The first cookbook among the treasure trove sent to me by my father-in-law that I dug into was Cooking Thai Food in American Kitchens by Malulee Pinsuvana. It was a spiral bound, out of place little thing among some of the other cookbooks he had available for me to look at, and as someone who loves most varieties of Asian food, I had to see what was in store. The history of the cookbook itself fascinated me.
It is a dual language cookbook with English Recipes on one side of the page and the Thai recipes on the other. Originally published in 1976, it only cost 100 baht. That’s 3.07 in American Dollars today. That’s insane! Anymore, you have to pay more than twenty bucks for a good cookbook, probably even the spiral bound kind.
I am obsessed with Malulee’s steamed bun recipe that uses PILLSBURY BUTTERMILK BISCUIT DOUGH for the buns rather than having the reader make their own dough. Since giving it a try in late January, I think I’ve resorted to these buns as a quick meal almost every week. Not only do I not have to bother with a dough, the meat part of the recipe leaves enough leftovers for me to throw it into a pot of fried rice the next day.
The one problem with this cookbook is that I sometimes have to resort to substitutions. For example, many of the bun, egg roll, and wonton recipes call for ground pork. Ground pork is only rarely available in the grocery stores I frequent. When I can’t find it, I go toward the ground beef that is much more widely available-- and this is okay! The flavor isn’t terribly different after you add the sauces and vegetables to the fillings.
Among its offerings is a chicken satay recipe that helps to sate my husband’s cravings for Thai food that we used to get at the Jefferson Street Farmer’s Market back in Burlington. We get nostalgic for that market from time to time, much less the food, and it helps to have a choice.
I’m glad to have found a cookbook like this one among the treasure trove my father-in-law keeps. There is such value in these old books, including the history you can glean from their pages. I look forward to continuing to search through books from this time period and much older.
As it happens, this cookbook is still available in print through amazon. I recommend it to you, especially if you’re like me and really enjoy Asian cuisine. She teaches many substitutes and techniques for the American kitchen just as the title implies. Not only that, you’ll learn to make your own curry pastes. Those recipes are very interesting to look at!
While you’re here: please know that we may not have a March cookbook of the month. I know this flies in the face of one of my goals for this year, but one of these retro cookbooks may just have to serve as the March cookbook of the month.
Thanks for your patience as I reset my food journey.
An idea born in Normal, Illinois, Eating Normal hopes to chronicle the eating Experiences of a Red bird.
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