Thailand: The Cookbook Hardcover – May 5 2014
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"The ultimate encyclopedia of Thai cuisine." – Smithsonian.com
"Jean‐Pierre Gabriel’s beautiful and ambitious Thailand: The Cookbook extracts 500 recipes from the country’s most seasoned home cooks. Your coffee table will thank you." – Bon Appetit
"Sponsored by the Royal Thai Government, Thailand: The Cookbook is filled with more than 500 easy‐to‐follow recipes and color photographs – and as long as you own a steamer and a wok, you can recreate Gabriel’s journey at home." – CoolHunting
"Gabriel’s luscious photos capture the beauty of Thailand’s people, food, and landscape and rounds out this stellar compilation. Armchair travelers and cooks at all levels will welcome this remarkable book. . . a beautiful collection." – Publishers Weekly
"French author and photographer Jean‐Pierre Gabriel traveled in Thailand for three years to produce Phaidon’s latest masterpiece, Thailand: The Cookbook. From street food to home cooking, it’s a celebration of what makes Thai food culture truly special." – Tasting Table
". . . stunning, extraordinarily comprehensive" – Relish
"An unrivaled culinary record" – Conde Nast Traveller
"Phaidon specializes in brick‐like cookbooks telling you all you want to know about a given cuisine. Here Thailand gets the don’t‐drop‐it‐on‐your‐toe treatment with more than 500 recipes gathered from home cooks, markets, street food stalls and restaurants, designed to illustrate contemporary Thai cooking. Good points include the brevity and simplicity of many of the recipes. Who knew it was so stress‐free to make stir‐fried beef with broccoli in oyster sauce?" – The Telegraph (UK), Cookbook of the Week
"Phaidon’s Thailand: The Cookbook is a trove of regionally specific Thai delicacies. With trusty tour guides in tow, author Jean‐Pierre Gabriel treks all over the elephant‐shaped region’s forests and rice paddies to bring back savory recipes bursting with peanuts, dried shrimp, bird’s eye chiles, grated coconut flesh, tamarind puree and palm sugar." – Trendland
". . . massive and stunning – well worthy of any coffee table or display." – Library Journal
About the Author
Jean‐Pierre Gabriel, photographer and food writer, has spent over three years visiting every region of Thailand to collate and photograph this unique collection of recipes from authentic Thai cooks. During his travels Jean‐Pierre visited Thai homes, markets and restaurants to sample delicacies that vary from simple street food to elaborate palace cuisine and bring them together in this unique volume.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The reason that I buy Thai cookbooks that written by foreign writers is I felt like the foreign writers have an advantage over Thai writer when it comes to getting authentic recipe from the locals. The locals are usually more comfortable sharing the recipe with foreigners. And so far this is the best Thai cookbook I have in my collection.
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! A few times I got the impression the author took recipes he received from others and typed them up without ever testing them or even considering if they could be correct.
I also would appreciate a different organization of the book, say by main ingredient.
The glossary of ingredients is very good. The index would be great if it included transliterated names.
If you are an experienced Thai cook, you should be able to overcome this books shortcomings and be able to prepare some great-tasting, authentic dishes. If not, I cannot recommend this volume.
My only criticism so far is that the book seems to suffer from a lack of careful editing. The recipe for Beef & Coconut curry, for example, calls for "2 1/2 cups coconut milk (1 pint/600 ml)." A pint (in the U.S.) is 16 ounces, but 2.5 cups is 20 ounces? Perhaps it is an imperial pint (568 ml)? The recipe at one point says "add one cup coconut milk", but never says when to add the other cup, or cup and a half, whichever it is. Many other recipes also call for "a bunch", "a handful", "1.5 shallots." Of course this is common for many cookbooks, and won't be a problem for most experienced cooks. Make a recipe once, and you'll get a very good idea of where amounts need to be adjusted. I just sometimes wish the authors/editors could be a little more precise the first time around.
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 have
included 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. A LOT of the ingredients are not easy to find and with the recipes being sometimes less than complete I have to think in terms of someone who is motivated to find the ingredients as well as prepare the dishes. Preparation in most cases is not difficult in terms of the actual hands on work but again this is balanced by the amount of time and effort it will take to stock a pantry for it. In all the book is a nice idea but didn't truly translate to the pages.
This is just a collection of obscure recipes large enough to look impressive and authoritative. 5 out of 8 recipes I've tried failed (and I'm not a Thai cooking newbie). Did they test any recipes? It appears they just compiled them and translated them into English. The recipes are unhelpfully named in English, too, which, as one of the reviewers has pointed out, is one of the most frustrating things about this book. For example, unless you know Thai, the only way to distinguish between three distinct dips: Spicy Shrimp Dip, Spicy Fermented Shrimp Dip, and Shrimp Chili Dip would be to read through the ingredient lists and make guesses as to what dishes they are. No Thai names in English alphabet are given for any recipes. The book is full of things like this. Not very well edited at all.
There's no background information. No headnotes. No explanation about how each dish fits into a meal. Sometimes recipes are categorized by course, sometimes by method of preparation. I find this book unhelpful at best and exasperating at worst. I wanted to love it so much but I just can't. This could have been such a wonderful resource on Thai cooking, but it appears to have been mishandled. So as much as I want to like this book, as it stands, I can't recommend it. Sorry.