From the Source Italy & From the Source Thailand – the first two in a new series of authentic cookbooks from travel experts, Lonely Planet.
Since well before the baby boomers began to set off on the hippy trail travellers have been turning to guide books for help, direction and inspiration. But thanks to the Wheelers and their adventures through Asia in the 1970’s, the very first step many of us take when thinking about travelling these days is the purchase of a Lonely Planet guide book. This mega travel resource has become the worlds most successful travel publisher and has printed over 120 million books in 11 different languages, produces a range of guidebooks and eBooks to almost every destination on the planet and has a website, magazine, digital travel products and apps. They have previously dabbled with culinary travel and published a small number of one-off food titles and have now launched a series of cookbooks called ‘From the Source’.
It seems a bit of a no-brainer for such a well-travelled publishing house to turn its hand to international food and they will launch this ‘destination’ series in August with the first two in the series – From the Source Italy and From the Source Thailand.
The books promise “the world’s most authentic dishes – direct from the kitchens where they were perfected” with the best local cooks, from street vendors to top restaurant chefs sharing their passion, expertise and family recipes.
From the Source Italy gathers 60 recipes from Italy’s top to toe, visiting cooks and chefs in their different regions. Italy’s seasonal food is truly locavore in nature and these authentic recipes have been gathered directly from where they originated. The dishes, arranged according to where they come from rather than in courses, range from a satisfyingly simple Genovese chickpea flat bread with only four ingredients to a sophisticated truffle-stuffed rabbit dish served in a Michelin-starred Turin ristorante, each with an equally interesting explanation of its roots.
The culinary heritage of Thailand is another which is highly localised and this is reflected beautifully in From the Source Thailand. Many of the dishes in this collection are sourced from street food vendors and local cooking school owners, as well as from some top restaurant chefs. They communicate the geography and social history of each region from the seafood preferences of the coastal regions, to the influences of prevailing minority groups and the impact of the royal palace in Bangkok. Each of the recipes has been reproduced with the original methods of each chef, and the fiery levels of chilli that the locals love, but can generally be reproduced in the home with a food processor and a measure of circumspection in relation to the spiciness.
I’ve not been to Thailand, but am utterly devoted to Italy and found myself fondly recalling past meals and locales while thumbing through From the Source Italy – as well as planning meals for my next trip. In fact, like all Lonely Planet guides, these books would serve brilliantly as a travel guide for the epicure, if planning your travel around food is your thing. It’s certainly mine.
From the Source Italy and From the Source Thailand were supplied to Lambs’ Ears and Honey as review copies.