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Cooking with Poo

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For more than 5 years now Khun Poo's cooking school has been running in Klong Toey for tourists as well as local residents. She represents a remarkable model of success and positivity in an often stark and complex landscape of poverty and hardship and has trained up a stellar team of fellow residents. 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. 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,

Cooking with Poo: Diwong, Saiyuud: 9780977507078: Books Cooking with Poo: Diwong, Saiyuud: 9780977507078: Books

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. Just in case anyone wasn’t aware of this, Poo warned us that wet markets are not like the supermarkets most of us are used to. 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.You don’t have to travel very far south from the shops and hotels of downtown Sukhumvit Road before you reach Bangkok’s largest slum area located just north of the Chao Phraya River. Klong Toey is home to an estimated 100,000 people, a mix of poor people from Bangkok plus economic migrants from other regions of Thailand (mainly the north and north-east) who have been drawn to the Thai capital by the prospect of work. The numbers at Klong Toey are swelled still further by immigrants from neighbouring countries like Laos and Burma who arrive with no legal status or documents and are left with little option but to take the dirtiest and lowest paid jobs on offer. With basic amenities like fresh water and electricity in limited supply, the Klong Toey residents have no legal rights to occupy the land and live with the threat of eviction hanging over them. 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. It’s also walking distance from Siam Paragon – the food hall of which is just incredible. I can spend hours in there. What to Read Next

Cooking with Poo by Saiyuud Diwong | Goodreads

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. Other dishes on the list include the coconut soup Tom Kai Gai, the spicy salad Som Tum, Green Curry, Tom Yum soup and the noodle dish Pad See Ew.But this down-to-earth Thai matriarch is far from starry-eyed. She lives in the same wooden slum building as before and throws her heart into helping her slum community (which she naturally calls “our family”). Ten per cent of proceeds from every cooking class goes to local families and businesses. The school also funds five local projects: the HOPE shop, Second Chance upcycled gifts and jewelry shop, a catering business, and fresh food delivery service. Profits from the school and cookbook help lessen the burden of slum children’s school costs and the cooking team also bring food to a local preschool every couple of months. It’s not all been plain sailing though – a slum fire completely devastated Poo’s kitchen and much of her income. Business shut down completely until it was rebuilt. You can also buy the Cooking with Poo apron I am happily modelling above and Poo’s cookbook – but again, there was no hard sell for any of it. What Did I Think of Cooking With Poo

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