Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking: The Four Elements of Good Cooking Hardcover – 29 Aug. 2017
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"I have become slightly obsessed ... revolutionary in its simplicity" (YOTAM OTTOLENGHI)
"This beautiful, approachable book captures how it should feel to cook: full of exploration, spontaneity and joy" (ALICE WATERS)
"An exhaustively researched treatise on the four pillars of successful cooking. If you can train yourself to recognize the proper balance between salt, fat and acid, then apply the right kind of heat, you'll churn out simple, sophisticated fare in the spirit of Berkeley's Chez Panisse, where Nosrat started out" (New York Times)
"Funny and beautifully illustrated, this book will change the way you cook" (BBC Good Food)
"A must for anyone wanting to be a better cook. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat teaches the fundamentals of cooking and dives into the four elements that make food taste great. So do yourself a favour and buy this book. I promise you won't regret it" (APRIL BLOOMFIELD)
"The book set to shape significantly what we eat in the future . . . also, her accompanying Netflix documentary series is wonderful" (Daily Mail)
"The lush, four-episode Netflix series inspired by this book might be the trebuchet that launched Samin Nosrat to household-name status, but it's her book that we'll still be reaching for decades from now . . . After applying Nosrat's lessons . . . I feel like I've levelled up from journeyman to master" (New Yorker)
"In her liberating and indispensable guide to the whole subject of cooking, Samin Nosrat explains with humour and concision how all great cookery boils down to the four elements of the title" (The Week)
"Superb . . . Samin Nosrat charmingly [breaks] cooking down into its most basic elements" (Times Literary Supplement)
From the Publisher
Master the four elements of good cooking
Salt's primary role in cooking is to amplify flavour. That doesn't mean you should simply use more salt – it means you can learn how to use salt better.
Fat can contribute flavour to a dish, but it can also bind other ingredients, it can used as a cooking medium to heat or cook food, and it can affect the texture of a dish, making it creamy, flaky, crispy...
If salt enhances flavours, acid balances them – it can give a pleasing counterpoint not just to sugar in your food but also to salt, fat, bitterness and starch.
Heat is the element of transformation: using it well means knowing how different foods react to it, and using it so that the surface of your food and its interior are done cooking at the same time.
Samin Nosrat is a chef and food writer. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat is her first book – it made the New York Times Bestseller list, became Sunday Times Food Book of the Year and was the inspiration for her hit Netflix documentary series of the same name. In 2019 she was on the Time 100 list of the world’s most influential people.
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Samin has a really accessible style of writing and you can't help but like her as a person. I have enjoyed the stories she tells about her experiences and how she came up with this simple matrix for wonderful tasting food.
And it certainly has revolutionised my cooking. What's more, it's a great diet book. "Hold on a minute", I hear you cry. Let me explain. If you use this book, you might just find yourself enjoying your food so much that you'll eat less. The more satisfaction you can get from one mouthful of food, the less you'll need to eat. This is my own theory and it is working for me. Samin has improved the satisfaction I get from eating and I've lost nearly 2 kilos in a month. It's true.
But don't buy it to lose weight, buy it to rediscover enjoyment in the food you cook and eat. It's a terrific book. I would happily pay twice the price for it.
It does go into a lot of fairly tedious and obvious detail about the basics of using salt and which fats to use and which flavourings etc - all info that would be obvious from general knowledge or from just reading the recipe. Some recipes look interesting though and I will try them . It feels very geared to the US market too .not for me.
I bought it on Kindle. It has loads of diagrams which I suspect are really useful in a full sized book, but just can't be read in Kindle. If you want to understand your cooking, get this book in paper format.
So many cook books offer recipes which ultimately come up short time and time again. Simple things that were probably done like seasoning meat at a certain time aren’t put into books.
Why using certain amount of salt enhances even the subtlest flavours of food, try cooking your vegetables her way, you will never want other people’s under seasoned vegetables.
This cook book is a must for every home cook. Once you master the basics, the cooking world is your kitchen.
With her simply explained principles you will turn out amazing tasting food every time.
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This is an amazing concept for a "cookbook", and I absolutely love the setup and flow of the text. It keeps me engaged by presenting information concisely, but manages not to be dry or overwhelming.
I was so sad to find a pretty glaring scientific error at the very beginning of the book in the section entitled How Salt Works (subsection Cooking Foods in Salted Water, pg 35-37). I have a lot of sympathy for typos and grammatical errors as they don't typically effect my comprehension of the subject matter, but this was a more serious problem with the science being presented. Specifically, Ms. Nosrat has conflated salt (NaCl) with all minerals, and presents the idea that salting cooking water enough will prevent osmosis of nutrients and minerals from inside whatever is being cooked into the water. Le Chatelier's principle dictates that osmosis over a permeable barrier (like the skin/flesh of a green bean) occurs when there is an imbalance of a particular mineral or compound, ergo, the only thing adding NaCl potentially prevents is leeching NaCl, Na, and Cl. Other minerals and nutrients will freely pass out of your food and into the water as easily as they do in unsalted cooking water. Steaming and other cooking methods might mitigate this issue as exposure to water is limited, however, I expect these processes might yield similar results if food is cooked to the same extent. The way we account for this nutrient loss, in reality, is by eating more of a given cooked food than we would its raw counterpart, which is what cooking allows us to do by physically breaking foods down!
I hope this is the only error of it's kind because it is quite confusing and misleading, but I'm not at all confident that I could discern a similar future error. I gave the book 3 stars simply because of my skepticism of the underlying science and the authors understanding. I guess we just have to take it with a grain of salt. ;)
Unfortunately, I haven't read it all yet but i have recognized 2 errors already. The first is on page 29, about osmosis. The movement of the water goes from the less salty solution to the more salty. The illustration is wrong as well. If you want to introduce chemistry to a cookbook, you're very welcome, but make sure not to mess up with the most basic concepts. I hope they correct this.
The second mistake is on a recipe, the one of pasta alle vongole. Butter and parmesan in any pasta with fish or seafood is a BIG NO NO in Italy. I know italians tend to be way too bossy about their recipes, and I think they totally exagerate, but I have to be strict with this one. No cheese or diary with seafood in italian recipes. Exceptions are very few (if any).
Es macht einfach nur Spaß, mittels dieser Prinzipien neues auszuprobieren.
Jetzt kann ich mit den vorhandenen Gewürzen etwas zaubern, ohne für jedes Rezept zum Supermarkt zu laufen, für Zutaten, die ich eh nur einmal brauche. Die Einkaufstipps im Buch geben einen tollen Einblick, worauf man tatsächlich zu achten hat.
Vielen Dank für dieses wunderschöne Buch !!!!
Los 4 temas principales están muy bien explicados, en un lenguaje simple y entretenido. Las ilustraciones son un gran acompañamiento, además de ser muy bonitas.
La segunda parte del libro trae recetas, recomendaciones y explicaciones, para aplicar lo aprendido en la primera parte. Aún no tuve oportunidad de probar las recetas, pero no dudo que serán un éxito.
One bad note is the ratio for jasmine rice and water, the book says a three to one ratio of water to rice. This is far too much, I tried it and ended up with a glutinous mess!
The wonderful illustrations by Wendy McNaughton also include handy charts summarising flavour profiles from round the world and charts showing what can be cooked how. Having devoured the Kindle version, this one is worth getting in hard copy, as it’s simply the best all-round reference book ever. From now on I’ll be salting meat the night before and not rushing the onions or the meat sauce. It’s really good to know the science (applied science really) behind what works best in the kitchen.
Unlike many books on cooking that focus on information, here the writing and storytelling is superb, making each section very hard to put down. And like many have remarked, the illustrations are amazing (even though initially I thought a book on cooking without photos might be strange).
This volume goes far, far beyond what we see and learn on the TV series. I can already safely say it's a resource I will refer to over and over as I deepen my cooking journey. Huge gratitude to Samin for creating this treasure.