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Book Review

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Book Review: Thai Way of Life

(The Dusit Cookbook)

by Lang Reid

It is not often that a hotel chain will produce a cookbook, but when you think about it, why not? A hotel chain has many chefs, each with their own favorite recipe. Why not collate these into a book?

What has made this cook book a little more special is the fact that these are Thai recipes and the book concept follows that of the hotel chain itself. As expressed on the flyleaf, Thanpuying Chanut Piyaoui, the Dusit group founder, declared that her first hotel (the Dusit Thani) should be an expression of Thailand and its culture. Thai Way of Life (ISBN 974-228-051-7) has then been put together by the Dusit’s chefs, with particular reference to some of the favored dishes from the Dusit’s Benjarong restaurant in the Dusit Thani. It has also been edited and printed in Thailand. At last a book about Thailand that has really been printed and published locally!

The book introduces recipes for dishes from Bangkok and Central, North and Northeast Thailand and the gulf and Andaman Sea, but it is far more than a collection of recipes. It does attempt to show a Thai Way of Life.

The book begins with a few pages on the burgeoning popularity of Thai cuisine and expands into its healthy ingredients, citing the fact that there are at least 250 varieties of edible plants growing wild in the Thai countryside, many of which have medicinal value, such as ginger, lemongrass, shallots and garlic. It is believed that the medicinal plants and herbs thus became stock ingredients in the food of the various regions.

Regional differences in cuisine reflect the ethnic influences that have played such important parts in shaping this country, and even Buddhism is shown to have an effect.

From that introduction the book goes into the style of a typical Thai meal and the importance of desserts and even fruit carving.

The secret in the success of any recipe lies in the way the food is prepared, and this book in the “Inside a Thai kitchen” section shows why at times an earthenware mortar and wooden pestle should be used, rather than the granite mortar, and also why an electric blender is never used! This section also shows cooking techniques, and goes further into herbs and spices.

The bulk of the book does detail the recipes, beautifully simply, but also beautifully illustrated. Follow the photographs and you too can present dishes as they would appear at the Dusit’s Benjarong restaurant.

At the end of the book are several pages showing just how to produce the pastes, flavorings and stock used for the Thai dishes, followed by some mild mutual back-slapping publicizing the Deverana Spa, listing the Dusit milestones, but also a well deserved tribute to the founder, Thanpuying Chanut Piyaoui.

At a retail price of B. 1395, this is a beautiful coffee table book, and Dusit and everyone involved in the production deserves the accolades. The photographic illustrations are first class, as is the paper stock used in the printing. A superb publication. This would make a wonderful Xmas gift.

Mott's CD Reviews:  Jonathan Kelly

...Waiting On You / Two Days In Winter

Mott the Dog

5 Stars *****

Jonathan Kelly was one of the great Cats of the early Seventies, which let’s face it was one of the most prolific ages of music. Jonathan Kelly only released five albums, but quickly built up a huge reputation on the musical scene. Jonathan Kelly’s first album release ‘Jonathan Kelly’ (1970) was not so much an album release as it was more a collection of Jonathan Kelly’s attempts at having a hit single, which makes it a bit unfair to include in his album collection.
But with the release of ‘Twice Around The Houses’ (1972) Jonathan Kelly released his Tour De Force. Conquering appearances at British festivals and on TV followed. Superstardom seemed assured. But life is never that easy, is it?
The follow up album was a much punchier affair: ‘Wait Till They Change The Backdrop’, but the lyrics had become much heavier and scepticism was creeping into the young man’s mind. By the time of ‘...Waiting On You’, Jonathan Kelly’s love affair with the world was temporarily over.
By now Jonathan Kelly had been on the rock ‘n’ roll road for over three years, and had more or less given up his folk music roots and plunged head first into the world of rock music. If you are going to do that, you might as well go the whole hog, which our subject did, surrounding himself with the top musicians around at the time.
Firstly there was the duel guitar threat of Snowy White (later of Pink Floyd and Thin Lizzy, as well as a very successful solo career, stand up all of you who can remember Snowy’s album ‘White Flames’ coupled with the hit single ‘Birds Of Paradise’) and Chas Jankel (later of Ian Dury and The Blockheads). Back this up with the bass playing skills of ex-Audience man Trevor Williams (who in 2004 reformed Audience with two other original members Howard Werth and Keith Gemmil, but that is a story for another day) and the young drumming skills of David Sheen, with the addition of Peter Wood (ex-Sutherland Brothers and Quiver) on keyboards when required, you certainly had a good pedigree.
‘...Waiting On You’ is definitely Jonathan Kelly’s rock album (credited to Jonathan Kelly’s Outside) with the guys swaggering into such songs as ‘Great Northern Railroad’ and ‘Tempest’, whilst final track ‘Tell Me People’ fairly smoulders along from the start before burning up the grooves to reach a rockin’ climax.
Due to Jonathan Kelly’s rock ‘n’ roll excesses his mood had changed quite dramatically since the carefree days of yore, so although the musical chops were definitely still there, the timbre of the songs had changed somewhat. This is easily established by just reading the title of first song up, simply called ‘Misery’. Not exactly the most uplifting of beginnings, and by the time you reach fourth song in ‘Sensation Street’ you kind of feel that perhaps journalists are not at the top of Jonathan Kelly’s Christmas shopping lists - hit lists possibly, but certainly nothing nice.
Whereas on ‘Twice Around The Houses’, released only two years beforehand, had included a couple of protest songs ‘We’re All Right Till Then’ sticking up for the farming community, and his rallying call to the masses ‘We Are The People’, Jonathan Kelly was protesting for the people in songs. Now with songs like ‘Tell Me People’ and ‘Great Northern Railroad’ he was protesting at the people, a great difference.
It was also strange that although the band was still called Jonathan Kelly’s Outside, the man himself had shed his stage persona, and gone back to his real name, calling himself Jon Ledingham. Weird.
But if you agree with his sentiments this is still a very fine recording, which has travelled over the years with no notice of dating, but easy listening it is not.

‘... Waiting On You’/’Two Days In Winter’

Disc One
Making It Lonely
Sensation Street
Great Northern Railroad
I’ll Never Find Another Love
Yesterday’s Promises
Tell Me People.

Disc Two
Baby Child
Only Your Love
Is It Not A Lovely Day
Living Together
Reaching For A Star
Now Is The Time
Mary Jane
Never Do That To Anyone
Rush On Time
Rabbit Face
What Can I Do Now
Minstrel Tramp
One More Kiss

Jonathan Kelly’s Outside
Jon Ledingham: Vocals, Guitar, and Piano
Trevor Williams: Bass
Chas Jankel: Guitars
David Sheen: Drums
Snowy White: Guitars
Peter Wood: Piano

Two Days In Winter
“This is what it says on the album cover, which perhaps says more than anything else.”
Jonathan Kelly (That’s right, back to Kelly again): Guitars, Pianos, Percussion, and
Kum Harada: Bass guitar, Lead Guitar, Confidence Brewer, Percussion
Dave Sheen: Drums, Guitar, Percussion
Darry Le Que: Congas
Roger Rettig: Pedal Steel Guitar
The Pizza Quartet + Chako: Strings
Brian Gascoigne: Marimba

To contact Mott the Dog email: [email protected]