60 thousand meals a day. “Factory-kitchen” of the USSR

“Factory-kitchen” is an old, forgotten word, which smells like cabbage soup, borscht, cutlets, meatballs. Many, however, remember such institutions.

Thousands of people walked inside. To satisfy one’s stomach, one simply had to come to the great hall and choose a dish. Satisfied, paid and walking companions. And use the saved forces in production, build socialism!

In the pamphlet “On Life”, published in 1927, the People’s Commissioner for Education Anatoly Lunacharsky wrote:

“We can not reconcile with a small smoking kitchen for 5-6 members of the family, because we know very well what is possible with the same money… to give excellent healthy food in the atmosphere of a bright dining room with good music, newspapers, chess, in a good atmosphere that gives joy and relaxation during dinner; all this can be given for the same funds spent on a gloomy homemade borscht … with every spoon we eat women’s freedom, women’s dignity, women’s dignity future “

Beautiful, isn’t it? Only a woman’s surviving strength should have been spent not on herself, not on being elegant and attractive – this was considered a bad, urban tone – not on raising children, but on working up a sweat on the machine, carrying sleepers, unloading bricks. This is the concern of a woman who had the party and the government…

The “People’s nutrition” (“Narpit”) partnership was responsible for overseeing and preparing work for the design of kitchen factories. His specialists built gastronomic businesses in various cities of the USSR. One of the first kitchen factories in the country opened in Samara on Novo-Sadovaya Street 90 years ago – in 1932 and was designed by architect Ekaterina Maksimova.

There were: an ordinary dining room, a children’s and a diet. There was a summer terrace for dining outdoors. The building also housed a shop, a hair salon and a post office. In general, it was possible to combine the useful with the necessary.

The hero of Yuri Olesha’s novel “Envy” – the director of the food industry trusts Andrei Babichev, built a huge house – a kitchen factory. Of course, the main room was the kitchen itself – myriad, fiery, full of food odors. An entire army of cooks mingled around the hearths. The largest kitchen factories could produce up to 60 thousand (!) Meals a day. There was a workshop where they monitored the quality of the food, a convenience store, a snack bar, a regular, banquet halls and festive events.

The first kitchen factory in Moscow opened on Leningradskoe shosse – now Leningradsky Prospekt, designed by architect Alexei Meshkov. The plates were heated with oil, the dishwasher conveyor was washed and dried three thousand dishes per hour, the electric bread cutter cut hundreds of kilos of bread. In the kitchen factory worked potato peelers, vegetable peelers, electric meat grinders.

“On average, more than four thousand dishes were sold here tonight,” the newspapers wrote. – The menu is very different. The price is not more than the cost of the respective work buffets. So, for example, vegetable salad – 3 kopecks, white fish teshka -1 ruble, pork -1 ruble 50 kopecks, fresh muffins – 25 kopecks, cakes – 35 kopecks. An orchestra was playing in the cafeteria.

Having had enough, one could read books, newspapers and magazines, play chess and checkers. And just chat with friends. Kitchen factories also served as a kind of club.

Lev Kassil sang a real ode to the factory-kitchen: “In the great hall there are 24 snow boilers with shiny nickel lids. The tiled floor is sparklingly clean … 24,000 first courses can be cooked in these cauldrons …

The used slabs are collected in many parts of the room, here they are discarded in hatches for clippings and the slab itself is placed on a mesh rotating base of the conveyor and lowered to the lower floor. There she takes a bath with boiling water, goes through a hot dryer, to come back to the surface in a minute on the top floor with the glow of its porcelain purity.

Another colorful excerpt is poetic, written by Yaroslav Smelyakov:

And now the hostess is sitting in the dining room

and eats (suppose) chicken broth.

The broth he got

for a very low fee

which boiled it in huge cauldrons

girls in bathrobes.

And in front of the hostess the flowers are burning,

like the best burners in the world,

and on the side of the hostess, like stars, they shine

scalded dishes.

By 1936, according to the All Moscow Address Book, there were 25 kitchen factories in the capital. It was located at Bolshaya Tulskaya Street, 52/2, Budyonny Avenue, 21, Kutuzovsky Avenue, 36, 1st Vladimirskaya Street, 12a, Novozavodskaya Street, 12/11 and other parts of the city.

However, over the years, the popularity of factory kitchens began to decline. The food there was plentiful, satisfying, but not very tasty. However, he cared little. Renowned dietitian Manuil Pevzner has argued that delicious food is an urban bias. The main thing is that it should be healthy: not spicy, not fried, but “calm” – boiled, stewed, with plenty of carbohydrates, fats and calories.

However, people did not want to eat formal, in addition, faceless food, but their own, homemade. Not only to be full, but also to enjoy. In addition, the Bolsheviks talked about it. As, for example, the popular commissioner of the food industry Anastas Mikoyan: “The taste must be developed. “Our people are not yet accustomed to delicious food, they are not accustomed to the taste of certain products, they do not know what asparagus is, they do not know how to eat cheese.” The People’s Commissar recalled the case when mandarins were brought to the collective farm and the villagers ate them with the peel.

However, kitchen factories continued to work in the USSR for a long time. Many people were busy and did not want to waste time in a gastronomic shed. We bought semi-finished products in stores, heated and …

Mikoyan himself said: “Workers should have at their disposal a factory product or an intermediate product that requires only a little heating, they should have spices from any recipes for this product. Any taste “.

But some people still eat. In addition, a whole army of people has appeared who can not imagine any other food. However, I will not disagree with the tastes. Talk about the benefits and the disadvantages – too.

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