Food with A Gentleman in Moscow

My blog has basically been defunct since law school. I’ve posted here or there, but I’ve struggled to find time to really sit down and write. However, my 2L year is over now and I’m still quarantined. With that, I have been doing a lot of reading. So, as a way to ease back into blogging, I’ve decided to share some of my favorite food quotes from a recent book I read: A Gentleman in Moscow. I would be lying if I said I was incredibly familiar with Russian history or almost anything that crops up in this novel. Yet, I felt myself get swept away. It’s definitely not a beach read, but it has an incredible amount of layers and a lot of heart. Of course, the food scenes were particularly engaging. Let me know what you think of the one’s I have shared below!


“Turning his attention to his okroshka, the Count could tell at a glance that it was a commendable execution- a bowl of soup that any Russian in the room might have been served by his grandmother.”


“On his spice shelves was a compendium of the world’s predilections and in his cooler a comprehensive survey of birds and beasts hanging from hooks by their feet. As such, one might naturally leap to the conclusion that 1912 has been a perfect year in which to measure the chef’s talents. But in a period of abundance any half-wit with a spoon can please a palate. To truly test a chef’s ingenuity, one must instead look to a period of want.”


“The young man hesitated and then picked  up the wine list with uncertain hands. It may well have been the first time in his life that he had ordered a bottle of wine. Never mind that he didn’t grasp the merits of the 1900 versus the 1901, he didn’t know a Burgundy from a Bordeaux.”


“‘I’ll have you know, dear sister, that careless seating has torn asunder the best of marriages and led to the collapse of the longest-standing detentes. In fact, if Paris had not been seated next to Helen when he dined in the court of Menelaus, there never would have been a Trojan war.'”


“‘Tell your boys that my lamb is served rare. If someone wants it medium, they can go to a canteen.'”


“Popular wisdom tells us that when the reel of our concerns interferes with our ability to fall asleep, the best remedy is the counting of sheep in a meadow. But preferring to have his lamb encrusted with herbs and served with a red wine reduction, the Count chose a different methodology altogether.”


“But a cocktail is not meant to be a melange. It is not a potpourri or an Easter parade. At its best, a cocktail should be crisp, elegant, sincere- and limited to two ingredients.”


“The Count paused in his pacing to peek behind the Ambassador, where he had carefully hidden the Dom Perignon. Preparing for a potential celebration is a tricky business. If Fortune smiles, then one must be ready to hit the ceiling with the cork. But if Fortune shrugs, then one must be prepared to act as if this were just another night, one of no particular consequence- and then later sink the unopened bottle to the bottom of the seam.”


These were the highlights for me. Every sentence in this book was beautifully crafted, and the ones about food made me wish I were there to enjoy those meals. If you get a copy, buy a bold red wine and dig into this novel. Extra points if you pair it with some of the foods mentioned throughout this novel. It clocks in at around 500 pages, so you might want to buy two bottles to get through it all. It may not be a breezy beach read, but as it looks like none of us will be going to the beach anytime soon, it might be the perfect book to hunker down with.


About A Famished Foodie

Food geek, wannabe Parisian, and lover of polka dots. Author of A Famished Foodie and Superior Spider-Talk contributor. Bold wine, sour beer & dessert make me nerd out.
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1 Response to Food with A Gentleman in Moscow

  1. Loved this book so much! The Count was such a pleasure to hang out with, wasn’t he? I secretly want to be Nina, accompanying him on daring adventures behind the scenes. And what about the removing of the labels from every wine bottle in the cellar? 😮

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