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"Thai Food" vs. "Hot Sour Salty Sweet"

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19 replies to this topic

#1 jeniac42

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Posted 17 April 2003 - 08:52 AM

I know these books have been mentioned to death here, but I cannot divine the answer to my question from previous threads.

I wish to learn to prepare Thai food at home. There are some nice restaurants in Columbus, but none of them near enough to where I live, so there you have it. I know there's a place called Bangkok Grocery, so it seems like I should be able to buy any necessary ingredients.

I know HSSS doesn't focus exclusively on Thai food.

Which one of these two books should I get (or is there another one entirely that would be better than either)?

Also: Darn you people and your larb thread. I don't have a car at work and therefore will be unable to obtain any sort of Thai food until at least seven hours from now. :blink:
Jennie

#2 tommy

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Posted 17 April 2003 - 08:57 AM

both. or thompson's book, given the choice.

#3 jeniac42

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Posted 17 April 2003 - 09:00 AM

I should add that I can only get one book if I want to have money left over to buy actual food with which to cook. :biggrin:
Jennie

#4 Jinmyo

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Posted 17 April 2003 - 09:04 AM

Both.

But "Hot Sour Salty Sweet" sure is purty...
"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

#5 fimbul

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Posted 17 April 2003 - 09:14 AM

I too vote "both."

More helpfully, though, I think _HSSS_ might be the one to get first. Both contain some daunting recipes and hard-to-find ingredients, but _HSSS_ is a notch less intimidating (and *so* purty!). If you want to choose the one to cook from now now now, that's your book -- you can probably easily find a recipe that you can cook after work from pantry staples or after a quick run to the store.

You can buy _Thai Food_ later and pore over it leisurely. That's the one I'd want to cook from if I have a couple of days to shop and prepare.
A jumped-up pantry boy who never knew his place.

#6 mamster

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Posted 17 April 2003 - 09:15 AM

Hot Sour Salty Sweet is the more valuable of the two, I think. Either of Kasma Loha-unchit's books would be a good place to start, too.
Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"
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#7 LBNoble

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Posted 17 April 2003 - 10:29 AM

I'm doing the same thing & have acquired both of these in the last month, as well as World Food Thailand, It Rains Fishes, Dancing Shrimp, Cracking the Coconut, & Asian Grilling (hey, my birthday's coming up!). I vote for HSSS over Thai Food (can't think how I resisted buying it when it first came out & was marked 40% off at Jessicas Biscuit, after keeping it checked out from the library constantly, I finally broke down & bought it.) Also, check out your public library & browse or do an interlibrary loan for titles they don't have to preview them.

I'm also lucky that a large oriental market opened right next to my library branch in the last month. Today I got black & white sticky rice, the pot & bamboo steamer, preserved vegetable, dried shrimp, & best of all, a large ceramic mortar w/ wooden (looks like palm, a tiger-striped wood) pestle for $4.99. I wanted stone & the lady said to check back next week. I love this place, I'm just sad we're moving in 2 months...

#8 cew

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Posted 17 April 2003 - 11:18 AM

I don't have Thai Food but I recently acquired Hot Sour Salty Sweet and I LOVE this book. So far everything I've cooked from it has been fantastic. The instructions are so clear and easy to follow, yet the results taste far better than what you will get at most restaurants. I also like the regional approach. I find it helpful as an introductory resource, and I am happy to have great recipes for Vietnamese shrimp rolls and Thai curries, Yunnan greens and Cambodian fish soup, etc. etc., without buying lots of different books.

#9 snowangel

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Posted 17 April 2003 - 12:03 PM

Check them out from your local library, look them over and decide which you want to get first. You can always keep renewing them, of course...
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#10 jeniac42

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Posted 17 April 2003 - 12:34 PM

Yeah. Uh, the only problem with the library is that I put some books in my trunk and forgot to return them. For three months.

Whoops.

And I have some B&N store credit at the moment, so I can get one book by shelling out a few dollars versus the giant library fine I have.
Jennie

#11 NeroW

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Posted 17 April 2003 - 12:38 PM

Hot Sour Salty Sweet is a beautiful book.

Everything I've cooked from it has turned out according to plan.

Excellent . . . (tenting fingers together).
Noise is music. All else is food.

#12 fimbul

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Posted 17 April 2003 - 12:48 PM

Excellent . . . (tenting fingers together).


Grand. Now I'm imagining you cooking flying monkeys.

:blink:
A jumped-up pantry boy who never knew his place.

#13 torakris

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Posted 17 April 2003 - 03:12 PM

I too have both, and if I could only get one I would go with HSSS first, it is more easily approachable for people not familiar with the cuisines and I don't see that many recipes where I will never be able to find the ingredients.

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#14 torakris

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Posted 17 April 2003 - 03:17 PM

When i was in the US and going a on a major cookbook spree I used this to find the best prices:

http://www.bestwebbu...c/b-home-search

I don't know if the still have a campaign going on or not, but at half.com (which is usually the cheapest) first time users can get $15 off a $50.00 or more purchase. So with the prices they have have you could get both for the price of one!!

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#15 jeniac42

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Posted 17 April 2003 - 06:54 PM

Well, I went to the bookstore and ended up buying neither because today was one of those oh-I'm-so-depressed days and I just couldn't make a decision.

So.

Perhaps tomorrow I will pick up HSSS and then, well, my birthday's coming up in a few weeks so I should be able to justify a few more books :biggrin:
Jennie

#16 torakris

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Posted 17 April 2003 - 08:35 PM

Well, I went to the bookstore and ended up buying neither because today was one of those oh-I'm-so-depressed days and I just couldn't make a decision.

So.

Perhaps tomorrow I will pick up HSSS and then, well, my birthday's coming up in a few weeks so I should be able to justify a few more books  :biggrin:

Hope you feel better! :biggrin:

I can always find reasons to buy a particular book, any holiday works, the anniversary of my first date, the anniversary of the day I got my braces off, the anniversary of the day I went to the bon Jovi concert, etc.................

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"
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#17 mamster

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Posted 17 April 2003 - 10:12 PM

the anniversary of the day I went to the bon Jovi concert, etc.................

New Jersey tour 1988, Portland, Oregon! Is there any truth to the rumor that "Livin' On a Prayer" is about tommy?

So what dishes do you most want to make, jeniac, besides larb?
Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"
Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

#18 jhlurie

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Posted 17 April 2003 - 11:38 PM

Excellent . . . (tenting fingers together).

Off topic, but was that a Wolfian excellent or more a Mr. Burnsian version? I mean, since there's never been a version of Wolfe I've really liked on film, I can hear the Burns version much clearer. :wink:
Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

#19 trillium

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Posted 18 April 2003 - 04:21 PM

Well, I went to the bookstore and ended up buying neither because today was one of those oh-I'm-so-depressed days and I just couldn't make a decision.

So.

Perhaps tomorrow I will pick up HSSS and then, well, my birthday's coming up in a few weeks so I should be able to justify a few more books  :biggrin:

Um, not to stir up trouble or anything, but I would vote for Kasma's books over HSSS. An even simpler/beginning one that has very inspirational pictures would be _Thai Home Cooking_. They do a pretty decent job.

I don't mind the books Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid write so much, but the spouse, who is Singaporean, rants about the recipes in Flatbreads and Flavors, and I also know a South Indian and a Thai cook who politely froth at the mouth about the recipes in that book. I'm not sure if how westernized you want to go, but the impression from them that knows is that the recipes are pretty westernized. I'm assuming HSSS would be the same way.

regards,
trillium

#20 mamster

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Posted 18 April 2003 - 08:06 PM

I have all three of Alford and Duguid's books, and I think the recipes in HSSS show a major improvement over those in the previous books. The Thai and Lao recipes, at least. I can't vouch for the others.
Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"
Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May





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