This introduction examines how food and foodways were used in Russia and in the Communist Bloc nations of Eastern and Central Europe as a means of envisioning and implementing the idea of a utopian future in the here and now. In the case of Russia, food imagery had been utilized in nineteenth-century literature to imagine the ideal community, which became a political and economic necessity after the October Revolution of 1917. Loudly proclaimed ideals of modernity and progress required tangible results, such as an abundance of cheap and healthy food. Local variants of this followed the spread of Soviet influence to Eastern Europe after World War II. Here new foodways and technologies were likewise introduced in order to create the “dreamworlds” of the future. The fall of communism (1989–91) brought about the need to reimagine culinary landscapes, both as a critique of socialism and—later—as a response to twenty-first-century globalization and homogenization.

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