19 April, 2024

Cooking with Poo Book Turning Heads Worldwide

by | 3 September, 2012 | 0 comments

By Jennifer Johnson

It”s the attention-getting title of a new cookbook that”s received international attention””and helped Saiyuud “Chompoo” Diwong create a new life for herself and her family in the Klong Toey slum of Bangkok.

Poo began by offering cooking classes as part of a microenterprise initiative led by Ash and Anji Barker, directors of Urban Neighbors of Hope (UNOH), which partnered with Christian Missionary Fellowship (Indianapolis, IN) earlier this year. The Barkers and two other families live in the Bangkok, Thailand, slums and lead community centers, a Christian school, the Helping Hands microenterprise program, and more. Other UNOH teams live among the urban poor in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia, Auckland, New Zealand, and Mae Sot, Thailand (along the border with Burma).

Although the classes began small””often with Anji serving as an interpreter to curious tourists””today Poo offers classes six days a week. Each class includes a tour of the local market, a half-day cooking session, and time to enjoy the results. She also runs a catering service offering full meals, sweet Thai desserts, and appetizers.

In 2011 she released the 100-page Cooking with Poo, which caught the attention of celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver and won the Diagram Prize, an international contest for the strangest book title. She”s been featured in CNN Go, Der Spiegel, and the Bangkok Post, and her cooking classes are highly recommended on tripadvisor.com.

More than 6,000 copies of the book have sold so far. The proceeds support Helping Hands, and Poo also donates 10 percent of her net profit back to the microenterprise group.

“Before, we felt like no one cared about us here in the slum, but now we know people do care and are interested in our lives,” Poo said in a recent article in The Nation. “And they are encouraging us to keep going and help others. Lots of jobs have come as a result, and we can help more people. It”s allowing us to give new opportunities to many people, so I”m really excited!”




Jennifer Johnson, one of Christian Standard”s contributing editors, lives in Levittown, Pennsylvania.




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