Hardcover: 527 pages
Publisher: Phaidon Press (May 5, 2014)
Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 2 x 11 inches
Shipping Weight: 4.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #225,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #32 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Asian Cooking > Thai #2683 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Regional & International
I really wanted to love this cookbook, but I can't. It is vast in scope, beautifully bound, and I very much enjoyed the essays on Thailand and the photographs of the country. While I enjoy photos of finished dishes, the absence does not bother me. I showed the book to a friend who owns a small Thai restaurant, and she proclaimed it very authentic, and was amazed by the presence of the insect recipes. Why don't I love it? Well, I will echo some points from other reviews. In my opinion, the lack of transliterated names for the dishes is a huge drawback. If I want to prepare a dish I have seen elsewhere and can't see the Thai name, how can I possibly find the recipe in the index? I can try to guess what the author translated it to, but that has been pretty unsuccessful so far. Or I can look at every, for example, chicken recipe and read it, hoping the list of ingredients will appear to match what I hope to cook. That, too, has not worked well so far. Thai ingredients should also have transliterated names. Anyone who eats or cooks Thai knows what fish sauce, but when I went to a Thai grocery to look for "fermented fish sauce" the owner said there were at least a couple of possibilities, and without a Thai name, I should try them and see which I preferred in that particular recipe.And I second the complaint about the editing. I went to prepare a curry recipe portioned for 4-6, and it called for 10 onions. I love onions, but I don't think so. I reduced it to 2, and it did turn out great. I also found ingredients listed, and then never called for. Come on, editors, every recipe should be prepared following the proofs before the book is printed!
Not quite up to snuff yet is how I feel about this newer Phaidon Press cookbook "encyclopedia" of Thai food; for several reasons.Having bought 'Silver Spoon' years ago and been left cold by the format and dearth of color photos, I have to admit I still use it on occasion and I thought this would be an improvement as PP has put out numerous cookbooks since. While there are color photos included they are mostly general pictures of Thailand and Thai people perhaps connected with growing or preparing food. I like to know what a dish should look like when it is finished and there is more than enough blank space on just about every page to haveincluded more of these kinds of pictures.( At a higher price point to cover the cost of photo inclusion I doubt the publishing house would have lost money.)Recipes are given using two different standards of measure so the cook should decide which one to go with before the prep and execution, a minor detail. A major fault on the other hand is to give a list of ingredients and then not have all of them accounted for in the actual cooking instructions. DO NOT call for a cup of beef stock, for example, and then leave it out entirely when putting the dish together- this is inexcusable and seems to be more and more the case with publishers across the board, not just Phaidon.Another format flaw is in sectioning the book by cooking method instead of type of food: I would not have bought this book had I known that almost every recipe would include some form of pork. I would have had a better idea of the pork content had the book been divided according to Beef,Fish,Pork,Noodles etc.In order to get something out of this purchase I intend to use the book as a future gift but even there I will have to be careful.
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