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Thai Food Hardcover – August 27, 2002
Cooking in the New Year
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Beginning with an exploration of Thailand's history and culture, the book then presents an extended section on rice, the centerpiece of the Thai meal. The "cookbook" follows, with a systematic introduction to the Thai kitchen, ingredients, and equipment. The chapter "Food Outside the Meal" is devoted to Thai snacks and vendor food, such as Stir-Fried Crisp Fish with Holy Basil. Noodle dishes include an exemplary pad thai, and sweet dishes like Grilled Bananas with Coconut Cream and Turmeric are also offered.
Readers should know that the recipes, published primarily for an Australian audience, give ingredients in a mix of metric and American measurements and/or with nonmetric equivalents, and that nomenclature is also sometimes foreign ("minced" for "ground" meat, for example). With photos throughout, the book sets a standard for Thai cookbooks to come while helping many cooks achieve the true, richly exotic cuisine. --Arthur Boehm
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
I recall some reviews of this book which noted that although it was certainly comprehensive, it may be criticized for giving recipes containing hard to find ingredients. While I think this is a valid criticism of a book advertised as having recipes for the home cook such as `Vatch's Thai Kitchen' by chef Vatcharin Bhumichitr, it is not a valid criticism of a scholarly book where the object of the author is to present an accurate picture of a national cuisine. And, Thompson has done this as well or better than virtually every good survey of national cuisines I have reviewed such as Diane Kochilas `The Glorious Foods of Greece', Jean Anderson's smaller book on `The Food of Portugal', Marcella Hazan's `Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking', Diana Kennedy and Rick Bayless various books on Mexican cuisines and the granddaddy of them all, Julia Child's `Mastering the Art of French Cooking'. This may be just a bit unfair to these authors, as not all of them were aiming at a grand scholarly treatment of an entire cuisine. Child, for example, was giving us `cuisine bourgeois', leaving the three other types of classic French cooking to others. Kennedy and Bayless have covered Mexico in not one, but in at least two or three different books, with Kennedy's latest, `From My Mexican Kitchen' being a model treatment of some special subjects in a national cuisine.Read more ›
Thailand has a rich culinary heritage which has, in part, been shaped by foreign influences. Thai food in turn is a highly complex intermingling of tastes: salty, sour, sweet, spicy and umami (a Japanese term to indentify the 5th 'taste'). Furthermore it is a fairly impenetrable cuisine least of all because of the language barrier and the mysterious ingredients. To top things off this book was written by a non-Thai. That said, my initial concerns turned out to be completely unfounded and I am happy to say that this is one book that I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone who is serious about real Thai food. Needless to say, the book extends far beyond just Tom Yum Kung and Pad Thai!
At the beginning of the book, Thompson gives a brief (but highly informative)introduction to Thailand and its history, religion and regional cuisine which sets the tone for the rest of the book. There is also a whole chapter about the most common cooking techniques as well as ingredients. His recipes are written in a fairly conversational manner, which I really like, and, most importantly, he does not advocate taking shortcuts or making substitutions which the Thais wouldn't normally make/take themselves. Thompson clearly explains in his introduction that his reason for doing this is so that he doesn't compromise his goal of accurately capturing the Thai cuisine.Read more ›
Having enjoyed authentic Thai food during my trips to Thailand, I am repeatedly disappointed with the adapted versions found in most local restaurants here. Since I am an avid cook, I have been experimenting to replicate the dishes I had in Thailand.
After some research I found David Thompson's "Thai Food" to be a rare find. Most Thai cook books I have come across provide adapted recipes with shortcuts and suggested substitutes for ingredients! How dreadful! Undoubtedly, Thai food involves much effort and can even be tedious. But the taste is well worth it. More importantly, ingredients in Thai cooking CAN NOT be substituted if the REAL flavor and aroma are to be achieved. For example, if you are going to substitute regular ginger for galangal (Thai ginger), or lime zest for kaffir lime zest, as many books suggest - you may as well not cook Thai food!
This is what sets David's book apart from the rest - he sticks to the real stuff! He painstakingly explains all the details of real Thai cooking, discussing each ingredient and various techniques followed by the recipes. While some recipes are quite cumbersome or require ingredients which are not easily available, the book is worth the insight it provides into authentic Thai cuisine. Once you understand the basics, you can be creative by combing basic Thai ingredients with techniques and create your own recipes without straying from the flavors, tastes and aroma of REAL Thai cuisine!
One complaint however: where is the recipe for Yum Woon Sen??
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am enjoying this book. But it is not for the first time "let's see if we can cook Thai" person. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Jackie F. Smith
The unsurpassed standard classic English-language foodways/cookbook on Thai cuisine. Indispensable.Published 1 month ago by Billy Bison
Great recipes. So much background and detail to all the recipes and ingredients. The only way to make authentic Thai food.Published 6 months ago by Joshua
This must be the bible of thai food, meaning no scarilege. It is large, very thorough and, I'm guessing, very authentic. The illustrations appropriately are clear and enticing. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Geoffrey Stover