Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

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“Somehow my mom always knew exactly what would taste best when we emerged. Persian cucumbers topped with sheep’s milk feta cheese rolled together in lavash bread. We chased the sandwiches with handfuls of ice cold grapes or wedges of watermelon to quench our thirst. That snack, eaten while my curls dripped with seawater and salt crust formed on my skin, always tasted so good. Without a doubt, the pleasures of the beach added to the magic of the experience.”

Samin Nosrat grew up understanding how good food is all about balance, and that’s the gist of her new cookbook. It’s titled “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering The Elements Of Good Cooking.”

(SALT) Nosrat frees her readers to use their own senses instead of measuring cups. She says we should salt things until they taste like the sea, which is a beautiful thing, but it also sounds like just a lot of salt.  NOSRAT: “Just use more than you’re comfortable with, I think, is a good rule for most people. Especially when you’re boiling things in salted water, most foods don’t spend that much time in that water…So the idea is to make the environment salty enough so that the food can absorb enough salt and become seasoned from within. A lot of times, you end up using less salt total if you get the salt right from within because then the thing isn’t over-seasoned on the outside and bland in the center.”

(FAT) “I think fat has this remarkable capability to offer us all these different and very interesting and delicious and sort of mouthwatering textures in our food. And it’s just about learning how to get those textures out of the fat that you’re already using.”

(ACID) “For me, it’s all about getting that nice tangy balance in a meal or in a bite or in a dish. And you can get that through a lot of things, citrus and vinegar and wine which are maybe the three most obvious and sort of well-known sources of acid…Almost every condiment we add to our food is acidic, which is why when you get – I don’t know – a bean and cheese burrito, you’re always like hungry for salsa and sour cream and guacamole to put on there because those things will just perk it up, you know, and add flavor.”

(HEAT) “And so the thing about heat I realized, it sort of boils down to when you’re cooking a food, your goal – no matter what the food is – is to get your desired result on the outside and on the inside. And so your dream is to get that perfect grilled cheese, where the outside is crisp and brown and buttery and delicious, and the inside is melty and perfect.”

Chef Calls ‘Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat’ The 4 Elements Of Good Cooking, excerpts from an interview with Samin Nosrat. 

Find the bestseller on Amazon here: Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking

Comments

  1. love the alice waters quote, i’m a huge fan of hers and love the sensory approach to samin’s cooking -back to the basic elements

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The one thing better than eating good food is cooking it. The back story to ending up a biochemist was that I wanted to go to culinary school. But my mother said No. With all her 4’11 might she said, “we are not paying for you to become a cook, you will be a cook anyways…”

    I got my apology three decades later.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. What fun!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. As in so many things in life, good food is all about balance. One of my favorite, flavorful and utterly simple desserts is strawberries dressed with balsamic vinegar and topped with a little dollop of fresh whipped cream. Sweet, savory, yummy. This one is definitely going into the queue….. May your holiday weekend be filled with good food, pal!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. What synchronicity, David! I heard Nosrat interviewed on our (CT) local NPR station and it made me want to check out the book.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Its all about balance 😉
    … I’m hungry!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. That’s what it’s all about. Balance. And let’s face it, besides, sex, what’s more sensual than the preparing and sharing and eating of food?

    Liked by 2 people

  8. While governments have long pushed people to reduce their intakes of sodium chloride (table salt) to prevent high blood pressure, stroke and coronary heart disease, there are good reasons why cutting down on salt is not an easy thing to do. Salt is both good and bad for you. Nice post.

    Liked by 2 people

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