Norilsk workers’ canteens were most visited catering outlets
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Norilsk workers’ canteens were most visited catering outlets

August 23, 2022

Workers’ canteens appeared at every Norilsk enterprise as one of the first objects, because it was necessary to feed both the factories builders and the mines sinkers.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. In 1939, there were two canteens with buffets in Norilsk. In 1945, there were already nine canteens, which served two thousand people attached to them per month. In the 1950s, canteens were located in any suitable room: in a mobile house, a barrack, even in a railway car.

In 1958, the city’s trade network was already represented by one hundred buffets and canteens, and in the early 1980s, about two hundred workers’ catering enterprises: industrial canteens, buffets, cookery, tea tables, order tables and even dairy bars at enterprises.

That time can be called the golden age of working food in Norilsk. For example, in 1982, when Nadezhda metallurgical plant opened in full force in Norilsk, it opened its own catering plant: three canteens, two buffets with hot dishes, a culinary department, an order desk, and a diet food one.

What did the Norilsk people indulge in on a working afternoon? Industrial canteens had the cheapest, third mark-up category. But the products were basically the same as in cafes and restaurants, although without delicacies such as partridge or caviar. Three types of meat prevailed: beef, lamb and venison. Prices of the mid-1980s: roasted beef – 43 kopecks, lamb – 41 kopecks, venison – 45 kopecks.

By the way, the Norilsk people did not like venison in those years, they considered it to be junk meat. The reason is that now it is fresh, pink, smooth venison – a delicacy, and during the years of deer mass shooting it was poorly processed and stored incorrectly. As a result, the meat was black, dried out and tough.

It was impossible to deviate from the recipes collection, it had the power of GOST and was approved for the entire USSR. But at the same time, diversity was required in the workers’ canteens. The menu had to have 8-10 hot items. Two meat dishes, certainly poultry, boiled meat, salads, dairy, vegetable, cold appetizers.

In all the workers’ canteens of Norilsk there were also vitamin tables with beetroot, cabbage, apple salads and indispensable garlic, free of charge, as well as salt and pepper. Well, for dessert – a mandatory glass of compote with pastries. Some canteens had their own confectionery shops, for the rest, a centralized shop baked products in large quantities.

In the 1990s, Norilsk enterprises, and therefore in workers’ canteens, faced difficult times. Delay and salaries deposition, food coupons, there was nothing to feed the families. In the canteens, they began to give out food and feed people ‘on salary’ – that is, without money, on the record. Later they issued cards, with which people could also buy local products without cash – a meat processing plant, a bakery, a dairy plant production.

In one of the History Spot photo project previous publications, we told that Norilsk people consider northern childhood special.

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Text: Svetlana Ferapontova, Photo: Nornickel Polar Branch archive

August 23, 2022

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