I’m not gonna lie to you or be all coy and faux-humble, I’m a pretty good cook. I am also old and set in my ways and blah blah blah, the point is I don’t do a lot of cooking out of books any more because I know how to make what I like and I’m no longer interested in following directions. So with all that disclaimed I want to say that Andy Ricker’s Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand seems so far to be an amazing addition to the tiny library of things I actually look to when I’m in the mood to make something I wouldn’t normally. And I am someone who has stayed far away from the restaurant, which was 2012’s most insufferable New York opening. (Because of the hype, I mean. I’m sure Andy Ricker and the restaurant are perfectly lovely or whatever.) Anyway, I’ve played with a couple of the recipes here, and even though I haven’t followed the instructions to the letter things have still come out very well, so keep that in mind. It’s a good-looking book that would probably make an even better gift, maybe buy it now and give it to someone instead of having to go to dinner with them in Brooklyn for the holidays. Anyway, what I want you to take away from this whether you buy the book or not is that I am really good at cooking and I don’t care who knows it.