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

Samin Nosrat, illus. by Wendy MacNaughton. Simon & Schuster, $28 (464p) ISBN 978-1-4767-5383-6
In this excellent, accessible cookbook, Nosrat leads readers through the cooking process. She didn’t set out to become a chef, but was so moved by her first meal at Chez Panisse that she wrote Chef Alice Waters a letter asking to bus tables. Amazingly, she got the gig, and she jumped into the deep end of the culinary spectrum, soaking up as much knowledge as she could. In even, measured tones, she explains how salt—even the shape of the crystals—can affect a dish’s overall flavor as well as specific proteins, how fat results in a food’s crispness, how heat influences flavor via caramelization, and, perhaps most importantly, how to balance all these elements when composing a dish or a meal. Basic techniques and recipes, such as Vietnamese cucumber salad and pasta al ragu, prove her points. Over the course of the book, readers will learn how to make the perfect Caesar salad, break down a chicken, boil an egg to the desired doneness, and put those skills to use in creating many other dishes. MacNaughton’s whimsical illustrations, charts, and graphs add to the experience. This exceptional debut is sure to inspire greater confidence in readers and enable them to create better meals on their own. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/20/2017
Release date: 04/04/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4767-5385-0
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-5082-4920-7
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