Recipe book derives its title from community chef and author Saiyuud Diwong’s nickname, which is Thai for crab
If 30-minute meals with Jamie or domestic goddessdom with Nigella fail to tempt this evening then it might be worth considering the latest big thing in home cuisine, Cooking with Poo, which has just won the Diagram prize for the oddest book title of the year.
The 114-page cookbook derives its unsanitary title from author Saiyuud Diwong’s nickname, Poo, which is Thai for crab. Diwong lives in Bangkok’s Klong Toey slum, where she runs a community cookery school. Her book was crowned winner of the Diagram prize following a public vote, beating an array of oddments including Mr Andoh’s Pennine Diary: Memoirs of a Japanese Chicken Sexer in 1935 Hebden Bridge; The Great Singapore Penis Panic and the Future of American Mass Hysteria; and Estonian Sock Patterns All Around the World, to win the award.
“Given that this year the three most voted-for works contain the words ‘poo’, ‘sexer’ and ‘penis’ in the title, it appears that this year’s prize will go down in history as a blue year,” said the award’s custodian, Horace Bent. “But there is nothing wrong with that. Many of the world’s greatest writers have dabbled in off-colour humour, so I find Cooking with Poo a fitting winner.”
There is no prize for the author of the winning title – instead The Bookseller magazine, which runs the award, usually gives a bottle of “fairly passable plonk” to whoever spotted the title. As Cooking with Poo was “unearthed indirectly via Twitter”, however, the magazine will be making a donation to Urban Neighbours of Hope, a charity that helped create Diwong’s cookery programme.
Diwong may find winning the Diagram award brings other benefits: previous recipient Michael Young, author of Managing a Dental Practice the Genghis Khan Way, said it had the unlikely effect of increasing his literary clout. “Since the award of the prize, I am pleased to say that my writing career is once again flourishing. Editors are keen to publish my words,” he said. “Being the winner of the Diagram prize has, I feel, given both the book and me a great deal of credibility, which perhaps without the epithet ‘prize-winning’ we would never have achieved.”
The award has been running since 1978, when it was conceived at the Frankfurt book fair and given to Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice. Previous winners also include Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers, Highlights in the History of Concrete and Bombproof Your Horse.