Immigrant Decor: When all is fleeting anyway, food becomes everything, by Katrina K

If I had a Russian food blog, it would be something like The Gastronomical Me, by Katrina K., a transplanted Russian who lives in London. And, if I loved in London, I would be crashing her monthly Soviet brunch club. As it is, I may have to start my own version in Toronto. In the meantime, enjoy today’s musing from Katrina.

More posts to come, so stay tuned! And if you’d like to contribute your own story about memorable immigrant decor, please get in touch, or take a look at the call for submissions post.

I moved away from the ‘mother-land’ without a family, all by myself, at the sombre age of 19.

There was no nostalgia, no longing for Soviet/Russian kitsch. In fact, I thought I’d go back home at any minute..

Unless you count monochrome, self-made posters of Depeche Mode perhaps—DM was and is arguably the biggest and most successful perestroika export. The lean back of Dave Gahan hung on the wall of my boyfriendless room for several delicious years.

Then, much later, my reverence for Soviet food—not Russian as such, I am eager to point out—was probably the single most notable item of Soviet decor in my house. One of the main reasons I started organising what I would call Soviet Brunchclubs was not just to see how the image of Soviet food could be saved, but also finding the way to dress my dinner table in a way that’s both recognisably Soviet but also undeniably London hip: Soviet champagne bottles (must have the Cyrillic letters), lots of patters, little flowers, lines and dots, salads with mayonnaise and without decorated prettily (or not…) with the neat rows of boiled peas, cut-out shapes of cucumbers and carrots…

And so, the Soviet home decor for me is that most fleeting and enduring decorations of all—food.

And I can only allow myself such morbid but pretty memories of this seeming Soviet nostalgia is because I am a reluctant immigrant, I am faaaar removed.

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