Posted 20 hours ago

Cooking with Poo

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Hands washed, we set about learning how to cook Thai cuisine. I am a massive fan of Thai food, and despite being a terrible cook, I have to say that under Poo’s guidance I managed to make four delicious dishes:

Cooking with Poo: Books - AbeBooks Cooking with Poo: Books - AbeBooks

In fact, the school is now officially called Cooking With Poo (and Friends) to show how it’s expanded. By choosing them, therefore, I’d also be doing some good. I was sold How Much is Cooking With Poo? Khlong Toei is located near the popular glitzy ex-pat enclave of Thanon Sukhumvit and the Khlong Toei slum. I’m not quite sure whether it is classed as being part of the slum or not. All I can say is that it was definitely an experience, and not one you’d want to do while hungover!Poo had been making a living by cooking in front of her home for over a decade. She would sell up to 100 dishes a day to feed her family. In 2007 though, the rice prices doubled, thus making her business no longer profitable. So, being the entrepreneurial woman that she is, Poo approached Anji, her Australian friend, to ask if she would help her set up a cooking school to teach tourists and locals how to make simple yet delicious Thai meals. She’d been selling food to her friends and neighbours to get by, but the ingredients were getting more expensive and her regular customerscouldn’t afford a price increase. Poo started looking for a new job. At the time an Australian was working with people in the slum and, having tasted how good Poo’s cooking was, he suggested she started offering cooking lessons to tourists – at the time, she didn’t speak English and the school was run out of the front room of her home, but it slowly became a success.

Cooking with Poo - Diwong, Saiyuud right? 9780977507078 - Cooking with Poo - Diwong, Saiyuud right?

All the food items were pretty much prepped (thank heavens) and so, it really was a case of just getting on with it. Poo cooked first so you could see what was going to happen – then it was my go, When we got to Klong Toey market the main aim was to buy the ingredients we needed, but we still got to see some of the quirkier things on sale like frogs, insects and ant eggs.

Helping Hands

Cooking With Poo Von Saiyuud Diwong (Autor) Cookbook and More Khun Poo's World Renowned and Award Winning 'Cooking With Poo' is a Fabulous Collection of Thai Recipes and Stories of Her Community All Beautifully Photographed in and Around Her Kitchen in... - hardcover It is very important to remember when visiting Khlong Toei, or any other market for that matter, that these are working markets where people need to make a living, so please be respectful and don’t get in the way. Time to learn how to cook Thai cuisine! In the eight years she’s run the school, Poo has seen the community change for the better. Now, she says, many students in “our family” go to university, and with the financial support, families are able to take weekends off and even have the occasional holiday from work. The twelve staff Poo employs are all neighbourhood friends. Since Poo trained them up they earn more money and rest time than they would otherwise. Following the success of the cooking school, Poo went on to create the Helping Hands Project alongside three other women. This project aims to support and encourage small business development within the Klong Toei Slum Community. Using profits from the cooking classes and additional profits from Klong Toei Handicrafts, they have established several successful initiatives, including a sushi service, catering service, and a Thai dessert business. You might be thinking, “Why are you recommending Cooking with Poo then? That takes place inside a slum”. You are right, but personally, I feel it is entirely different. Yes, we saw some of the slums, but there was no focus whatsoever on the slum. It was just where the cooking school was because that is where she lives. We got a glimpse into that lifestyle, but not once did I feel we were being asked to observe. The focus was on the cooking class and the market. Yes, we were given information relevant to the projects that Poo works on, but that is it. At no point did I feel I was part of “poverty tourism”. In fact, when we booked the tour, we booked it because of the name, nothing more!

Cooking with Poo (!) - BKK Kids Cooking with Poo (!) - BKK Kids

Khun Saiyuud Diwong, affectionately known as Poo (short for "Chompoo" or rose apple), is a long-time resident of Klong Toey, the largest slum in Bangkok. In late 2007, as the price of rice in Thailand doubled, she found that she could no longer make a living selling food from her house.

Khun Poo’s Story

About a square mile wide and home to around 100,000 people Klong Toey is a tough place to live and, in 2007, Poo was struggling. Now, ten years later Poo not only speaks excellent English, she has a dedicated cooking school (still in the slum) and employs numerous people from the area in her business. One thing about this cookbook is you will definitely need an Asian market near by for a lot of these ingredients. We happened to have one about 20 minutes away, across the Rainbow Bridge. We even planned a day together to go and get ingredients. We love shopping there. She just had no idea I was getting ingredients for their cookbook, which I will gift to them next weekend on Easter.

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