Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking

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 wri...

Title:Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking
Author:
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ISBN:1476753830
Number of Pages:469 pages

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking Reviews

  • Sarah

    What a great idea for a cookbook! I feel like this should be required reading for anyone even marginally interested in cooking. For one thing, it's fascinating, and very well written. But perhaps more importantly, Ms. Nosrat provides a non-intimidating guide to correcting the mistakes (over- or under-seasoning, not knowing which ingredients pair well together, not knowing how to cook a cut of meat, etc.) that scare folks out of the kitchen. Genius! The number one comment I hear when I talk about

    What a great idea for a cookbook! I feel like this should be required reading for anyone even marginally interested in cooking. For one thing, it's fascinating, and very well written. But perhaps more importantly, Ms. Nosrat provides a non-intimidating guide to correcting the mistakes (over- or under-seasoning, not knowing which ingredients pair well together, not knowing how to cook a cut of meat, etc.) that scare folks out of the kitchen. Genius! The number one comment I hear when I talk about tackling a challenging recipe: "I couldn't do that." Or, "I wouldn't dare try that." That makes me so sad, because cooking is definitely a skill perfected with trial and error. Here, Ms. Nosrat equips the reader with information that takes some of the guesswork out of the trial and error part of cooking. It's just wonderful.

    I received a review copy of this cookbook from NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

  • Chessa

    Full review at

    I love a good cookbook, but Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat goes beyond the normal boundaries of the genre. I would almost say that this book is like the kosher salt in your kitchen - it's going to enhance alllll the other recipes and cookbooks in your life. Personally, I have more confidence in my cooking than before reading this book, AND my food is more delicious. I couldn't' really ask for anything more!

  • Bonny

    does offer an interesting way to think about the preparation of food, but I didn't find it “indispensable” or one that I “can't imagine living without” as Michael Pollan writes in the foreword. Author Samin Nosrat tells us that “there are only four basic factors that determine how good your food will taste: salt, which enhances flavor; fat, which amplifies flavor and makes appealing textures possible; acid, which brightens and balances; and heat, which ultimately determines

    does offer an interesting way to think about the preparation of food, but I didn't find it “indispensable” or one that I “can't imagine living without” as Michael Pollan writes in the foreword. Author Samin Nosrat tells us that “there are only four basic factors that determine how good your food will taste: salt, which enhances flavor; fat, which amplifies flavor and makes appealing textures possible; acid, which brightens and balances; and heat, which ultimately determines the texture of food.” Those four are important and she conveys important information about how to use each of these to make better food. I personally wondered where sugar fit into this and why she left it out of the basic four. She does talk about sugar in each section, but mainly to say that salt will mask bitterness more effectively than sugar, and sugar is a good balance for acid. This first section in written in a chatty tone, telling the reader about mistakes she made along the way along with things she did that worked. It is a little imtimidating to the average reader/cook to read about Alice Waters and Chez Panisse, but Nosrat's writing conveys her passion without being overbearing.

    The second section has recipes, and while most of them sounded like they would be good, I didn't find any that I felt I simply had to make. The author might have a gift for making things far more complicated than I want to be in the kitchen. She has a recipe for Torn Croutons that has only bread and olive oil as ingredients, but goes on for four pages to obtain “even, yet rustic-looking” croutons. The Summer Tomato and Herb Salad lists tomatoes, salt, vinaigrette, and herbs for ingredients, and then continues for five pages of instructions. I think many of us have probably made this deliciously without a recipe at all. Chicken Pot Pie takes up seven pages and includes the sentence “Nestle the browned chicken into the vegetables.” (Nestle just made me laugh!)

    Making good food is both a science and an art, and something I enjoy trying to do most times I prepare food. For me, that also includes simplifying things when possible. I think Samin Nosrat is an exceptional cook who makes exceptional food, but I don't think that her methods (and urging cooks to season cooking water with “palmfuls of salt”) will become indispensable in my own kitchen.

    Book Bingo 2017 - About food

  • Celeste

    This book is flat-out genius and more than deserves all the praise it received. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat is far from a normal cookbook: Nosrat uses approachable, funny prose and helpful drawings to explain the basics of cooking and baking by considering the elements of salt, fat, acid, and heat. In this way the book really teaches you how to cook everything, not just the recipes clustered at the book's conclusion. This is a cookbook you actually READ vs flipping through a litany of recipes before g

    This book is flat-out genius and more than deserves all the praise it received. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat is far from a normal cookbook: Nosrat uses approachable, funny prose and helpful drawings to explain the basics of cooking and baking by considering the elements of salt, fat, acid, and heat. In this way the book really teaches you how to cook everything, not just the recipes clustered at the book's conclusion. This is a cookbook you actually READ vs flipping through a litany of recipes before giving up. I can't overemphasize how enjoyable I found this book.

  • Cynthia

    I bought this after seeing her at an author talk. She's INCREDIBLY fun and lively and the book is wonderfully illustrated. She brings a lot of cooking experience, humor, and scientific knowledge to her explanation of how an understanding of the four basics of salt, fat, acid and heat can enable you to cook pretty much anything in the kitchen.

    Perversely, what I found was that this book actually made me feel more intimidated about cooking, not less, despite her funny stories about real-life kitche

    I bought this after seeing her at an author talk. She's INCREDIBLY fun and lively and the book is wonderfully illustrated. She brings a lot of cooking experience, humor, and scientific knowledge to her explanation of how an understanding of the four basics of salt, fat, acid and heat can enable you to cook pretty much anything in the kitchen.

    Perversely, what I found was that this book actually made me feel more intimidated about cooking, not less, despite her funny stories about real-life kitchen mistakes and her reminders that, e.g., it's just stew, if it doesn't work this time you can try it again. I got her basic message that you need to understand the four tools and then you can improvise. But there was a sort of subtext about "I made this polenta following the recipe at Chez Panisse and the gifted professional chef tasted it and made an adjustment I never would have expected, and as a result the dish went from bland to fantastic." I cook a lot and am basically happy if everything looks nice and is basically tasty. After reading this, I started to feel like every dish in a meal has to be ... perfected, and at a higher level of flavor than I am probably currently achieving. So ... a good cookbook, maybe best of all for a younger cook who can absorb the information without having a crisis of confidence. Lively, funny, informative but ... ultimately not the best cookbook, for me, that I've read this year. The recipes that make up the second half of the book are fine and appealing but, again, nothing that made me flag the page and think, "Wow, can't wait to try this one!"

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