Most helpful critical review
73 of 81 people found the following review helpful
Authentic and Comprehensive.... perhaps a little too much so
on 12 November 2008
This is a beautiful and well written cookbook. it aims at being comprehensive and authentic and definitely succeeds. However, the author has the most exacting and uncompromising approach to ingredients and recipes i have ever encountered in a cookbook and this really undermines it in the long run. This book is all about producing the food that Thais eat in Thailand and as such, demands a whole bunch of really specialised ingredients. I live in Manchester and we have a bunch of Chinese/Asian supermarkets and at least 3 Thai food stores and even then I've had real trouble finding some of the things. And even if you could find everything, David tells you that you should really be making everything from scratch. From coconut cream to fermented pork this book teaches you how to make everything in Thai cookery and how the shop-bought versions really aren't quite the same. Personally, i find his level of exactitude off-putting. I want to make tasty things and be told they will be tasty, not pale imitations of what i could make if i lived in Thailand and had plenty of time and ingredients to hand. You simply cannot buy coconuts at three different stages of growth in Manchester. I also want to be told where and when i can make shortcuts, the author just tells you that you shouldn't which is unhelpful really.
The recipes are well described and, if you flick about to different sections, give loads of details about about EXACTLY how to prepare ingredients, cook things and what it is you're looking for at each stage of cooking. what i have made has been good (or great) but it's been the most laborious shopping trips ever. I had hoped that this would help me eat delicious Thai food regularly which it hasn't, it's just too daunting for that. However, it has made me confident in cooking asian food and comes out when i want to make something a bit more special when i have time and money on my hands. Buy this book if you want a (very pretty) definitive guide to authentic Thai cuisine written by a passionate author, don't buy this if you're looking for Thai food you can knock up on a regular basis or live far from specialist Thai food stores.