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
Namedone of the Best Books of 2017 by: NPR, BuzzFeed, The Atlantic, TheWashington 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.
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.45
I bought this mainly for guidance with salt. The author provides some vaguely useful information along these lines, most notably a chart illustrating salt ratios per pound/quart with different varieties of salt. From there, the recipes are mostly useless, not telling the reader exactly how much salt to use. Don’t tell me to salt to taste or salt generously - TELL ME EXACTLY HOW MUCH FRICKIN’ SALT TO USE. And I don’t see how this is relative or situational. I have NEVER been to a restaurant that asked me “How much salt would you like for us to put in your entree,” which leads me to believe that if a professional chef already has a given recipe in mind, they probably already know exactly how much salt they’re going to use to satisfy a typical restaurant customer. TELL ME THAT EXACT AMOUNT. Teach by example!25
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).55
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.25