The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine

hottestdishesThe Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine
by Alina Bronsky
2011 / Kindle 275 pages

I nominated this book for a reading group – I had read just about enough bleakness for the time being – needed a break.  But that was about 3 months ago so …

Alina Bronsky was born in Yekaterinburg, an industrial town at the foot of the Ural Mountains in central Russia. She moved to Germany when she was thirteen. Broken Glass Park, nominated for one of Europe’s most prestigious literary awards, the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize, is her first novel. Alina Bronsky is a pseudonym.

Anyway,  this would be horrendously tragic if it weren’t so funny – the first person narrator,  Rosalinda Achmetowne, a Tartar (Tatar) woman who lives in some Russian city,  is a seriously difficult woman.  Her daughter, Sulfia is,  in the eyes of her mother,  a pathetic creature in virtually all ways. On the other hand Aminat,  the daughter’s illegitimate daughter and Rosa’s granddaughter,  is perfect.  Rosa is quite frank about all of this.   Rosa is obviously not terribly reliable – she’s telling the truth as she sees it,  it’s just that her perception is a bit skewed.

She believes herself to be beautiful, youngish, brilliant and the Miss Manners of Russia.   She brags about her home and husband’s job until she meets Sulfia’s husband and sees their apartment – in a huge getto-type complex – is superior to her own.

As the title indicates there are “hot dishes” around.   This has double meaning as Rosa thinks she herself is one “hot dish,”  but there’s a lot of food and cooking involved in the book, too.  Rosa is Tartar by ethnicity but having been raised in an orphanage,  she’s had to teach herself to cook.  Some of the dishes she makes:


Boxara käläwäse and çäkçäk.


Qazılıq as part of a horsemeat platter (on the right)


“tea fungus” – Kombucha including the culture

                      Also see:


Kullama –

Talkysh-Kaleve –



Tutyrgan tavyk

Tutyrgan tavyk

Read more:

Reviews:  Kirkus Reviews

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