Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking

Book - 2017 | First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition
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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,, 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.
Publisher: New York :, Simon & Schuster,, 2017
Edition: First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781476753836
Branch Call Number: ANF 641.5 NOS
Characteristics: 469 pages : illustrations (chiefly colour) ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: MacNaughton, Wendy - Illustrator


From the critics

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Sep 15, 2020

I love these recipes! Also loved the show. Be sure to check it out too!

Aug 04, 2020

Added to list because part 1 is intended to be read straight through.

Overall: I think I'm more of a materialistic/scientific maximizer than an artistic/gourmet optimizer.

SALT: Didn't really learn that much.

I'm still skeptical about seasoning cooking water (seasoning from within) or basically anything that's not a large chunk (e.g. brineing a piece of meat). Doesn't the residual water, sauce, small particle size, or chewing get the salt where it needs to be? Nosrat claims that vegetables will leach more nutrition/flavor in insufficiently salted water, but does it really make a noticeable difference? Maybe eggs. But, for salad or pasta, I would think the salt comes from the dressing or sauce.

Is iodized/anti-caking agent salt really a problem? I'm still skeptical that it tastes much different, especially once everything is added. For Kosher salt, Nosrat recommends Diamond Crystal (red box) due to the light hollow flakes. Morton is rolled into thin dense flakes. For sea salt, this can just be in regular bulk sea salt, but for garnishes it can be fancier.

I'm also not so sanguine about adding heaps of salt from a health perspective. I agree that worrying excessively about salt is silly because kidneys regulate salt in the blood. So, unless you have some underlying health condition where that is compromised or you have an already crazy high blood pressure, it won't matter. But, some of what Nosrat suggests sound like truly heroic doses of salt.

FAT: Not much here either. Frying, mayonnaise, pastries.

Fun fact: Shortening gets it's name from it's function in shortening gluten strands.

ACID: "Acid makes itself indispensable to everything we cook."

Alcohol; cured meats; honey, molasses, and dark caramel; and coffee and tea are considered acid ingredients? How? Tomato, that makes sense. I suppose that explains why Nosrat considers salsa primarily as an acid.

Acid has weird effects on cooking. I'm not surprised that you mostly want to add it after cooking. But, eggs, quick acid before cooking fish, and collagen in tough cuts of meat are exceptions for some reason (although some seem contradictory).

Macerate ("soften") shallots or onions in acid before adding oil.

Why is umami in the acid section? I guess when you consider everything below 7.0 pH acid, nearly everything is acidic. Even the browning of mean generates "acid" in this definition.

I agree with this advice: "On their own, Salt, Fat, and Acid can give shape to the idea for a dish or even a meal. When deciding upon what to make, first answer the questions of which form (or forms) of each element to use, and how, and when. You'll find yourself with a to-do list that resembles—wait for it—a kind of recipe. … think first about whether you're craving Indian Sicilian, or classic American flavors. …"

Browning require a lot of attention and is seems like a gamble. Baking section seems more useful.

"350­°F is hot enough to encourage browning but gentle enough to allow most food to cook through.
Low temperatures (175° to 275°F) offer enough heat to leaven and dry out <pastry> but are also gentle enough to prevent browning. …"

The term balance is not very meaningful. It's really covering up, counteracting or mitigating. Maybe a nice way to describe it is as a counterpoint.

The term layering is not quite right. It's a fancy way to say remember all the sources of salt/fat/acid. I guess it also indicates to use subtle ingredients as garnish rather than in the bulk of the food (e.g. during cooking). But, it sort of misses the point that the acid component or effect is shared. The rest is various flavor chemicals.

Jun 14, 2020

Phenomenal read. If you have ever wondered about the "Why" behind cooking, this book reveals the chemistry. Nosrat's extensive knowledge and delightful writing complement the illustrations by McNaughton beautifully.

Oct 30, 2019

I had to buy this book, and have done so for others as well. It is such an amazing resource! Love the research and approach to these 4 main concepts. This is a multi level cookbook with something for everyone.

Sep 07, 2019

If you want to walk into a market and see meals instead of ingredients this is the book for you. I spent less then 2 hours with this book and knew it was a book I wanted in my library. I'm returning the library's copy so someone else can enjoy it. I'm buying my own. The combination of experience and writing ability is maybe once in a lifetime.

Aug 26, 2019

This book is genius.

Jun 12, 2019

I am not going to lie, I definitely checked this out because of Samin's Netflix series titled just like her cookbook. The series is the prelude to her cookbook, we meet the illustrator of whom makes those amazing illustrations in her cookbook with so much detail. Samin has the vibe of a millennial but is actually a GenXer. I really enjoy her openness and teacher-like persona. Learning how to cook is intriguing and appealing with Samin. I recommend both the book and the Netflix series. I also find her Persian background to be very intriguing as well as her linguistic skills.

Apr 06, 2019

This is a cookbook that teaches you about cooking in an easy and unique way. With the current long waitlist and me not wanting to return it, I may have to purchase it!

Dec 03, 2018

This book is aimed at a cook with some, but not extensive experience who wants to take his/her dishes to another level and explore beyond executing recipes. The first half is a must-read about how to use fat, salt, acid, and heat to enhance the flavours of a meal. It refers to recipes in the second half, many of which provide multiple options to showcase the techniques learned in the first half. The book complements Netflix’s series of the same name, which has author Samin lead the viewer through four episodes each of which is based in a single country: fat (Italy), salt (Japan), acid (Mexico), and heat (the U.S. and Samin’s kitchen). There’s much to learn in the first half and the recipes look good, so I will be buying this book to have a permanent reference.

Oct 03, 2018

A beautiful book for anyone that wants to LEARN to cook and not copy a recipe - although there are many WONDERFUL recipes included.

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Sep 15, 2020

Page 17 - "Cooking is about the joy of living"

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