At times horrific, sometimes sad and occasionally even funny, Anya's memoir is historically significant, though I was left somewhat confused, due to the held fantasy of an ideal socialism which never panned out. Russia's successive dictators led their country in a vast experiment, attempting to manipulate society, without regard for human nature, leaving former moral codes and God behind; those controlling powers having deemed religion "the opiate of the people." Von Bremzen seems in the end, to have a surprisingly retained, lingering nostalgia for this failed socialist dream, looking down on Putin and Capitalism. She at least has an excuse, having spent years of indoctrinated schooling in her home country. Here in America it's astonishing how many seem to believe we should travel down that same path. That it might work? A scary thought. This book should be required reading for Social Studies, Political Science or maybe Cultural Anthropology. Definitely lots of food for thought here.
Anya held a secret fixation with Lenin, despite her mother's anti-Soviet hatred of all he stood for. However as a child she considered herself a "Mature Socialist." That whole story is the funniest bit in her memoir. At the age of 9-10 years old, a "proper black marketeer" she is bartering bits of Juicy Fruit gum and M&M's for money, services and favors, and eating at a nice restaurant from her proceeds, instead of attending a "silly ballet" class. She wasn't actually in favor of emigrating, but did agree to it out of love for her mother.
There was so much I would like to try as far as food, especially the Kulebiaka and the Georgian Walnut-sauced Chicken, but will save those special occasion dishes for when we have more people at our table. What I did settle on was the Soviet style Potato Salad, Salat Olivier. Though just substituting our own breadfruit - very potato-like, for the potatoes, celery instead of cucumber, and added some radish. Also left out the apple, as that was not traditional anyway, but an addition by Anya's mother.