Sour bread, canned food and blue chicken: what actually fed people in the USSR
Honestly, I’m already tired of all these tales of Soviet fans, who on forums, in their secret telegram channels, as well as in comments on my blog, from time to time cry out about how good life was in the USSR - they say, people were fed there only natural and proven products, and all modern food and recipes can not be compared with the Soviet ones.
Of course - all these are continuous myths. The USSR was a beggarly country with a quality of life at the level of the backward countries of the so-called third world. And the quality of food in it was the same. Normal products either did not exist at all, or they were a terrible shortage. In order to "get them", giant queues had to survive. As a result, the entire Soviet cuisine consisted of attempts to cook something more or less decent from what they managed to get, quoted Obozrevatel popular Belarusian blogger Maxim Mirovich from his page in Facebook.
So, in today's post - a detailed story about what actually fed people in the USSR.
Store food in the USSR
Let's start with the Soviet store food, since in the USSR most citizens nevertheless ate at home, and not in cafes or in cafes - even if you had lunch every day in the factory cafeteria, you still had breakfast and dinner at home, and on weekends ate at home too.
What could be bought in the soviet deli? Fans of the USSR are filled with nightingale trills about two hundred varieties of sausages, but in fact the assortment of store food was extremely poor in the scoop. Let's start with what was in abundance. There was always a lot of bread in the USSR, which was presented by the Soviet government as an incredible achievement, and there was even a separate cult for bread in the USSR. Shovel store bread (especially away from large cities) was a very tasteless sour “brick” with poorly baked crumb of a gray-greenish color - in the Belarusian villages of the eighties, such bread was bought for pig feed.
What else was sold at the grocery store? Various vinegar canned foods were abundant, like some pickled cucumbers, in good metropolitan stores there could be cans of Hungarian canned GLOBUS, and also metal cans filled with some barley with meat or sprat in tomato. The abundance of canned goods on the Soviet shelves is explained by the fact that they were part of the very Soviet “defense industry” and were part of the soldier rations - the military industry was probably the only one that at least somehow worked in the USSR.
If we talk about sausage, this product of normal quality was always in short supply during the Soviet years. In the film “Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears,” Katerina rushes to a cart with some fat boiled sausage that has just been pumped out of the back room and grabs a piece from there - only then examining what exactly she managed to “get”. These are reflexes that have been developed over the years with a deficiency.
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What else do we have left? There was no normal meat in the scoop - the people bought some bony pieces with veins, from which small pieces of meat were cut and were chopped into meatballs with a meat grinder. Chickens were an incredible shortage - to "get" the tortured and macerated blue and yellow carcass of the Soviet skinny chicken was considered a great success. In the ever-stinking onion-cabbage amber of Soviet vegetable stores there was only frosted potatoes, earthy carrots, rotted and black-cabbage-rotted cabbage, and that same rotted onion.
Even in the shops, eggs, diluted sour cream, milk and kefir in bottles, pearl barley and buckwheat cereal, some pasta and freeze-dried soups (by the way, they were also part of the army rations) were also sold. Actually, that’s practically all.
The grocery set of a typical Soviet family, with which 90% of cases returned from the store, is the same sour green bread “brick”, two or three dozen eggs, several cans of canned food (some stinking pickle “Leningradsky”), a couple of bottles of milk and most likely, sour cream in a can.
“Ah, how well you lived in the Union! - screaming fans of the USSR, packing in the trunk of a car packages with five kinds of sausage alone, three kinds of fish, shrimps and crab, Swiss chocolate, Spanish wine, yoghurts and fresh tropical fruits. “But there was spirituality in that country!”
Food in Soviet canteens
Well, you say, the home-cooked food was so-so, there was nothing to cook it really, ate pasta with the remnants of yesterday's sausages, but maybe things were better in the canteens? Everything was there for the people, right? Is that right?
In fact, Soviet Soviet food was not much better than what you could buy in Soviet stores — it was cooked exactly from the same products. In addition, Soviet canteens existed in an environment in which there was no competition, which means that they worked, so to speak, at the minimum speed according to the eternal Soviet principle "why should a table be served - and they will devour it?"
The menu of the average Soviet canteen was something like this: from soups there could be cabbage soup from sauerkraut, borsch or some pickle, pea soup, as well as milk soup with rice or noodles. It seemed a little like normal home-made borsch with zharochkoy and on the bone.
The second one was given various fatty cutlets, percent on 60 consisting of bread, and the rest 40 - from minced veins in a meat grinder, generously flavored with garlic (to discourage the smell of stale meat). Fish cakes made of minced fish were also served - they were always bitter and were stuffed with debris of fish bones. Garnish offered cereals, pasta and mashed potatoes. Salads and vegetables were extremely rare - at best they could cut cabbage and carrots by pouring oil on top, or make vinaigrette from boiled beets and potatoes.
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By and large, the Soviet-style scoop food was official in the full sense - extremely unappetizing, greasy and tasteless. I well remembered the Soviet kindergarten with its food, which periodically vomited us there - it was all so tasteless and unappetizing that it was cooked. Add to this the greasy trays with chips, metal plates, aluminum forks with teeth bent at the most bizarre angles - and you can imagine what the Soviet canteens and the food in them looked like.
The diet of the Soviet man. Epilogue
And now we come to the most interesting - the typical daily diet of Soviet people. As you already understood, everything was very bad with food in the USSR, and this concerned both shops and canteens - it was rather difficult to get something more or less decent. What is the funniest and at the same time creepy - poor and malnutrition in the USSR was instilled as a norm from early childhood.
In a typical picture depicting the menu and daily routine from a children's book, some cold unappetizing porridge (most likely semolina) in the morning and a glass of tea with pie were drawn. At lunch, an incomprehensible baland with floating plaques of fat was offered, for the second - two of the same canteen cutlets and a small cucumber (not even the whole, but half - the rest for the New Year). For dinner - miserable dreary scrambled eggs and bread and butter. All! No lettuce, a normal dessert, no more or less complicated dish, nothing that can be called cookery at all - just some prison-hospital kit to support life.
Actually, such pictures need to be shown to all lovers of the USSR who are keen to return there - sometimes Soviet books showed this reality much better than any of my critical posts ...
Write in the comments what you think about all this. Do you think that in the USSR people were fed better than now?