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Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking Hardcover – April 25, 2017
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"I talk about Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat the way people talk about beloved pets or newborn babies; like I was a different person before I read it – and I was. I liked to eat, but hated to cook. I was a huge proponent of what I called "snack dinner," basically whatever I had that didn't require a cooking implement. Samin Nosrat (and illustrator Wendy MacNaughton) set me straight. Together they debunk the concept of recipes, instead teaching you how to build food (and flavor) from scratch and by instinct. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat uses its eponymous guiding principles to chart a very delicious course toward never eating snack dinner again."
"My favorite metacookbook...[Nosrat] offers a beautifully simple checklist for ensuring a dish ends up in a good place...This is the book of cooking grammar that so many novices would benefit from...Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat is written smoothly and casually, and kept breezy via charming watercolors by the perceptive Bay Area artist Wendy MacNaughton...Nosrat’s book would be of value both to people who don’t consider themselves cooks and to people actively striving to become better ones." ― Atlantic
"Inventively illustrated...ambitious...[Nosrat is] a talented explainer." ― Wall Street Journal
"A cookbook that will make you a better cook...with helpful, charming illustrations from artist Wendy MacNaughton." ― Boston Globe
"An exhaustively researched treatise on the four pillars of successful cooking." ― New York Times Book Review
"Hundreds of cookbooks are published each year. Some are good. Others are exceptional. A few are essential. Samin Nosrat just published “Salt Fat Acid Heat — Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking” and I daresay this one is essential...That’s the fabulous thing about this book — it teaches readers about cooking, how to employ various techniques, and how to grasp that any subtle variations in technique can have significant impacts upon our end results. It is possible to learn how to cook great food...This book is bound to become an indispensable addition to cookbook shelves throughout America." ― Dayton Daily News
"Nosrat’s beautiful, approachable book demonstrates how these four are the only elements necessary to make delicious meals anywhere, any time." -- Rapid City Journal
"Provides the cook with far more tools for branching out and exploring their own creative potential - and that makes it a standout." ― Midwest Book Review
"An excellent cookbook and culinary resource that pares down the idea that it only takes four ingredients to make food taste amazing." ― Belleville News-Democrat
"The kind of cookbook that will certainly make anyone who reads and absorbs all of her shared food tidbits a better cook and, perhaps, an engaging conversationalist." ― Chicago Daily Herald
"The cookbook, with its instructive recipes and playful illustrations by Wendy McNaughton, is an enjoyable and approachable culinary master class." ― San Francisco Chronicle
“With 100 tempting recipes and vibrant illustrations by Wendy MacNaughton, this textbook offers insight, encouragement, and a new path to culinary mastery.” ― Real Simple
"The book amounts to an incredibly engaging master class that helps free you from recipes so you can improvise like a pro. Nosrat’s approach is foundational yet innovative: distilling the essence of cooking into four main concerns. With a full understanding of how each element effects flavor and texture, a home cook can easily extrapolate and apply these principles to unfamiliar ingredients or dishes and still cook with confidence...The curious cook will eventually find her copy of this book stained and dog-eared, as she consults its essential kitchen wisdom for years to come." -- Cooking Light
"[This book] will be valuable for either a beginner or a seasoned cook. Unlike similar manuals, Nosrat’s volume has hit upon a theory not only easy to remember, but also fun to learn in practice. Even more fun: the accompanying art by Wendy MacNaughton, which illustrates flavor wheels and pairing matrices." ― Eater
"In the days after reading Samin Nosrat's new book, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, eating felt like a new adventure...And when it came time to cook simple meals, the raw carrots and greens in my fridge looked less intimidating: I had new tools to tame them...Inspiring this sense of culinary liberation was precisely Nosrat's goal with her cookbook, which eschews formulaic recipes in favor of heartfelt stories, bits and pieces of science, and time-tested nuggets of kitchen wisdom (not to mention gorgeous and witty watercolors by the prolific Wendy MacNaughton)...boy, does Nosrat deliver." ― Mother Jones
"Most cookbooks are filled with recipes, with or without a central theme. That’s what a cookbook is for, right? A recent batch of cookbooks...have turned this notion on its ear, aiming, instead, to better prepare home cooks to build weekly menus and avoid food waste...the best book to come out of this new trend is, to my mind, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by chef Samin Nosrat, with whimsical illustrations by Wendy MacNaughton. The book tackles each topic in its title in turn, showing how they contribute to great cooking, then offers experiments, recipes, and other ways to apply your new knowledge. It’s not just a good cookbook; it’s a good book, period." -- Vox.com
"All you need to master the kitchen are the four elements laid out in this Joyfully illustrated book's title. Nosrat, who's been called 'America's next great cooking teacher' by Alice Waters and taught Michael Pollan how to cook, is a more than trustworthy instructor." ― Tasting Table
"If there’s one cookbook that will make dad want to march into the kitchen and start cooking you amazing meals, it’s this one." ― Wired.com
"Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat is a refreshing break from [the] contemporary formula. Instantly recognizable as a reference book, Samin Nosrat's definitive technique-driven tome defies convention. This is partly because Nosrat's method of teaching via the book's four main pillars (salt, fat, acid, and heat) is a rarity...But what makes Nosrat's method so effective was her insistence that the book be illustrated. ― Saveur.com
"A gorgeously illustrated guide that will make you much more confident in the kitchen." ― Edible Manhattan
"California chef Samin Nosrat explains how these four elements affect everything we cook and eat, then rewards faithful science students with recipes for a perfectly balanced Caesar salad, a flaky pie crust, and fall-off-the-bone braised beef." ― Modern Farmer
"Rarely does a cookbook make you feel like its author is right there in the kitchen with you, teaching you not how to make recipes but how to actually cook." ― Heathlyish
"NPR once called Nosrat 'the next Julia Child.' Based on her first cookbook, we can see why. The Chez Panisse alum uses a simple philosophy: balancing salt, fat, acid and heat (temperature, not spice) to create a perfect finished product. But recipes aside, the illustrations alone are worth the price." ― PureWow
“You will become a vastly better cook. Learn to balance sweet and acid, choose between different types of fats, understand proteins and heat, etc. It’s all there for the curious, determined cook.” ― Milk Street Magazine
"In the Bay Area, writer and chef Samin Nosrat has cult followings both for her pop-up dinners at Tartine Bakery in San Francisco and her cooking classes, which friends swear have changed their time in the kitchen...This is a new kind of book. Lots of words to live by before you get to her kitchen basics and, finally, recipes more than halfway through. Wendy MacNaughton’s delightful illustrations capture Nosrat’s infectious joy for the subject. Just reading Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat will make you a better cook, adept at seasoning, balancing, understanding what it really is you’re doing and why." ― BonAppetit.com
“Readers learn the nitty-gritty science behind best practices, like how to correctly layer salt and how heat affects texture. Enhance your cooking while learning why it's improving.” ― Popular Science
"Simplicity and knowledge and beautiful drawings. This book is approachable and inspiring and lays a strong, strong foundation -- Joy The Baker
“Wonderfully illustrated by Wendy MacNaughton, author Samin Nosrat's exuberant-but-exacting cooking style comes through and is shared generously...It will instruct, cajole, delight, encourage, inspire, and motivate anyone who is even slightly interested in cooking. And it will make better cooks of those of us who are already spend a decent amount of time in the kitchen.” ― The Kitchn
"Beautifully illustrated and super informative." ― Mic.com
"Nosrat’s lighthearted approach and whimsical illustrations in Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking will teach you how to make delicious food anywhere with any ingredients, even without a recipe." ― Verily
"Part textbook (in the best way possible), part master recipe guideline and inspiration. And filled with Wendy MacNaughton’s cheeky hand drawn illustrations. The entire first half of the book is Samin being Samin – an incredible teacher and guide, with infectious enthusiasm for food, good cooking, and good eating. While I consider myself an adept cook, each section was filled with new easy ways to think about cooking – written in a manner that would teach and inspire novice and expert alike. How she *actually* manages to pull this off, I have no idea – this is so hard to do and it’s brilliant. " ― Second Lunch
"Ever wish an acclaimed, professional chef would reveal the building blocks of great cooking? Well, here you have it. Chef and writer Samin Nosrat got her culinary start at Chez Panisse restaurant and has schooled scores of people, including author Michael Pollan, on how to cook. Now she’s distilling her approach for us all." -- EyeSwoon
"Want to be not just a good cook, but a great one? Then this groundbreaking book from Samin Nosrat will help you master “the four notes of the culinary scale” giving you a whole new perspective on how you structure and create a dish." -- Fine Dining Lovers
“This beautiful, approachable book not only teaches you how to cook, but captures how it should feel to cook: full of exploration, spontaneity and joy. Samin is one of the great teachers I know, and wins people over to cooking with real food—organic, seasonal, and alive—with her irrepressible enthusiasm and curiosity.” -- Alice Waters, New York Times bestselling author of The Art of Simple Food
“Everyone was impressed when Michael Pollan managed to summarize the huge and complex subject of what we should be eating in just seven words: ‘Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.’ Samin Nosrat has managed to summarize the huge and complex subject of how we should be cooking in just four words: ‘Salt, fat, acid, heat.’ Everyone will be hugely impressed.” -- Yotam Ottolenghi, New York Times bestselling author of Jerusalem
“Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat is a must for anyone wanting to be a better cook. Samin Nosrat, along with Wendy MacNaughton’s fun illustrations, teaches the fundamentals of cooking and dives into the four elements that make food taste great. So do yourself a favor and buy this book. I promise you won’t regret it.” -- April Bloomfield, James Beard award-winning chef and author of A Girl and Her Pig
“Like the amazing meals that come out of Samin Nosrat’s kitchen, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat is the perfect mixture of highest-quality ingredients: beautiful storytelling, clear science, an infectious love of food, and Wendy MacNaughton’s powerful art. Nosrat’s prose combined with MacNaughton’s beautiful illustrations are a perfect guide to employing the science of cooking for maximum deliciousness.” —Rebecca Skloot, New York Times bestselling authorof The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks -- Rebecca Skloot, New York Times bestselling author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
“Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat is a very important book not because it contains many excellent recipes, although it does, or because it is written by a Chez Panisse alum, although it is. It is important because it gives home cooks a compass with which to navigate their own kitchens, and it places trust in them that they will be able to use that compass. Samin’s easygoing, cook-by-feel approach is never condescending or elitist. It is a step towards cooking without recipes and true empowerment (and joy!) in the kitchen.” -- John Becker and Megan Scott, 4th generation stewards of the New York Times bestselling Joy of Cooking
“Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat is a wildly informative, new-generation, culinary resource. Samin Nosrat's wealth of experience comes together here in a pitch perfect combination of charm, narrative, straight-talk, illustration, and inspiration. Ticking all the boxes for new and seasoned cooks alike, this book meets you wherever you are in the kitchen, in all the right ways.” -- Heidi Swanson, New York Times bestselling author of Super Natural Cooking
“In this excellent, accessible cookbook, Nosrat leads readers through the cooking process… 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.” ― Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"Nosrat discovered the secret behind great cooking—not memorizing recipes, but knowing the balance among four key elements: salt, fat, acid, and heat. Nosrat invites readers to learn what it takes to master these components and take their cooking from good to great...MacNaughton's illustrations add a touch of whimsy to the text, highlighting the techniques and skills presented in a clever manner. A fun, educational addition to all collections." ― Library Journal (Starred Review)
"As Nosrat understands, the elements of good cooking couldn’t be simpler. Success in the kitchen depends on just four elements: salt, fat, acid, and heat...Culinary students and serious home cooks can discover from both text and drawings how to succeed through fundamentals of their craft." ― Booklist (Starred Review)
"For those who'd rather wing it in the kitchen than follow a recipe, this book's a great way to learn how to do this with confidence...I loved this book. I mean, I LOVED this book, so much that I couldn't put it down."
― Dallas Morning News
"Chez Panisse veteran Nosrat has reduced her cooking philosophy to her first cookbook’s titular quartet of elements. The book’s core 100 recipes (and scores of variations) form an intuitive tutorial that can be applied to nearly any ingredient in the pantry."
― San Antonio Express News
"In her excellent first cookbook, Nosrat distills what she learned into a manual for intuitive and improvisational cooking, focused on the four key components in her title. In this vital book, Nosrat demystifies the kitchen, explaining in friendly, confident terms why and how salt and fat enhance and build flavor, respectively; the effect of acidity in balancing out a dish; and knowing how to control heat and thus, the finished dish. You’ll be empowered to cook bravely."
― Chicago Tribune
"From these four strands, the former Chez Panisse weaves a wholly original —- and highly idiosyncratic —- book, half of which is instruction, half recipes. The two-page spread on pasta alle vongole, for example, is both “a lesson in layering acids” and an exacting recipe. The whimsical but hardworking illustrations, by Wendy MacNaughton, are every bit as original."
"[Nosrat] writes with great wit. We need more cooks like her."
― Minneapolis Star Tribune
"A thorough but engagingly intimate graduate course in the four most transformative tools in the cook’s arsenal. Understanding how the elements of a dish aid in its metamorphosis equips cooks to make the most of any ingredients. Its thoughtful explorations make it impossible to read without becoming a better cook."
― Buffalo News
"Beautiful, useful, and filled with illustrations from Wendy MacNaughton, whose prolific illustrations are instrumental in demonstrating the intricacies of cooking."
― Eater SF
"If you're only going to buy one cookbook this year, let it be this so-much-more-than-a-recipe-book by Chez Panisse alum Samin Nosrat and illustrated by Wendy MacNaughton, guaranteed to turn even the most culinarily inept among us into kitchen proficient."
"With Nosrat’s sharp insights and Wendy MacNaughton’s playful illustrations as a guide, the readers of this book will develop essential cooking instincts."
― Mental Floss
"Genius!" ― Rachael Ray Every Day
"Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat is like going to culinary school through the pages of a book, learning from a really fun, smart, and brilliant teacher who imparts kitchen wisdom to last a lifetime. Once you read this special cookbook, your confidence level in the kitchen will skyrocket."
"This book is basically a bible for novice chefs."
― Hello Giggles
"An approach to food science that's both accessible and entertaining."
― Shelf Awareness for Readers
"The perfect tool for ushering the culinarily curious but timid into the world of badass home cooking."
― Vice Munchies
"Salt, Fat Acid, Heat bridges the gap between home and professional kitchens. With charming narrative, illustrated walkthroughs, and a lighthearted approach to kitchen science, Samin demystifies the four elements of good cooking for everyone. Featuring 150 illustrations and infographics that reveal an atlas to the world of flavor by illustrator Wendy MacNaughton, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat will be your compass in the kitchen."
"The best cooking primer since Julia Child’s famous tomes."
About the Author
Wendy MacNaughton is a New York Times bestselling illustrator and graphic journalist whose books include Meanwhile in San Francisco (Chronicle), Pen & Ink (Bloomsbury). The Gutsy Girl (Bloomsbury), and The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Her work appears in publications like The New York Times, Lucky Peach, Bon Appétit, AFAR Magazine, and elsewhere. She is the back page columnist for The California Sunday Magazine.
- Publisher : Simon and Schuster; 4th edition (April 25, 2017)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 480 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1476753830
- ISBN-13 : 978-1476753836
- Item Weight : 2.76 pounds
- Dimensions : 7.38 x 1.4 x 9.13 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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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. ;)
If you get one cookbook, get this one (!!!). If you get two, get this and The Food Lab (...or if you need four, then also get McGee's On Food and Cooking & Cook's The Science of Good Cooking). But THIS is the book you NEED!
By Colleen on July 18, 2017
Top reviews from other countries
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.