Bread and Salt: A Social and Economic History of Food and Drink in Russia

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Cambridge University Press, Apr 12, 1984 - History - 391 pages
Bread and Salt - a literal translation of the Russian word for hospitality - explores the social and economic implications of eating and drinking in Russia in the thousand years before 1900. Eating and drinking are viewed here as social activities which involves the economics of production, storage and distribution of food stuffs. These activities attract both social controls and state taxation; in this way the everyday process of eating and drinking is linked with the history of Russia. The dominance of grain in the diet throughout the period and the importance of salt, as implied in the title, are dealt with, as are the early Russian beer-drinking fraternities. The relatively late introduction of spirits, in the from of vodka, and it disastrous consequences in social terms are described. Tea and the samovar, also much more a latecomer than is generally realized, did little to diminish excessive drinking. Drinking, in any event, was by no means discourage by the state, since it was a major source of state income. The final section of the book looks at rural diets in the nineteenth century, when some variation and new items, such as the potato, became important. At the same time, peasants depended basically on the grain crop, as they had for thousands of years. Forced by txation to enter the market, afflicted by severe famines towards the end of the century, many peasants ate and drank no better as a result of the modernization of the county.
 

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Contents

grain and game
5
a major extractive industry
27
ale and alchemy
74
the seventeenth century
109
Tea and temperance
228
The established pattern
251
Tavern and treasury
288
1 Per capita consumption of vodka litres 18191905
295
Fig 85 Revenue from liquor taxes mln silver rubles 18081913
313
Good times and bad
327
1 Seasonal and class variations in diet
335
4 Net harvests of all grains and potatoes Penza province
343
Conclusion
357
Main locations involved in the salt industry in Russia before
358
Index
379
Copyright

2 Liquor taxes as proportion of ordinary revenue 18051913
302

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