Children's Literature - Leigh GeigerThis volume from the "Super Chef" series begins with a brief, but useful summary of the differences in geography, climate and history between the heavily forested region of northern Thailand and the central plains and southern areas. Readers learn, for example, how the central and southern areas have a wide-reaching system of canals that allow them to transport fish, spices and other ingredients throughout the area, resulting in a wider range of spicier dishes which include freshwater fish and shrimp. The recipes are grouped by type of cuisine from soups and stocks to salads, rice and noodles, main dishes and desserts. Most recipes include inviting, full-color photos of the finished dish, which is particularly helpful when young cooks are preparing unfamiliar foods. The recipes vary from simple chicken stock to moderately difficult grilled chicken in peanut sauce. Every recipe includes extensive directions, which use the "on your mark," "get set," "cook" format. This ensures that all ingredients are available and prepared in the proper order. Young chefs will be expected to use knives extensively for peeling and chopping vegetables, to use a stove top for cooking and boiling and to use the oven for baking. The author advises adult help when the recipe calls for broiling. The ingredients are all healthy; they ensure that all food groups are represented and that several vegetarian options are provided. There is a short discussion of cooking techniques that contribute to the subtlety and visual presentation unique to Thai food. Readers not familiar with Thai cooking will find the section on "Essential Ingredients" very helpful. Through photographs and short descriptions, novices are introduced to staples of the Thai diet, including fish sauce, galangal, miso, and green curry paste. Also included are safety tips, additional web and text resources and an index. Reviewer: Leigh Geiger, Ph.D.
Children's LiteratureA note in the front "From the Author" introduces young people to traditional recipes from other countries, adapted to work in their kitchen. His goal is to introduce a world of exciting and satisfying recipes, along with the basic principles of kitchen safety, food handling, and common-sense nutrition. These are classic recipes from Thailand that range from very basic to challenging. "Before You Begin" includes "A Word About Safety" and "Cooking Terms." Next is "The Regions of Thailand and How They Taste"a wonderful description of the areas with information about certain food products. Then comes incareful detailthe soups and how to prepare them. "Salads" and "Relishes" are next. "Rice" and "Noodles" follow. Then come "Curries" and "Main Dishes." Baked Coconut Custard and Banana Cake enliven the "Desserts" section. All the selections are portrayed in the great colored photographs. Sections in the back include "Helpful Kitchen Equipment and Utensils," "Essential Ingredients in the Thai Kitchen," "Metric Conversion Chart," and the index. This title is part of the "Super Chef" series for the serious want-to-be or present cook. 2005, Benchmark Books/Michael Cavendish, Ages 12 to 18.
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 4-8-The spicy cuisines of India and Thailand are served up by a professional chef, with beautifully presented, full-color photos of mouth-watering dishes. Each volume includes detailed information on the regional influences within the country, noting the specialties of individual cities and agricultural areas. Basic cooking and safety information is outlined, and young chefs are encouraged to enlist an adult as assistant. The recipes emphasize fresh ingredients, with stocks and spice mixes made from scratch. Conversions for vegetarians are suggested where appropriate. The author recommends personally grinding spices for optimum flavor, and includes recipes for making fresh Indian cheese and red curry paste. A descriptive list of specialized ingredients for each cuisine is included. The detailed directions are the strength of these books. While the recipes are not simple, and call for ingredients that may be unfamiliar to most readers, preparation is broken down into small, doable steps. Before the actual cooking begins, chopping and peeling are completed so that everything is ready to go. Safety and caution are continually stressed, especially in the use of knives and handling of chile peppers. Vijay Madavan's Cooking the Indian Way (Lerner, 1985) and Judy Monroe and Supenn Harrison's Cooking the Thai Way (Lerner, 1986) offer similar coverage and presentation, but their directions are not as explicitly detailed.-Joyce Adams Burner, Hillcrest Library, Prairie Village, KS Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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