The Splendid Table talks to Samin Nosrat

Salt Fat Acid HeatSamin Nosrat has taught cooking for many years. To give you insight as to how well she's done in that endeavor, know that Alice Waters has declared her "America's next great cooking teacher". Nosrat has distilled her knowledge into a new cookbook, named after the simple philosophy that she employs in her teaching. 

The book is titled Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, and basically everything you need to know about cooking is in the title, according to the author. The Splendid Table interviewed the chef and writer to find out more about the book and Nosrat's theory of cooking. She believes that if you master the use of just four elements-Salt, which enhances flavor; Fat, which delivers flavor and generates texture; Acid, which balances flavor; and Heat, which ultimately determines the texture of food-anything you cook will be delicious.

As she explains to Splendid Table hosts Francis Lam, "The whole idea behind  Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat is that if you can learn how to use these four elements - which play a role in everything that we cook - you can learn how, why, and when to use them, and make anything taste good with or without a recipe." In fact, Nosrat was reluctant to include any recipes in the book, but acquiesed because she felt no publisher would print the book otherwise. 

Even though Nosrat loves teaching people how to cook without a recipe, that doesn't mean she doesn't believe in or use recipes (whew!). There are times where it makes sense to look to recipes, she says, whether it is for inspiration, exploring an unfamiliar cuisine, or getting specific spice combinations. "As much as I am trying to instill in you this philosophy of instinctual cooking, you also need training wheels; a good recipe can be training wheels as long as you also aren't going to abandon your own common sense and your own sense of agency," she notes.

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