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With all of the focus on ethnic and regional cooking in the modern food movement, why is Russian cuisine so often neglected in the foodie canon? This week on A Taste of the Past, Linda Pelaccio sits down with Darra Goldstein, Professor of Russian at Williams College. Darra is also the founder and former Editor in Chief of Gastronomica, and the author of two books- A Taste of Russia and Georgian Feast. Tune into this episode to learn about the staples of Russian cooking. Why did Russian peasants crave sour foods? Learn how Peter the Great Westernized Russian cuisine for the upper classes. Tune in to hear Linda and Darra discuss some traditional Russian beverages such as vodka, kvass, and kefir. Listen in to learn about traditional Russian aversions to ocean fish and bears! This program has been brought to you by Bi-Rite Market.

"The new Russia is so fascinating... The capital cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg- you would hardly be able to recognize them if you lived there when it was the Soviet Union. There are many foreign chefs working there." [7:00]

"One thing that distinguishes Russian cuisine is the stove's falling temperature." [22:50]

-- Darra Goldstein on A Taste of the Past


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Dave returns to the studio this week with tales of dog sledding in Sweden and opening up his new bar, Booker and Dax, in New York. Tune in to learn how to keep your meatballs from falling apart, what the Dextrose Equivalent scale is and how to use it, as well as helping those of you with fish allergies find something you can eat. This episode is sponsored by Modernist Pantry.

"When you're cook meatballs, you have to fry them BEFORE you cook them in a bag with butter. That will keep them from falling apart."

"I use Dextrose Equivalent 20 glucose syrup when I make ice cream and want to get the texture but not add too much sweetness."

--Dave Arnold on Cooking Issues


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This week on A Taste of the Past, Andrew F. Smith once again joins Linda Pelaccio in the studio! Andy teaches food history at the New School in New York City, and is the author and editor of numerous books on culinary history. On this episode, Andy talks about his newest book called Drinking History: Fifteen Turning Points in the Making of American Beverages. Hear about water quality during the Colonial period, and how it led to the proliferation of alcoholic beverages. Why did beer not succeed initially in the New World? Learn about the gendered considerations of specific drinks, like tea and alcohol. Listen in to find out some surprising facts about Prohibition, and how the movement directly related to the outcome of World War I. This program has been sponsored by 360 Cookware.

"Food is even more important than food. You can go for weeks without food, but you need to take in water every couple of days." [5:40]

"People think that we drink a lot of alcohol now, but we don't drink as much as if it were earlier times." [10:30]

"New Yorkers never believe Prohibition was for them. The upper classes drank from the beginning to the end." [29:40]

-- Andrew F. Smith on A Taste of the Past


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