's life in photographs

DATE 3/2/2018

Sheila Hicks: Knotting, wrapping, folding, twisting and stacking wool, linen, cotton and more

DATE 3/2/2018

The warp and weft of poetics in 'Sheila Hicks: Lifelines'

DATE 3/1/2018

Recommended Reading: Women's History Month

DATE 3/1/2018

Celebrate Women's History with brand new release, 'Sheila Hicks: Lifelines'

DATE 2/28/2018

In 'Ellen Gallagher: Accidental Records' radical aesthetic possibilities emerge from seismic cracks in the surface of things

DATE 2/28/2018

Robert Storr and Francesca Pietropaolo in conversation about 'Interviews on Art' at 192 Books

DATE 2/28/2018

Amy Sillman book event and 'Scarlet Street' screening at Metrograph

DATE 2/28/2018

'Entanglements: Plans and Accidents' at the Artbook @ MoMA PS1 Book Space

DATE 2/27/2018

Jack Whitten and the rock-bottom meaning of universality

DATE 2/27/2018

Brian Blomerth's 'XAK'S WAX' zine launch at MoMA PS1 Book Space

DATE 2/26/2018

Black History as told through 'Black Dolls'

DATE 2/25/2018

Unsentimental Wonder: Hilton Als on Alice Neel

DATE 2/24/2018

Boom boxes, break dancing and the Salsa King: Black History from Jamel Shabazz

DATE 2/23/2018

The meaning of color, both racial and painterly

DATE 2/23/2018

Readings in Criticism with 'unbag' at the MoMA PS1 Book Space

DATE 2/22/2018

Swept up by a feeling of awe: Shinique Smith in 'Four Generations'

DATE 2/20/2018

Celebrate 60 years of Gerald Holtom's Peace Symbol with 'Jim Marshall: Peace'

DATE 2/20/2018

Four Generations of 'Solidary & Solitary' work by artists of African descent

DATE 2/19/2018

Symbols that call us into being: 'Beyond Mammy, Jezebel & Sapphire'

DATE 2/19/2018

Reclaiming Images of Black Women in 'Beyond Mammy, Jezebel & Sapphire'

DATE 2/17/2018

Celebrate Black History with Mark Bradford

DATE 2/16/2018

Christian Wassmann book launch at Spoonbill Studio

DATE 2/16/2018

Dive Deeper into Black History with Recently Discovered African Studio Photographer Sory Sanlé

DATE 2/15/2018

Betye Saar: Uneasy Dancer

DATE 2/14/2018

Sweets for the Sweet: Valentine's Reading, 2018

DATE 2/14/2018

Ah, love… or at least seduction!

DATE 2/13/2018

Carolee Schneemann launch event at the MoMA PS1 Book Space

DATE 2/12/2018

Celebrate Black History with 'Dancehall'

DATE 2/11/2018

Jean-Michel Basquiat: Words Are All We Have

DATE 2/10/2018

Join ARTBOOK | D.A.P. at the 2018 ARLIS National Conference in New York!

DATE 2/10/2018

Celebrate Black History with Jacob Lawrence's Migration Series

DATE 2/9/2018

Black History told through the Collected Works of Gordon Parks

DATE 2/8/2018

Gordon Parks: A Harlem Family



Cooking from the CCCP COOK BOOK

Many of us creative types are familiar with the London publishing house FUEL through their Russian Criminal Tattoo Archive series—beloved by illustrators, tattoo artists and Russophiles alike. Two recent Soviet-centric titles include the current hit Looking for Lenin and the CCCP Cook Book: True Stories of Soviet Cuisine.

Cooking from the CCCP COOK BOOK

"CCCP" is the Russian Cyrillic abbreviation for the Soviet Union, that ill-fated, alluringly foreign former state across the Bering Strait. Its post-revolutionary union of Communist republics existed for almost seven decades, between 1922 and 1991, and the dishes in the CCCP Cook Book are from this singular era. More than a cookbook, CCCP features authentic recipes thoughtfully paired with illustrations (posters, advertisements, paintings) from the same time, as well as short texts describing the history and cultural significance of the dishes.

Food and cooking, as we know, went through some strange growth spurts during this period, as the world witnessed the birth of both the industrial food system and some of our most beloved and lasting edible Americana. (In the 1920s and 30s, for example, we Americans were tasting our first Jiffy quickbreads from Chelsea, Michigan; Po’Boys from New Orleans; Whoopie Pies from Bridgeport, Connecticut, and, of course, SPAM—which, with its innovative “sausage truck” distribution network, delivered first regionally in the Midwest and then nationally. SPAM’s progenitor, Hormel Foods, claims that the company’s history has been intertwined with that of the U.S. military since the Spanish-American war; millions of tins of these salted, gelatinous pork pucks were shipped overseas to our troops throughout the 1940s.)

In their Introduction to the book, noted Russian food historians Olga and Pavel Syutkin explain that classic "Soviet" cuisine was characterized by its poor food distribution networks and underfunded public catering system; however, within these limitations some very interesting cookery developed. There were also some fascinating bits and pieces of American cuisine that infiltrated the isolated Soviet state. The book opens with a recipe for "Soviet Champagne Cocktail (Working Class Champagne)", helped along by Russian chemist Anton Frolov-Bagreev, who altered existing technology from the West to produce a cheap, quick, sparkling alternative to time-consuming champagne.

The Syutkins explain, “The study of Russian cuisine... offers a window into the private lives of the citizens themselves... we can try to understand whether Soviet cuisine was a logical continuation of the great Russian gastronomy of the 18th–19th centuries, or a completely unique phenomenon.” While today the great metropolis of Moscow and its worldly counterpart, St. Petersburg, are dominated by restaurants featuring Western-looking haute cuisine, there are certainly many pockets of Russia whose food remains essentially unchanged from that of 50 years ago. Leafing through the CCCP Cook Book, I began to wonder what this food would look and taste like if I made it here at home, in Queens, New York.

Below are some vintage images lovingly reproduced in the book, alongside photographs of my own CCCP-inspired picnic.

Cooking from the CCCP COOK BOOK

Above, "Borschtok with Spicy Toast." Even a foodie newbie can identify borscht as that beet red Russian staple soup. Somewhat surprisingly, the accompanying toast recipe calls for a topping blend of shredded cheese, margarine and cayenne pepper—a combo that my North Carolina-bred husband might vaguely have identified as Pimento Cheese. My version, below.

Cooking from the CCCP COOK BOOK

Above, a detail from a 1938 advertisement, reproduced in the book, which reads “National Food Industry Committee of the USSR. Management of the Margarine Industry. Mayonaise sauce. A great seasoning for all cold meat, fish and vegetable dishes." Below that, my somewhat petite, modern take on the dish called "Shuba," alarmingly nicknamed "Herring in a Fur Coat" because of its construction, which consists of a base layer of pickled herring topped with layer upon layer of mayonnaise and boiled root vegetables. Do yourself a favor and check out some of the "how-to" YouTube videos of Russian ladies making party platters of this stuff.

Cooking from the CCCP COOK BOOK

Above, a vintage illustration of "Meat Patties," which the authors call the "essence of the cafeteria." (The recipe calls for mincemeat in any combination of pork, beef or mutton.) Below that, my attempt at "Chebureks." You find meaty pockets like these in similar form all over the world: Brazilian pastels, Portuguese empanadas, Neapolitan calzones and Vietnamese bánh patê sô, to name a few. The CCCP recipe calls for lamb filling. I don't often work with this protein at home, but it yielded a flavorful, lean contrast to the rich fried dough.

Cooking from the CCCP COOK BOOK

Above, an illustration of "Beef Stroganoff" from the book, depicting a classic Russian recipe which has found its way into restaurants and kitchens the world over. Its basic form was committed to paper in Elena Molokhovets’ 1871 cookbook, "A Gift to Young Housewives." The CCCP's recipe is simple, calling for beef, onions, butter, flour, smetana (similar to crème fraîche) and tomato paste. Even in my outerborough neighborhood of Ridgewood, Queens, which has a large Eastern European contingent, I had a hard time finding smetana, so I substituted regular sour cream. After an hour of simmering, the beef was tender and the sauce flavorful—comfort food of the highest caliber. At bottom, I paired it with kasha (toasted buckwheat grains) simmered into a smoky, hearty cereal, alongside roasted red pearl onions.

Cooking from the CCCP COOK BOOK

Above, "May Quick Bread," possibly my favorite recipe of the bunch. The package reads “Moscow Crispbreads, USSR Ministry of Food Production, Bolshevik Confectionary-Factory of Moscow.” In fact, this raisin-flecked poundcake would have been familiar to many a 1960s American housewife; a very similar sour-cream infused sweet bread appeared in the 1941 edition of "The Joy of Cooking" under the name "Russian Coffee Cake." At bottom is my version of the cake, paired with fresh berries and accompanied by a decidedly inauthentic batch of strawberry "Caipiroskas" whipped up by one of my guests. Caipirinha, Brazil’s national cocktail, is traditionally made with a sugar cane liquor called cachaça, plus sugar, plus lime, while the Caipiroska is a more recently popularized version made with vodka. This simple concoction is a boozy reminder that when people cook and eat together, we (happily) tend to bend the rules, blur the borders and create something new.

ALLIE PISARRO-GRANT is a painter and the Purchasing Manager for ARTBOOK Retail in NYC.
Cooking from the CCCP COOK BOOK
Cooking from the CCCP COOK BOOK



Hbk, 5 x 8 in. / 192 pgs / 95 color / 2 b&w.

$32.50  free shipping


the art world's source for books on art & culture


212 627 1999
M-F 9-5 EST


800 338 2665



Showroom by Appointment Only
75 Broad Street, Suite 630
New York NY 10004
Tel   212 627 1999

Showroom by Appointment Only
818 S. Broadway, Suite 700
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Tel. 323 969 8985

D.A.P. | Distributed Art Publishers, Inc.

All site content Copyright C 2000-2017 by Distributed Art Publishers, Inc. and the respective publishers, authors, artists. For reproduction permissions, contact the copyright holders.


The D.A.P. Catalog