Book Review
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Book Review

Book Review: by Lang Reid

Chiang Mai Cooks!

One 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 from sponsors.

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.