Communist Gourmet

The Curious Story of Food in the People’s Republic of Bulgaria
$27.50 / €24.00 / £22.00
Publication date: 
May 2021, 220 pages, 80 b&w photos, 7 recipes

Communist Gourmet presents a lively, detailed account of how the communist regime in Bulgaria determined people’s everyday food experience between 1944 and 1989. It examines the daily routines of acquiring food, cooking it, and eating out at restaurants through the memories of Bulgarians and foreigners, during communism.

In looking back on a wide array of issues and events, Albena Shkodrova attempts to explain the paradoxes of daily existence. She reports human stories that are touching, sometimes dark, but often full of humor and anecdotes from nearly one hundred people: some of them are Bulgarians who were involved in the communist food industry, whether as consumers or employees, while others are visitors from the United States and Western Europe who report culinary highlights and disappointments. The author made use of the national press, officially published cookbooks, Communist Party documents, and other previously unstudied sources.

Illustrated recipes of dishes typical of the period and an extensive set of archival photographs are special features of the volume.


Made in the People's Republic of Bulgaria
The Bulgarian Marzipan
Canned in Bulgaria: by Poets, Diplomats, and Teenagers
Proudly Presenting... What There Wasn't
"Napoleon Blew it. Hitler Blew it. But Coca-Cola Pulled it Off!"
Dining Out
How One Man Could Spoil the Menu of Millions
Sailing Academy for Waiters
The Canteens: Chez Les Mères Sofiannaises
Tripe Treats
The Menu: Between Communist International and Rural National
Pickle all the Day
Tarator in Outer Space