Friends here write in PM, what is here is a very interesting topic about USSR — Soviet catering. In principle, this is acceptable, the theme is really quite extensive and interesting. Like many other spheres of Soviet life, catering existed in two forms — ideal-theoretical and real practical. In the ideal-theoretical Soviet public catering (in the movie, on posters, in books) people ate right and healthy food; sitting at tables with white tablecloth and enjoyed the pictures of the”book of tasty and healthy food”, but in reality the best place to rest was a quite pathetic, and what will be the story in this post.
So, below is the story about Soviet food and drinks, which managed to catch everyone who lived in the USSR.
02. Let’s start with the obvious question: why did the Soviet food was in its mass so bad. As in the other (almost all) sectors of the Soviet-employment, those people that were involved in the system of catering, was in no way interested in the qualitative results of their work — in the USSR there was no private business and, therefore, did not exist and competition. The state held a monopoly in the public catering system, which means — like it or not, we will have dinner in “the Dining room №3”, if you strongly feel it, alternative options were few, and it so suddenly “lost customers and went bankrupt” because of the low quality of service just could not be for the aforementioned reasons. Funny and sad at the same time is the fact that the Soviet Union served this great advantage — that, they say, look, what we are “stability” and low unemployment! What this leads to lower service quality to the level “below a plinth” and stagnation, no one mentioned.
The second important factor is the low quality of Soviet obschepit — universal poverty and the deficit. As I already wrote in the article about the theft in the USSR, all sectors of Soviet society was permeated with “petty corruption”, and those who had access to the allocation of any resource (food, shoes, clothing, fuel, building materials) practical machine became corrupt and petty thief — the exceptions were few.
Because of this “petty theft” the dishes that was supposed to be good, turned into something very conditionally edible — like the meatballs, the stuffing of which was less than half of the meat, sour cream, blended down to a thick yogurt, tea with “homeopathic” the tea and so on.
03. A little more about the specific dishes and recipes, starting with soups. From a “purely Soviet” soups can remember the soup of sour cabbage, red soup, pickle, pea soup, and milk soup with rice or noodles. Still, it seems, had some broth with noodles and meatballs and stew. From my childhood I remember that the Soviet cabbage soup of sauerkraut was terrible filth and stench, not reaching any comparison with real homemade soup on the bone, but the red borscht and pea soup occasionally it was possible to eat.
Knowledgeable people write that often at the stage of preparation of soups stealing meat, replacing it with “army” shortenings, which was virtually free. From the pros — the portions were large)
04. The second hot dishes. Almost all of the Soviet burgers from Grodno to Vladivostok there was impossible — it was fat crackers, mixed with 30-40% wiry meat and three meters smelling of garlic. According to the caterers of those years, garlic has been added in especially large quantities in the beef, which had already begun to deteriorate — to hide the smell of stale meat. There were “schnitzel”, which differed from the meatballs a more flat shape. In Minsk meatballs could only have “chicken Kiev”, which was made from the whole chicken and is served on the bone, but this dish was available only in restaurants.
The remark at the expense of the stuffing in one of them, as the Soviet “public catering” of the dumplings — very rarely you could try something really good, the dumplings were rarely homemade. By the way, because of theft and poverty in the Soviet canteens you can rarely see meal of solid meat, like a stew or steak, met except that chops, which for weight gain abundantly rolled in breadcrumbs.
There was also such “fish cakes”, which was made from cheap minced fish, for some reason, almost always bitter and was full of fragments of fish bones.
05. The garnishes. As a rule, all sorts of cereals, pasta and mashed potatoes. Kashi often dissolve to a state of paste, in the same form was submitted and pasta. Mash — that was a separate issue, have you ever seen how in the Soviet canteens peeling potatoes? I have seen and even been cleaned — in the nineties at a summer camp helping in the kitchen (we had a day there, working for “money-wrappers”). The kitchen was built about 60-70 years, and for the cleaning of potatoes, there was used such a machine, resembling a painted blue small stoves. Inside was electric, the Yam is then poured on top, then the motor is switched on, the potatoes were obivous inside the wall and flew at supersonic speed (conventionally cleaned) out the window at the bottom of the machine. After this “procedure” the potatoes were wrinkled and wet, and anything but mashed potatoes were not good. However, the mashed potatoes it was good quality too, very conditional. In General, for this reason, in the Soviet canteens were not crisp and delicious potato and it was disgusting mashed potatoes with “eyes”.
Yes, I forgot to say in the USSR did not know how to cook rice by heating it several times, making even initially a good rice cracked and turned into cleaopatra mess.
06. Salads/vegetables. Due to the absence in the USSR more or less decent production of fresh vegetables (70% of which is quality technology of preservation and transportation of products), often the Soviet salads were a “herring under a fur coat” and “Soviet Olivier”. In General, a lot of boiled potatoes, beets and green peas, lots of Mayo and little use. Mass was distributed and the salad, a mix of boiled beets, potato, onion, cucumber, carrot and onion dressed with oil and vinegar.
In the best case in the dining room could have caught some kind of slaw or carrots, but it was a rarity. As for the salad of fresh cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce — they are met even less often.
07. Drinks. Tea is boiled in a huge pot-the pot, then poured a ladle into glasses, about as brewed coffee. Instead of coffee, by the way, was very much widespread so-called “coffee drink” is prepared from chicory. I think you should not write about the fact that tea and coffee very much diluted with water.
From compotes were distributed to Apple and dried fruit compote.
There were more desserts, but they were common not too massively and in the “classical” Soviet lunch participated rarely — it usually consisted of soup, the second (main+side dish), and occasionally salad and a drink.
In General, as you can see, the “range” of the Soviet canteens were very poor, having nothing to do with the modern system of catering in which there are normal salads, and a normal meat/fish dishes, and good desserts.
And you went to the canteen during the Soviet era? Ordered usual? Write, I wonder if missed something)
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