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Rebellious Cooks and Recipe Writing in Communist Bulgaria - 
      Albena Shkodrova

Rebellious Cooks and Recipe Writing in Communist Bulgaria

«[The] book’s defence of homegrown recipe collections and their importance as material evidence of Bulgaria’s cultural heritage is both cogent and indisputable.»

Slavonic & East European Review
How did people exist and resist in their daily lives under Soviet control in the Cold War period? Shkodrova's monograph shows how in communist Bulgaria many women passionately exchanged recipes with friends and strangers, to build substantial and impressive private collections of recipes. Les mer
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How did people exist and resist in their daily lives under Soviet control in the Cold War period? Shkodrova's monograph shows how in communist Bulgaria many women passionately exchanged recipes with friends and strangers, to build substantial and impressive private collections of recipes. This activity was borderline contraband in going against the general disapproval of home cooking that formed part of the ideology of communism, in which home cooking was considered household slavery and an agent of patriarchalism.

Private recipe collections were by far the preferred written source of culinary information, more popular than the state-approved commercial cookbooks. Shkodrova shows how these recipe collections held many different meanings for the women who collected them, from helping to navigate the communist economy, to enabling new friendships to be developed while engaging safely in power relations, and cultivating a sense of individual identity in a society where collective existence was prioritised and exalted. Drawing on primary sources including scrapbook cookbooks and working from the establishment of cookery classes before communism and their obliteration thereafter, Shkodrova presents a structured outline of the meanings of recipes exchange and home cooking for Bulgarian women under communism.
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Utgitt:
Forlag: Bloomsbury Academic
Innbinding: Innbundet
Språk: Engelsk
Sider: 200
ISBN: 9781350132306
Format: 23 x 16 cm
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«[The] book’s defence of homegrown recipe collections and their importance as material evidence of Bulgaria’s cultural heritage is both cogent and indisputable.»

Slavonic & East European Review

«From her silence, my mother made wonderful fried zucchini, baked lamb, banitsa… Everything can be said with a few dishes. Only later did I realize why my mother and grandmother were such good cooks. It wasn’t cooking, but storytelling. Scrapbooks with personal handwritten recipes are sources of these untold stories. With her inventive research, Albena Shkodrova opens for us these small private time capsules of the recent past. All handwritten recipes passing from woman to woman and generation to generation are pages of a hidden and, as it turns out, subversive history of communist Bulgaria. Without them our knowledge for that time would be tasteless and spiceless. While reading Shkodrova’s book, you enter again the kitchen of that past, get invited to its table, and forget to leave.»

Georgi Gospodinov, author of The Physics of Sorrow and Time Shelter.

«This exploration of the “political nature of food” is about storytelling, social ties and book-making as much as cooking. Who would have imagined that “passionate recipe exchange” could be such a powerful force of resistance? Rebellious Cooks and Recipe Writing in Communist Bulgaria is a wonderfully unexpected and engaging insight into the way we struggle to stay human in the face of an oppression.»

Edward Stourton, Writer and Broadcaster at the BBC

«It is a valuable book of cultural history. It smells like literature and it tastes like Bulgarian socialism.»

Ivan Krastev, Chairman, Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia.
Introduction: The Bulgarian Cookbooks Samizdat
Ch 1. Between Communist Feminism and Patriarchy
Ch 2. The Practical Value of a Scrapbook
Ch 3. The Social Powers of Recipes and Cooking
Ch 4. “I Cooked with Pleasure”
Conclusion. (To Communist Women) Cooking Made Sense
Albena Shkodrova is a Research Fellow at KU Leuven in Belgium.