Development of Cookbooks in Russia

Cookbooks, as such, became common in Russia only in the 1840s. The best early source for establishing the history of Russian cuisine comes not from a cookbook, but from a manual of domestic literature. The Domostroj [Domestic management], which dates from the mid sixteenth century, is a prescriptive book with a very conservative ideology that outlines proper behavior toward the church and state as well as toward family and servants.7 It includes religious, moral, and domestic precepts for almost all facets of life—everything from how to behave in church (stand up straight without wriggling or shifting from one foot to another) to how to brew beer. The Domostroj belongs to that common European genre of manuals of which the fourteenth century French text Le ménagier de Paris is one of the best known examples.8 Domestic manuals became popular in Russia in the late seventeenth century and continued to be published through the eighteenth century. Early works of this type were based upon Polish translations of Greek and Latin originals. Later, translations from German texts appeared, such as Florinus’ Ekonomiia [Agricultural and household management], which was published in 1738.9