A Year of Thai

I know nothing about Thai food. Actually, I know I like it. That’s about it. And that Mrs. Show-Me Eats loves it to. There’s that.

But beyond that, nada. I’ve never made a chili paste, never cooked with lemongrass. But we are planning a trip to Thailand in the fall, so I need to get with the program.

That brings me to my question for the more Thai-minded: How should I structure a crash course on the cuisine? Regionally? Historically? By ingredient?

A copy of “Thai Food” is on its way. What else is essential reading?

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Author: Scott

I am a married father of two. I graduated from Rock Bridge High School and then Mizzou before spending six years in the Washington, D.C. area. We returned to Columbia, Missouri in 2006.

4 thoughts

  1. I really like Alford and Dugoid’s “Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet”. It’s not strictly Thai- it follows the Mekong River and the foods of the cultures that lives on its banks including Vietnamese food. It’s a gorgeous coffee table book, a lot of it is photography and travel log, and the recipes are good. I’ve made probably 20 things from the book over the years. Their other books about China and India are also excellent as is “Flatbreads and Flavors.” I’m still looking for (and have been for a long time) a good standard Thai cookbook. I’ve looked at a lot in bookstores but have yet to decide on one.

  2. I recently got The New American Chef by Karen Page and Andrew Dorenburg, which has chapters on a few different cuisines, but they consult with some of the best known chefs of each and really do a thorough introduction, I think. They talk about regions and individual ingredients and dishes.

    They quote cookbook expert Nach Waxman as saying “There should bea law that no one cooking food from Southeast Asia should be allowed to do so without first consulting Hot Sour Salty Sweet.”

    He also suggests The Original Thai Cookbook by Jennifer Brennan and Thai Food by David Thompson, which sounds like what you ordered.

  3. It’s not Thai, but take a look at Osterlind’s Cradle of Flavor, which is about home cooking from Malaysia to Indonesia. Obviously the cuisines share many characteristics, and the recipes are wonderful. Ingredients are generally available at Kea.

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