I consider myself a decent cook. Not a great cook, but on the higher end of average. My cooking has never made anyone’s face grimace. I’ve never had anyone spit my food into their napkin. And as far as I know, I’ve never made anyone sick. Friends and family tend to compliment me while they’re still chewing. In my opinion and in some cultures I believe, this is a sign that they are really enjoying their meal, that they are loving it so much that they can’t wait to swallow before sharing their approval.
But like most things in life, there is always room for improvement.
I had seen the book, Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat at the bookstore but had never felt compelled to pick it up. Then while searching for something new to watch on Netflix, while waiting on the new season of Grace and Frankie and trying not to watch yet another episode of The Office, I stumbled on Nosrat’s Netflix series with the same name as her best seller. After being totally captivating by Nosrat’s cooking knowledge and effervescent personality, I decided I needed more from her and quickly bought her book.
Salt Fat Acid Heat is centered around how mastering these four elements is what creates good cooking. She breaks down the science of each element, what it does to food, and how we can effectively apply that element to bring out the best in what we are eating. The book is broken into two parts. Part One: The Four Elements of Good Cooking, and Part Two: Recipes and Recommendations (which includes kitchen basics, recipes, cooking lessons, and suggested menus.)
This isn’t a cookbook. It’s a cooking education. You don’t have to be a great cook to understand this book. This book is meant for cooks of all stages along their cooking understanding. Learning about these four elements has changed the way I cook because I now understand when and why I should use salt (and that I haven’t been using nearly enough!) and the science behind cooking with heat. I now understand that fat is much more than just a cooking medium (so much more!) and all about acid’s effects on flavor.
If you like to cook, I highly recommend picking this one up. Her explanations are easy and real. And the art by Wendy MacNaughton makes the book beautiful to look at. Her recipes and step-by-step instructions are beautifully illustrated. It’s the kind of book that you can pick up, read a little bit and always learn something new.
Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat
Published by Simon and Schuster, 2017
Where I read: In my kitchen of course!
Stephenie’s Goodreads rating: 5 out of 5 stars