I am not a professional cook by a long shot, but if there is one book I would recommend which is just more than a collection of recipes, and more about the art of cooking, this would be it! The run-of-the-mill kind expects you to follow rather than to ask questions. Those books insist on fidelity and faith but do nothing to earn and explain. For me this book was like attending a good cooking school, where you learn the principles. Armed with reason we don’t have to cling to recipes like a lifeboat, when you know the fundamentals of cooking~ you can improvise.
What’s it about?
Samin Nosrat a writer, teacher and chef hailing from California, says that this book is a culmination of her years of cooking and five years of writing. It’s a distillation of her cooking philosophy. The idea that you can master just four basic elements in the kitchen~ Salt, Fat, Acid, and Heat ~ you can use that to guide you in cooking anything and making any food delicious.
Learn about salt which is a mineral that enhances flavour of everything that we cook. Fat which gives taste and help us get all sort of delicious texture in our cooking. Acid which ultimately balances flavours and heat which is the major control to get the texture we want in all our food. She promises that if you master the four elements, you can make anything taste great.
The book is designed to help you punch up the flavour of even basic dishes (salad!) and guide you towards trusting your gut instead of dutifully following directions — ultimately making your cooking more instinctive, flavourful and yes, fun.
Who is it for?
- Cooks and Cooking apprentices
- Cooking enthusiasts
- Epicureans devoted to good living
There are only Four basic factors which will determine how good your food will taste :
Salt which enhances flavour. Samin says that if you get the salt right and you know how much to use, anything you cook will taste better. After reading the section on salt, I took Nosrat’s advice to boil my potatoes in salted water before roasting. Game changer! I will never again roast my potatoes without first taking them through this step. The potatoes were seasoned outside and in — guaranteed to make your meat-and-potato meals mysteriously more delicious than everyone else’s.
Just like salt, fat is one of the most important and versatile elements of cooking. Her travel to Italy made her realise that Italian cooking is the relationship with fat which is so essential to why their food taste so good!!
There are about 100 recipes in the book with countless variations. What makes the book so attractive is the infographics and illustrations by Wendy Macnaughton and they are very helpful in making the book simple and drive the complicated points that connects all the dots, teaching you how, all cooking from around the world is really more similar than it is different. If you only read the chapter on “salt,” you’d up your kitchen game by 50 percent. But Nosrat also has an amazing gift for storytelling~ give it a try and you will never look back !