Chiang Mai Cooks!
of Chiang Mai’s leading ladies made contact with me, wondering if the paper
could give some editorial space to a fund-raising project being run to
benefit rural children through the scholarships administered by the
Foundation for the Education of Rural Children, known commonly in the north
by the acronym FERC. As one of the principles of the newspaper has always
been one to support worthwhile charities, I looked forward to receiving
their book Chiang Mai Cooks! which sells for B.350, with all the
profits going to the foundation.
It is not often that a reviewer is asked to review a cook
book, and raises some logistical problems, especially for people like myself
who are banned from household kitchens. “Too many cooks spoil the broth,”
goes the adage, doesn’t it? So to help monitor the content, I asked for the
help of the Dining Out Column’s Madame, a lady who had spent much time in
the kitchens of five star hotels and other private restaurants.
One of the first comments she said was that the book was
published on gloss paper stock, making for easy wiping up of the inevitable
spills, and what forethought that showed. Her next comment was that the
recipes were printed in both English and Thai, the commonest languages heard
in Thailand, and this increased its practicality. She also liked the space
for “Notes” at the end of the recipes, with her adding that some would
benefit from the addition of chopped cilantro, for her taste at least (try
it with the Singaporean Chili Crab). However, it should also be noted that
the editorial panel worked with the chefs in fine restaurants and hotels,
actually spending time cooking with them in their kitchens to be sure that
they understood the recipe and method for preparing it.
The recipes come from 32 different countries, and as one
of the editors, Dr. Rebecca Lomax writes, “This response is a reminder to
all of us of how diverse the community in Chiang Mai is.” And it certainly
is a food-lover’s paradise with so many restaurants to choose from and now
you possess the recipes.
There is an alphabetic index at the front and some very
interesting color photo plates at the back of the book, plus some adverts
Chiang Mai Cooks! has much to recommend it. It has
collected recipes from all over the world, as well as having some of Chiang
Mai’s unique dishes. It is a bilingual publication, as befits many of the
kitchens in Chiang Mai, and being a charity project it benefits the needy
rural children. I would venture that it is a win-win-win situation, and do
suggest that you get Chiang Mai Cooks! for the person in charge of
your kitchen. They will thank you, and so will the Chiang Mai Friends who
have worked so hard to bring this to fruition.
Education is the key to help these rural children rise
above their lowly station, and this newspaper congratulates everyone who has
been involved with the project, especially Dr. Rebecca Lomax and K. Boong
Duenpen Chaladlam, the editors.