When Ivonne from the Daring Kitchen asked me if I wanted to do a cookbook review, I jumped on it. What could be better than cooking and then writing about it? My two favorite things to do - cook and write - well, okay, maybe eating figures in there, too.
The review is here: http://thedaringkitchen.com/cookbook/thai-cooking-sufis-kitchen
The cookbook Ivonne sent me was a Thai cookbook written by the owner of a Thai restaurant in Richland, Washington, Thai Cooking in a Sufi's Kitchen. Richland is on the eastern side of Washington, the hot/cold side, not the rainy side, which is where I live. Apparently this restaurant has a solid following because there are many references in the cookbook to customers and their favorite dishes.
It's an interesting process to use a cookbook for more than just the preparation of a dish. I was very conscious of ingredients, instructions for preparing the dish as well as the final outcome. Usually the first time I try a recipe, I follow it pretty closely, but if I like it well enough to try again, I make some modifications. I might change ingredients or spices or increase the heat level (we like hot!). I might note any modifications to cooking instructions (how long to cook and at what temp). When doing these recipes, I admit I made some changes during the first iteration, but I noted them in my review.
Writing a cookbook and developing recipes is an art and a science. Certainly the recipe should sound appealing and the ingredients should be flavors that work well together or present a variation which is intriguing; however, the technical details are also important: measurements, order of assembly, cooking times, serving ideas. Some of the recipes in this cookbook had instructions which I found puzzling, along the lines of "cook until the chicken is done and then add these additional seasonings or ingredients and cook some more." Well, if the chicken is done, why would you want to cook it longer? So I made modifications at times, something anyone who read through the recipe first and had any experience cooking would probably also have done.
I hope to do more testing and more reviewing. It is a good way to test your ability to analyze what works and what doesn't in a recipe, a skill than can be used in all your cooking.