Lost in Translation…Cooking with What?!


Here’s a quick test to check your English level:

Did this book cover make you chuckle?

– Yes

– No

If you didn’t understand what’s funny, perhaps the picture below will help …


If you still don’t understand, click here for the definition of poo. Got it now?

Sometimes things just don’t translate smoothly from one language to another. Unlike in some of my previous posts, sometimes the problem is not about grammar or spelling mistakes.

Sometimes, as they say, things just get lost in translation.

The title of this cookbook—“Cooking with Poo”—will certainly cause an English speaker to chuckle (=laugh) or at the very least catch their attention. The phrase “cooking with” implies two different possibilities.

1. Cooking with a particular person:

This means the person or chef is going to show or tell you how to cook. (e.g., Cooking with Paula Deen or Cooking with Dog- go ahead search for that on YouTube).

In the English-speaking world, Poo seems like an unfortunate name but it is actually Saiyuud Diwong’s nickname. And even in the English-speaking world there is one very famous Pooh. And, what do you know? He’s a celebrity chef too! If Ms. Diwong added the ‘h’ to the end of her nickname she wouldn’t receive the same reaction to her name.



2. Cooking with a particular ingredient or product:

“Cooking with” is also used to describe how to cook with a particular ingredient or product (e.g., Cooking with Tofu, Cooking with Olive Oil or Cooking with bamboo steamer baskets).

Cooking with olive oil? Okay. Cooking with poo? Not so okay.

But it’s true that poo is an ingredient, although in this case it’s nothing like Kopi Luwak coffee (which is made from coffee beans harvested from the feces of the Indonesian civet cat, but that’s another story…).

In the Thai language, poo means “crab”. I believe there are recipes within this 114-page cookbook that use crab meat.


It’s a bit ironic that poo means crab in Thai because when I’m in Asia, I often see the word “crab” misspelled on restaurant menus as “crap.”  (Crap is another slang word for poo in English…).

It makes me wonder what my name means in other languages…

One thing is for sure. Ms. Saiyuud carefully chose this book title.  If she had named it Cooking with Saiyuud most people would say, “Cooking with who?” But this book cover definitely makes English speakers look twice. As you can see from the first photo, the book was a top seller (#5 on the top 10 list) at that book store.

The book name was so intriguing (=interesting) that I wanted to find out more about the book. Ms. Saiyuud’s story is quite inspiring and I was so impressed with her work that I ordered her cookbook. And now I want to share her story with you.

Listening comprehension exercise:

The video below details her story and is a good opportunity to test your listening skills:

1. First watch the video.

3. Then take the quiz to practice your listening comprehension skills.

3. If you had trouble understanding, click here for the transcript.

4. Leave a comment with your thoughts! (It’s your chance to practice writing; just do it!)

Ready to take the short quiz?

1. Klong Toey is the largest slum in Bangkok.


2. “Shanty town” and “slum” are synonyms (have the same meaning)


3. Cooking with Poo is a cooking school for professional chefs.


4. Diwong no longer lives in Klong Toey slum.


5. Tourists at the cooking school (check all that apply):


6. Before Pool started her cooking school she used to struggle to make ends meet. What does this mean?


7. Poo was able to open her cooking school with the help of:


8. Today, Cooking with Poo is a successful business. Which of the following are examples of the school’s success (check all that apply):





3 thoughts on “Lost in Translation…Cooking with What?!

  1. Elodie

    I learned a new vocabulary today. I will always remember this word. Pooh is Winnie l’Ourson in French. My daughter likes him I want that cookbook for children. It’s is a good cooking school for tourists seeing how the real Thai people are living in the poor areas of the city.

  2. Celeste

    Oh my God. She must change her nickname if she’s gonna come in the United States or a lot of people are going to seriously laugh. LOLLLL.

  3. Chuma

    Its hard to understand video. It is a great school to help slums people. I want to travel Thailand some time in future!!


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