SCIENCES

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

S. & S. Apr. 2017. 464p. illus. by Wendy MacNaughton. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781476753836. $35; ebk. ISBN 9781476753850. COOKING
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OrangeReviewStarWorking in the trenches of Chez Panisse's gourmet kitchen, 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. This basic principle underscores the concepts and recipes presented throughout this book, and serves as the backbone for Nosrat's theory of cooking. Divided into two parts, the first half details each of the four essential ingredients and how to use them to their full potential. The second part includes a chapter on "Kitchen Basics" (a useful primer on tools and ingredients), followed by a variety of recipes to put Nosrat's theory in to practice. Alongside Nosrat's instructions, MacNaughton's illustrations add a touch of whimsy to the text, highlighting the techniques and skills presented in a clever manner. This is a visual story (with a heavy nod to food science) as much as a guide to healthy cooking.
VERDICT A fun, educational addition to all collections. The recipes are varied, and the concepts approachable.

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