This year, what I consider to be the food nerd’s bible was published. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat is the food lover’s guide to cooking that I didn’t know I desperately needed until I started reading it.
Samin’s goal is to teach you the why, the what, the how, the when of good, instinctive cooking. She delves into the science of cooking in an easily digestible way and suddenly makes sense of the instructions you’ve been blindly following in the kitchen your entire life. I don’t think I’ve ever learnt so much from one book. I’m not playing here, I was glued to it in every spare minute I had until it was finished.
Since reading Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, Samin’s voice is with me in the kitchen. Reminding me to salt meat hours before cooking, nudging me to determine how much of which acidic ingredient to add to my dish and when, encouraging me to think hard about which fat to use for cooking and which to finish with for flavour. This book is a dream for somebody who wants to wean themselves off of recipes and learn their way around the kitchen once and for all without needing to cling to written instructions.
However, this book is not just for those who want to grow their confidence in the kitchen. I only occasionally use recipes myself, often writing my own, and I definitely have confidence in the kitchen at home. Still, the skills I’ve developed after reading this book have made everything that comes out of my oven even more delicious than it used to be. Samin has changed the way I approach so many of the basic tasks I do in the kitchen for the better, for the so so much better.
As far as I’m concerned, just about everything you could want to know about cooking is in this book. Which fat to use for which cuisine. How much water you need to cook each grain. When you’ve finished reading this, you’ll be able to look at a set of ingredients and begin to develop your own recipe from them – because you’ll have access to all the basics, and then some. Put this book on your Christmas list, or better yet, buy it now.
Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat is published by Canongate priced £28.00, available at Waterstones