When I wrote A la Russe, we were in the midst of the Cold War, and American hostility towards the Soviet Union and the Russians themselves ran deep. My cookbook described the foods of the fifteen republics that made up the Soviet state, many of which had been adopted into Russian cuisine—think Georgian Chicken Tabaka and Uzbek plov (pilaf). The book’s through-line was its focus on hospitality and the way Russians honor guests with a welcoming table, even in times of scarcity and duress. I hoped to convey to doubtful readers the richness of Russian culture, the warmth of ordinary Russians, and of course the delights of the Russian table. It was my small attempt at detente.