Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat
Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking
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New York Times Bestseller
A visionary new master class in cooking that distills decades of professional experience into just four simple elements, from the woman declared “America’s next great cooking teacher” by Alice Waters.
In the tradition of The Joy of Cooking and How to Cook Everything comes Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, an ambitious new approach to cooking by a major new culinary voice. Chef and writer Samin Nosrat has taught everyone from professional chefs to middle school kids to author Michael Pollan to cook using her revolutionary, yet simple, philosophy. Master the use of just four elements—Salt, which enhances flavor; Fat, which delivers flavor and generates texture; Acid, which balances flavor; and Heat, which ultimately determines the texture of food—and anything you cook will be delicious. By explaining the hows and whys of good cooking, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat will teach and inspire a new generation of cooks how to confidently make better decisions in the kitchen and cook delicious meals with any ingredients, anywhere, at any time.
Echoing Samin’s own journey from culinary novice to award-winning chef, Salt, Fat Acid, Heat immediately bridges the gap between home and professional kitchens. With charming narrative, illustrated walkthroughs, and a lighthearted approach to kitchen science, Samin demystifies the four elements of good cooking for everyone. Refer to the canon of 100 essential recipes—and dozens of variations—to put the lessons into practice and make bright, balanced vinaigrettes, perfectly caramelized roast vegetables, tender braised meats, and light, flaky pastry doughs.
Featuring 150 illustrations and infographics that reveal an atlas to the world of flavor by renowned illustrator Wendy MacNaughton, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat will be your compass in the kitchen. Destined to be a classic, it just might be the last cookbook you’ll ever need.
With a foreword by Michael Pollan.
From Publishers Weekly
© Publishers Weekly
Good, but some issues with the science
I haven't completely read through the book yet. I like so far the main points of each passage, but, as a scientist, the blatantly incorrect details of the science behind the cooking kind of ruins this book for me. Denaturing a protein doesn't cause proteins to more tightly coil and squeeze out water, it loses all secondary structure and clumps together, leading to shrinkage and water loss. Osmosis isn't the movement of water from less concentrated to more concentrated, it's the opposite.
These details kind of ruin Nosrat's authority on the subject for me. I was excited for something akin the "The Food Lab," but it's obvious Nosrat knows very very little of the details actual food science.
Demystifying the Art of Cooking
Working from the premise that an understanding of four basic elements - Salt, Fat, Acid, and Heat - provides the foundation of good cooking, Samin Nosrat describes how the four elements combine with each other to create different flavor palettes.
If you’re a fan of Harold McGee and/or J. Kenji Lopze-Alt, you’ll enjoy Samin’s book. It might even be difficult to not rush off to the kitchen and explore what you’ve just learned.
Wendy MacNaughton’s illustrations add a touch of humor, but also a visual reference (for example, her ‘pesto pie chart’ showing the ingredients of a pesto sauce, from which you can then vary ingredients and flavors).