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Photo: Noah Fecks

One of our favorite food books of the year is The Way We Ate, a cookbook chronicling the iconic foods of our past and present via some of the world's favorite chefs. The book’s authors (and photographers) Noah Fecks and Paul Wagtouicz share a desire to re-create, cook and capture some of the best recipes of the 20th Century that they either missed the first time around, or want to relive in their own kitchens. In the book, food writers and chefs each take a year in the 20th Century and develop a recipe that pays tribute to an invention, moment in history or nugget of pop culture. Model-turned-chef Hong Thaimee loaned the authors her recipe for Thailand's signature dish, pad thai

Struck by a wave of nationalism, Siam attempted to modernize itself by changing the name of the nation to Thailand, which literally translates to "land of the free." This new era for Southeast Asia promoted the export of its unique culture and cuisine to the United States. In the coming decades, Thai dishes would dramatically gain popularity and undergo several American makeovers and hybridizations — in some cases, with disappointing results. In this case, Hong Thaimee provides a recipe, inspired by that original excitement of the Thai people of 1939 who were eager to share their culture, history and exotic flavors with the world, in its original, flavorful form.

Check out our interview with Hong Thaimee here.

Reprinted with permission from The Way We Ate