Now a Netflix series!
New York Times Bestseller and Winner of the 2018 James Beard Award for Best General Cookbook and multiple IACP Cookbook Awards
Named one of the Best Books of 2017 by: NPR, BuzzFeed, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Rachel Ray Every Day, San Francisco Chronicle, Vice Munchies, Elle.com, Glamour, Eater, Newsday, Minneapolis Star Tribune, The Seattle Times, Tampa Bay Times, Tasting Table, Modern Farmer, Publishers Weekly, and more.
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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat is unlike any cookbook you’ve ever used…and that’s a good thing. Samin Nosrat’s recipes are great—we’re huge fans of the buttermilk-marinated roast chicken!—but that’s not the main dish. Nosrat’s mission is to teach you the skills and confidence to cook without a recipe. This is a cookbook you should read cover to cover and, luckily, Nosrat’s chatty writing style and infectious enthusiasm make that a total delight. Wendy MacNaughton’s whimsical illustrations are also incredibly useful, especially the color wheels that show which ingredients best complement each other. You’ll be taking notes on practically every page to flag particularly useful pointers or jot down your own conclusions as you experiment with Nosrat’s tips and tricks. Whether you’re just finding your way in the kitchen or you’re an experienced home cook, this is a cookbook you’ll return to again and again.
In this excellent, accessible cookbook, Nosrat leads readers through the cooking process. She didn t set out to become a chef, but was so moved by her first meal at Chez Panisse that she wrote Chef Alice Waters a letter asking to bus tables. Amazingly, she got the gig, and she jumped into the deep end of the culinary spectrum, soaking up as much knowledge as she could. In even, measured tones, she explains how salt even the shape of the crystals can affect a dish s overall flavor as well as specific proteins, how fat results in a food s crispness, how heat influences flavor via caramelization, and, perhaps most importantly, how to balance all these elements when composing a dish or a meal. Basic techniques and recipes, such as Vietnamese cucumber salad and pasta al ragu, prove her points. Over the course of the book, readers will learn how to make the perfect Caesar salad, break down a chicken, boil an egg to the desired doneness, and put those skills to use in creating many other dishes. MacNaughton s whimsical illustrations, charts, and graphs add to the experience. This exceptional debut is sure to inspire greater confidence in readers and enable them to create better meals on their own.
How-to cook book, not recipe book
I think the review that says "just tell me how much frigging salt to use" completely missed the point of this book. Although there are recipes, the book is totally about how these four elements work--separately and together--to make your cooking much better. As you read and learn, you'll know how much salt to use--which kind, when to use it, how much--and how to get desired results based on your tastes, your kitchen, your meat supplier, etc. If you just want to follow recipes, but a different book.
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).
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.