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

4.56  ·  Rating details ·  5,305 ratings  ·  606 reviews
A visionary new master class in cooking that distills decades of professional experience into just four simple elements, from the woman declared “America’s next great cooking teacher” by Alice Waters.

In the tradition of The Joy of Cooking and How to Cook Everything comes Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, an ambitious new approach to cooking by a major new culinary voice. Chef and wri
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published April 25th 2017 by Simon Schuster
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Sarah Absolutely. There definitely is a good amount in the book that deals with animal products, but there's still a bunch of info on cooking veggies/grains…moreAbsolutely. There definitely is a good amount in the book that deals with animal products, but there's still a bunch of info on cooking veggies/grains etc. with precision. It's really half instruction manual, half recipes. Frankly it just has good, common-sense well tested advice backed up with science and pretty illustrations. Good for anyone who wants to cook anything better.(less)

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4.56  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,305 ratings  ·  606 reviews

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Apr 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cooking, netgalley
Full review at Leveled Up Reading

I love a good cookbook, but Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat goes beyond the normal boundaries of the genre. I would almost say that this book is like the kosher salt in your kitchen - it's going to enhance alllll the other recipes and cookbooks in your life. Personally, I have more confidence in my cooking than before reading this book, AND my food is more delicious. I couldn't' really ask for anything more!
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is flat-out genius and more than deserves all the praise it received. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat is far from a normal cookbook: Nosrat uses approachable, funny prose and helpful drawings to explain the basics of cooking and baking by considering the elements of salt, fat, acid, and heat. In this way the book really teaches you how to cook everything, not just the recipes clustered at the book's conclusion. This is a cookbook you actually READ vs flipping through a litany of recipes before g ...more
Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat does offer an interesting way to think about the preparation of food, but I didn't find it “indispensable” or one that I “can't imagine living without” as Michael Pollan writes in the foreword. Author Samin Nosrat tells us that “there are only four basic factors that determine how good your food will taste: salt, which enhances flavor; fat, which amplifies flavor and makes appealing textures possible; acid, which brightens and balances; and heat, which ultimately determines ...more
Ariel ✨
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you order takeout for every meal or have a personal chef, feel free to ignore this book. Everyone else on the planet, do yourselves a favor and read her first four chapters! I consider myself a decent cook for an untrained young adult with mediocre cookware, but Samin Nosrat blew my mind with her simple and honest tips and lessons. Apparently, I've been using the wrong salt this whole time, bottled lime juice is the devil, you don't melt the butter for baked goods!!!, and acid is way underuti ...more
Dec 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
What a great idea for a cookbook! I feel like this should be required reading for anyone even marginally interested in cooking. For one thing, it's fascinating, and very well written. But perhaps more importantly, Ms. Nosrat provides a non-intimidating guide to correcting the mistakes (over- or under-seasoning, not knowing which ingredients pair well together, not knowing how to cook a cut of meat, etc.) that scare folks out of the kitchen. Genius! The number one comment I hear when I talk about ...more
Juli Anna
Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: LITERALLY EVERYONE
Shelves: cookbooks, favorites
I do not purchase cookbooks lightly, but I will be seeking out a copy of this one. I will also be enthusiastically recommending this book to everyone I know with a kitchen and tastebuds. This is the rare cookbook that transcends boundaries of cooking experience, background, and personal taste preferences. I would just as easily recommend this book to a picky eater who's just starting out cooking as to a voracious and kitchen-experienced foodie.

Nosrat has created a solid system for teaching peopl
I bought this after seeing her at an author talk. She's INCREDIBLY fun and lively and the book is wonderfully illustrated. She brings a lot of cooking experience, humor, and scientific knowledge to her explanation of how an understanding of the four basics of salt, fat, acid and heat can enable you to cook pretty much anything in the kitchen.
Perversely, what I found was that this book actually made me feel more intimidated about cooking, not less, despite her funny stories about real-life kitche
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is so interesting! I never read regular cook books because I just Google specific recipes when I need to. This book is a "how to cook book" or cooking theory. There are lots of things that seem obvious once I read them (like places that have meadows for grazing use lots of butter, but other places use other oils/fats. Duh, but I had never thought about it.) Or some things that I had read in recipes but didn't get the reasoning (like let ingredients come to room temperature before begin ...more
Anita Pomerantz
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Definitely learned some new tricks, but I thought the salt and fat and heat sections were stronger than the acid section, where I need the most help! I think the concept of balance still feels elusive and that is what I want to learn. But I definitely moved in the right direction and made a much improved roast chicken! The author has a great "voice", and I look forward to trying things she suggested.
Callum McAllister
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yup, I read this cookbook from start to finish. And, yup: it's really really good. It has a lot about meat but is still great reference for the vegetarian, particularly in going through techniques and the various flavour charts throughout the book, which show which flavours you might want to pair together when cooking a particular meal from whichever part of the world. I learned quite a lot and am going to continue flipping back to reference parts of it for a long while.
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fabulous! I saw Samin Nostrat on Netflix, loved her, loved all the wonderful information she offered to everyone who cooks. I just read and savored her book. I learned things I never even thought about. All exciting,useful and important information, for everyone who cooks! Wonderful book, I recommend
it to everyone who has a stove and a pot.
Isabelle Leo
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-winter
Wow!! So clear and so straightforward, so well structured! I really feel like I'm going to retain the facts she taught me, the underlying principles, and the values - experimentation, practice, trusting my senses. I can't wait to start cooking the recipes in the back. I know I will refer to and reread most of the explanatory sections again and again. 2019 is the year of Samin
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food
Kind of disappointing overall, but that's a relative opinion. I'm pretty sure the value of this rises in direct proportion to how little time the reader has spent cooking & learning about food prior to picking this up, and how much patience one has for the story part of recipe blogs. After a few pages the tone goes from breezy to grating fast. Yes, it has useful information even for experienced cooks, but it doesn't really feel "indispensable."

Also, omitting garlic and adding ginger instead
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was exactly what I needed on my culinary journey. I've been teaching myself to cook over the last six years through books, cooking classes, and experimentation, but I've encountered gaps in my knowledge that I didn't know how to fill. This book showed me the light! I now understand the fundamentals of WHY something I'm attempting to cook is working or not working, and I also have so many new ideas.
Gretchen Alice
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is really more of a textbook than a cookbook. Understanding the principles behind salt, fat, acid, and heat legit helped me level up as a cook. I think differently about cooking now and I'm very grateful to Samin Nosrat. Wendy MacNaughton's charming illustrations make this volume even more enjoyable to read. I can't wait to try out a few of these recipes and spend more time in the kitchen.
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I can see why my friend enjoyed this book so taught more of the principles of cooking, not just recipes.
Bonnie Brandt
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this “cookbook”. It is not a book full of recipes. It is a book that teaches you how to cook. I like to cook and bake but always said I have more of an eye for a recipe than someone who can just throw things together and make them taste delicious.

This book changed that. I realized I have a lot more knowledge than I knew. I’ve read a lot of recipe books and a lot of cooking books that assure me I can cook without a recipe. This is the first one that made me believe I can and what’s more i
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
I usually don't review cookbooks on Goodreads... but maybe I should? This cookbook had a "required reading" section before allowing readers to make any of the recipes. I kind of resented this, but I read it anyway. Nosrat writes relatably about her journey in understanding cooking intuitively. She shares her mistakes and her successes. She has a lot of stories about working at Chez Panisse, and is a disciple of Alice Waters, but she manages not to mix in too much food religion. Also I kind of lo ...more
Dec 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017, food, nonfiction
3.5 stars. This book deserved a better rating that what I'm giving it. It's a really informative yet accessible explanation of four of the essential elements of cooking. The author talks about how to use salt, fact, acid, and heat for all different kinds of cooking. The reason I didn't rate it higher is that I just couldn't get myself excited about reading it. It's interesting, just not the right thing for me to be reading in my current mood. This is a good book to buy and have on hand so that y ...more
Jun 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
I learned some things from this book, like how to properly salt food. But it was also very repetitive and I wasn't overly inspired by the recipe selection.
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fic, how-to, cookbook
Definitely a new classic!
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Life changing. Absolutely must read, no matter how much of an experienced cook you are.
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have a friend who is a Samin Nosrat evangelist, and when I stayed with him over Christmas I picked up his copy of this book and within just a few pages was jabbing buttons on my phone to buy a copy of my own. I love her, I love her show, I love the way she thinks about food: as something that is both an art and skill that can and where possible should be refined to a high level, and as an accessible domestic endeavor. The book sometimes slips into thinking about food through the narrow lens of ...more
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Good:
I saw the TV show and that made me want to pick the book. This book was enlightening and it was almost like taking a cooking class with a top chef. I realized I did so many things wrong while cooking/baking after reading this book. This book also taught me why certain ingredients were added at specific times while cooking. It taught me the science of cooking, which no other book did. I gained interest in cooking only after I had a kid. Just like all the other moms, I got obsessed with c
Becki Iverson
May 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a book I wish I had had when I first started learning to cook. I've seen some articles lately discussing how there are lots of cookbooks that give basic recipes but don't really tell you the why or how of what cooking is; after really thinking about this, I have to agree. This book fills most of that gap by giving you an explanation for integrating certain ingredients into each other, how to pick flavor profiles and complete seasoning, checking for doneness - think of it as being to basi ...more
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, cooking, non-fiction
Do you cook? Whether you're good at it or have the pizza guy on speed dial, this book is for you. It goes beyond simple recipes to break down the elements of cooking in a simplified way. You don't need to have studied in the Cordon Bleu.

She also makes no bones about those of us who don't have the budgets for fancy ingredients. By giving a scale for salt, and an explanation of oils used in different genres of cooking, she makes it so everyone can afford to make the dish they desire taste the best
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book has changed the way I cook! Do not only watch the Netflix series; you must read the book, too. I liked this so much that I made an Instagram post about it and then tagged Samin Nosrat. I woke up this morning to find that she had liked my Instagram post so I promptly screenshotted it and sent it to everyone I know. My new dream is to take in-person cooking lessons from Samin.
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book works well for me because it goes into more detail about why you're taking the steps you're taking, instead of just listing out a recipe. It's interesting to hear the science behind it and Samin doesn't speak above a novice's head. the recipes are all pretty involved, and require a stocked kitchen, but I can't knock her for that just because I'm a bachelor with limited resources. I'll look to pair what I learned in this book with some less complex recipes.
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
An awesome “cookbook” that is filled with Samin’s natural charisma and gift of storytelling. I put cookbook in quotes because her main focus is to get cooks to learn to cook on instinct and less on following a recipe. This is how I cook so I thoroughly enjoyed her method of teaching and her extensive knowledge on all things food. I also loved that she used beautiful watercolor illustrations as opposed to photographs so that the cook wouldn’t be confined to certain finished product.
Emily Laga
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I didn’t know it was possible for a cookbook to be so transformative and empowering. I loved Samin in her Netflix show that shares the same title, and her voice shines through in her cookbook as well. This book helped me understand so many whys of cooking. She simplifies and demystifies many of processes and nuances that happen while cooking. I mostly love her encouragement to listen to your instincts, use all of your senses in the kitchen and be unafraid to fail. I love this book!
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“Season food with the proper amount of salt at the proper moment; choose the optimal medium of fat to convey the flavor of your ingredients; balance and animate those ingredients with acid; apply the right type and quantity of heat for the proper amount of time—do all this and you will turn out vibrant and beautiful food, with or without a recipe.” 4 likes
“Get used to the way the salt falls from your hands; experience the illicit thrill of using so much of something we’ve all been taught to fear.” 3 likes
More quotes…