However, the material collected in the book speaks for itself, almost without even arguing with the will of the author, and copyright and diverting the attention of the reader to topics far, it would seem, from the Mikoyan and his activities in the domestic food industry.
We learn, for example, any semantic structure (sic!). Especially contributed to this such seemingly prosaic thing as surrender bottles and jars (all to the collection point and the behavior in it — a separate cultural phenomenon), and in general — the eternal need for container and the associated willingness to consider any capacity as a potential container. What rituals accompanied by a campaign for dispensing sunflower oil and how piety were surrounded — alas, not provided for by Comrade Mikoyan and therefore always imported, rare and exotic — plastic bags.
The story about all this takes us far beyond cooking in Postma-koyanovskie times, when the first collectors of artifacts of Soviet life (so — formed the distance between the Soviet way of life and us) and were held their exhibitions — making reflect on the strange role of culinary poverty and coupled with the squalor of her home on the one hand — certainly destructive, on the other — is clearly challenging. And, most importantly, that’s what a strange circumstance: the potential of culture-is everything. In the human world, and devoid of random values just does not happen.
The book, which is almost like a biographical (and also — as a sketch of the history of the formation of a Soviet civilization), turned out to be really embryo research on the history of ideas, and that of the more interesting — ideas come to life with this last characteristic impedance. She — a complex (and the inevitable!) The relationship between dieticians and ideology. The fact that no area of life is not self-sufficient, and even cooking — especially: organizing life, it shapes a person actually, probably sensitive and plastic of the level — the level of everyday, not too reflektiruemyh habits.
Our correspondent also felt the need to hear from the author himself modestly limiting itself almost bytopisatelskoy role clearer pronunciation of the book is undoubtedly present in the cultural intuitions, saw fit to ask Irina Glushchenko encourage more to this issue.
— Irina, admit it, please, after all: do you consider the historical and cultural role Mikoyan unequivocally positive?
— Mikoyan had long been «my hero» — I read about it, read his own text, listening to the stories of his children and grandchild … I studied his official correspondence, kept in the archives of the national economy in a variety of swollen cardboard folders. Mikoyan visited on the plant. Mikoyan made me respect. And I think that he took his way far more worthy than most politicians of his generation.
And vice versa — a mountain of literature, trying to whitewash Stalin, to prove that the terror did not exist. But neither caricatures nor eulogies do not give understanding of history.
— What is the image of the era Mikoyan formed you from the study of his personality and activities?
— I did not set itself the task to state and prove a specific concept. I just wanted to deal with a particular theme, the theme of the Soviet kitchen, and through it to try to understand and age. First of all, for herself.
Take particular Soviet industrialization. Industrialization was the task of the world — no wonder our leaders so fascinated by America. But the Soviet Union solved this problem in its own way: through centralization through despotic management. This despotism, oddly enough, meant nezabyuro-kratizirovannost and informal decision-making. What matters are not the instructions, and the will and even the tastes of specific individuals.
I tried to finally understand why a child «The Book of Tasty and Healthy Food» made me so impressed.
— As I understand it, your book about Mikoyan and his work in the food industry has been written not only impressed by the advertising Mikoyan plant in the subway, but in the context of a broader, general culture — as you said yourself — work on the understanding of the Soviet experience, which began just when you started to work on the book — in the early 2000s.
— Yes, advertising combine «Mikoyan — the official supplier of the Kremlin since 1933» great then hooked me …
At the beginning of zero public consciousness suddenly felt an acute attack of nostalgia for the Soviet pore. The Soviet experience began to be perceived as something bygone and therefore — complete, self-sufficient.
In addition, it turned out that I was, it turns out, has long been engaged in studies of Soviet life, Soviet everyday life.
— Your book offers a detailed account of the individual Mikoyan, his family, tastes, habits, the details of everyday life. How would you formulate to what extent the appearance of the Soviet kitchen was formed personal predilections Commissar of the food industry and to what — the features of the time, the Soviet culture and its civilization?
— One is closely related to another. Anastas Mikoyan, in many cases guided by personal taste, and it was generally typical of the Stalinist era. Personal taste of one person becomes the norm for the vast country, forming its taste. I call it totalitarian unification. The book describes, for example, Mikoyan defended certain products: champagne «brut», «Brunswick sausage» … But at the same time, the People’s Commissar share the common objective — industrialization. Now everyone is talking about modernization. A Mikoyan it and it worked.
— So what: whether held Soviet cuisine, a set of Soviet culinary habits as a recognizable stylistic whole? From about what time we can talk about it as a whole?
— Of course it held. Back in the pre-industrial past is impossible. In this sense, the establishment of the Soviet kitchen was irreversible turning point for the way of life of millions of people. An standardization and unification of not only consumption but also tastes.
If we talk about style … Here it is imperative to go in 60 years. Recall products — they are separate from their appearance, smell and price. White and blue label firmly rooted to the jar with condensed milk. Lemon slices will always be in high tin cylinder, which are drawn from lemons and oranges tales Rodari «Cipollino». Three plump Zephyrinus — two white and one pink — it is important to be located in an oblong cardboard trough, covered with cellophane. Eskimo always be worth 11 cents, and «Leningrad» — 22. And the smell doctoral sausage and amateur, from which the children picked out the pieces of fat eaten into our ancestral memory. Just like the smell of thick buckwheat and sunflower oil. Just as the form of the bottle with yogurt, trailing a string bag. As bread on wooden racks in a bakery with a large fork next to which it was necessary to poke check out his callousness. I think the sixties and were absolutely incredible completion of the project — the creation of a new kitchen. Then — slowly — it began to fall apart.
— But the memory of such integrity, which has grown for several generations, do not just pass. In what form it is stored now?
— I once joked that the Soviet food stored in closed systems: kindergartens, hospitals and prisons.
The Historical Library in which I go, time seems to have stopped at all. Thence -tipichnaya Soviet dining room, with all the aesthetics, from the menu, printed on a typewriter knocked, and ending with large vats of boiling water, not to mention the dishes themselves. It seems the new trends passed without touching it its rightful place.
Also a kind of utopia.
— Is it possible, in your opinion, today, folding in any way comparable, as recognizable integrity — «Russian Cuisine», which has come to replace the Soviet?
— Soviet kitchen was complete and self-sufficient system. After throwing twenties, echoes of the old regime and by cosmopolitanism, remelting national cuisine, turning them into a homogenized product, design your own recipes and inventing their products, the Soviet kitchen and took the final rigid form, which many of us still remember.
Soviet cuisine existed in a relatively homogeneous society. A modern Russian society very differentiated, and therefore can not be a single way of life, a common kitchen. After Soviet cuisine is inseparable from the social project, if you will — of utopia. In general, the diversity — that’s good. We do not need to integrate the sushi bars and Italian coffee in the Russian kitchen, let them remain so, as it is!