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Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat Breaks Down the Basics to Build Your Cooking Skills

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat Breaks Down the Basics to Build Your Cooking Skills

In Salt, Fat, Acid Heat, author Samin Nosrat explains how to master the eponymous four elements to take your cooking to the next level. A chef with a wealth of kitchen science knowledge, Nosrat delivers easily digestible cooking lessons put into practice with 100 essential recipes.

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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.

In her opening section on salt, for instance, Nosrat explains how food absorbs salt to become seasoned throughout. Yes, terms like osmosis and diffusion appear, but even if you’re not particularly into all the science background, Nosrat breaks down the chemistry so approachabley it’d make Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson bump fists. She goes on to describe how salt affects particular foods, like meat, seafood, veggies, legumes, and eggs, offering the most effective strategies for seasoning each. She takes the trouble to offer up a chart—her hand-drawn illustrations are as whimsical as they are instructive—showing optimal salting measurements for various foods depending on which kind of salt you use, e.g., Morton’s or Diamond Crystal kosher salt, table salt, etc.

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

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While Nosrat overlooks no detail in her comprehensive lessons, they feel inspiring rather than exhausting, due in no small part to her relaxed and encouraging tone. She even stretches beyond her four main subjects to include essays like “Balance, Layering, and Restraint,” a brief treatise on core cooking principles that many accomplished chefs still struggle to master, though it’s never too early to begin practicing.

While you don’t need a science background to appreciate Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, intellectual curiosity is a must. A cook who asks herself “Why?” just as often as “How?” is much more likely to absorb and apply this tutelage than one who simply wants to replicate good recipes. 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.


3 Seeds to Eat for Healthy Hair

In most cases, hair loss is due to age, genes or changes in hormone levels. But what you eat can affect how healthy your hair is, especially if you're not getting enough of certain nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, protein, zinc, biotin and vitamin E.

Seeds are a small-but-mighty source of nutrition that can promote health in many areas, including the health of your hair. They're versatile enough to add to just about anything — salads, oatmeal, yogurt, trail mix — and easy even to eat by the handful on the go.

Oils from seeds, like flaxseed oil, can also provide these important nutrients. And the fat in seed oil can help your body better absorb certain vitamins, like A and E, that keep your hair strong.

Vitamin A is the "workhorse of dermatology," says Shani Francis, MD, MBA, medical director and chief wellness officer of Ashira Dermatology. It can help keep your scalp healthy, and a healthy scalp means healthy hair, she says. Vitamin E's a powerful antioxidant used in many dermatology products to promote healthy skin and hair.


How to Smoke Meat

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Smoking was traditionally a technique used to preserve meat. Although we now have better ways to keep meat fresh, the popularity of smoking it has never died. It's the best way to bring out the deep, rich flavor of brisket, ribs, and other cuts of meat that simply taste best when they're smoked until the meat melts off the bone. You can brine your meat first or dress it in a rub, use a charcoal grill or a high-tech electric smoker, and choose from a variety of woods that each impart different flavors to the meat. Regardless of the particulars, the meat is cooked on low, even heat for many hours until it's smoked to delicious perfection.


NOW®️ Sports B-12 Energy Boost Sticks

Staying hydrated is hugely important to workout performance (you can vouch for that fact if you've ever forgotten your water bottle for a workout class). And science backs up your parched experience — according to a September 2015 review published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, it's recommended to drink a beverage containing sodium to help replenish lost electrolytes for periods of exercise lasting longer than an hour.*

Adding NOW ® Sports Effer-Hydrate to 16 ounces of water gives you a fruity, replenishing drink to sip throughout your workout, and it tastes so good you definitely won't forget your water bottle.*

"Sodium is the most abundant electrolyte lost in sweat, but the other electrolytes need to be considered as well," Mohr says. "The Effer-Hydrate Tablets provide a well-balanced dose of each of the electrolytes to replace what's lost in sweat and add flavor to your water that encourages fluid consumption."*


What To Store

Now it’s time to get a little more specific. So what foods should you store exactly? The short answer is: whatever your family eats. There’s an old saying: “Store what you eat and eat what you store.” That might seem a little vague, but it is the one rule you need to keep in mind when you start buying extra food.

Never store food your family hates or food your family hasn’t tried, no matter how great of a deal it is. You might be thinking, “If we’re hungry, we’ll eat anything, so who cares?” While this is true, you still want to focus on foods that everyone will enjoy.

During a long-term disaster, it’s important to do everything you can to keep up morale, and disgusting foods that no one likes will only make that more difficult. This is especially important if you have children.

Below is a list of foods with a long shelf life (a year or longer). As I mentioned above, in addition to canned and boxed foods, you’ll also want plenty of baking ingredients. You should also focus on foods that can be prepared in a variety of ways so you’ll have more meal options.

    – Brown rice may be healthier, but it doesn’t store nearly as long.
  • Dried Beans – Pinto, kidney, white, and whatever your family likes.
  • Steel Cut Oats (Oatmeal).
  • Canned Frui
  • Canned Vegetables
  • Canned Meat – Tuna, Spam, Chicken, etc.
  • Powdered Milk
  • Baking Ingredients – Baking soda, shortening, sugar, etc. (Note: Yeast and baking powder only last a few months.)
  • White Flour – There are many other types of flour, but they don’t last as long. and Pepper
  • Variety of Spices and Seasonings – Your meals will be very boring without them.
  • Dried Meat – Beef Jerky, Chicken Meat Bites, etc.
  • Pasta – Spaghetti Noodles, Macaroni Noodles, etc.
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Instant Potatoes
  • Jams and Jellies
  • Granola
  • Granola bars
  • Popcorn
  • Canned Foods – Soup, Chili, Spaghettios, etc.
  • Other canned foods
  • Coffee and Tea
  • Condiments – Ketchup, Mustard, Hot Sauce, BBQ Sauce, etc.
  • Gravy Packages – Gravy makes everything taste better!
  • Bouillon Cubes

There are many other long-lasting foods, but this list is just to get the gears in your head turning. If your family has a particular staple they just can’t live without, add plenty of it to your food storage. Better yet, learn to make it from scratch and stock the necessary ingredients.

Some kids and even adults have a particular snack they absolutely love. Make sure you have plenty of those things, too, as long as it’s something that will last a long time (such as candy).

Foods That Are Tough To Store

  • Graham crackers, Saltines or soup crackers only last a couple of months before they go stale. You may think you can still eat stale crackers, but it isn’t pleasant. (Instead, make some hardtack.)
  • Vegetable oil will go rancid after more than a year on the shelf. You can go with lard or coconut oil. These can still go rancid, but will give you an extra year or so of shelf life.
  • Salad dressing like ranch isn’t going to do well on a shelf for a few years. Kids tend to want ranch on everything. You would be better off storing dry ranch mix that you can whip into dressing once you learn how to make mayonnaise, which leads us to the next item on the list.
  • Mayonnaise is a staple in many households, but once you open that jar, it needs to be eaten quickly (unless you’re able to power a small fridge). If you have to have mayo, buy small jars that you can get through quickly before the good stuff spoils.
  • Most dried fruit only lasts six months to a year. Not that you shouldn’t store it–you should. But you’ll need to quickly rotate through it.
  • Nuts, as with dried fruit, need to be rotated every half year to a year. They’re a great source of fat and protein, but keep an eye on the expiration dates.
  • Maple syrup, especially the cheap stuff, is going to mold after being opened for some time. Learn how to make your own with a little sugar and maple flavoring.
  • Breakfast cereals tend to go stale if you don’t eat them soon. The moment you open that package, it goes downhill quickly. are not going to sit on a shelf for months. Things like milk, butter, eggs, and cheese need refrigeration. And even then, the shelf lives are limited.

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Cocktail Codex: Fundamentals, Formulas, Evolutions

Undoubtedly the best "cocktail how-to" on the market. Meehan&aposs Guide might be better for the aspiring bar GM/owner (it actually cares about turning a profit), Morganthaler&aposs Bar Book might bring a finer touch to issues of technique, and there are some quality historical texts as well, but Cocktail Codex provides virtually all of the information you need to start as a craft cocktail connoisseur-craftsman. Most every industry person I&aposve spoken to agrees (the other answer? Stop reading and learn i Undoubtedly the best "cocktail how-to" on the market. Meehan's Guide might be better for the aspiring bar GM/owner (it actually cares about turning a profit), Morganthaler's Bar Book might bring a finer touch to issues of technique, and there are some quality historical texts as well, but Cocktail Codex provides virtually all of the information you need to start as a craft cocktail connoisseur-craftsman. Most every industry person I've spoken to agrees (the other answer? Stop reading and learn inside an actual establishment).

The book is structured by reducing all cocktails into six "templates" upon which all others grow. Empirically, I find this conceit arbitrary and dubious, as you can cleave the templates many different ways, but it's effective as an organizing structure. For each cocktail "template", you'll get some discussion of its history, its constituent ingredients (i.e. types of brandy, summarizing the process, typology, and recommended bottles), related cocktail construction techniques, variations, and exercises. More importantly, through practice, you'll absorb a broader gestalt of concepts like "balance", "depth", and "quality", or the art of distinguishing a well-made Daiquiri from a flat one. The only thing really missing off the top of my head is a serious discussion of flavor affinities, adjusting to workflow, and consumer norms.

Each "main six" cocktail, for instance the Old Fashioned, will be broken down into its core (whiskey), balance (sugar/syrup), and seasoning (bitters). This breakdown helpfully explicates where the old fashioned's unified flavor comes from. More importantly, it makes it easy to understand how many cocktails simply swap out another cocktail's core or balance, and then adjust from there. "Okay, a Manhattan is a Martini but for whiskey". This is really useful for categorizing cocktails in your head and understanding where their flavor profiles converge/diverge.

Fortunately, almost every "classic" cocktail is included in this book, though a couple are needlessly omitted. Cocktail Codex's classic recipes are acceptable for most bars (though most high-end bars have at least one classic cocktail they prepare unusually), though they can be needlessly fussy. For instance, their house Dark and Stormy includes a custom ginger syrup and fresh lime, when you can just add ginger beer and squeeze two lime wedges. Unfortunately, the authors omit most "modern classics", like the Paper Plane.

There are also plenty of house-designed cocktails. They all embody Alex Day's ethos: highly complex, highly rigorous. You'll definitely need to plan to make one of their cocktails. They're mostly useful as ideas of what a modern cocktail can be. When I'm designing a new drink, I often flip through their recipes to see what formula I'm approximating, or what recipe might be a counterpoint against which I can innovate.

Most tantalizingly for the home bartender, the book includes an excellent short primer on the Dave Arnold bartending school. You'll learn pressurized infusions, acids, clarifying, smoking, and tinctures. This is stuff (aside from infusions) that you should honestly avoid until you know what you're doing, but it's all very cool and raises your horizons of what a cocktail can be.

There are a few moments where the authors are BSing to maintain the book's structure. Fortunately, they're easy to spot, typically when justifying why a cocktail belongs in its given section, or a given core/seasoning is where it is. There's also a few parts where the authors tell the sorts of lies you'll have to tell customers to keep them happy ("yes! vodka totally has subtle differences. you can totally tell the difference between these vodkas in your martini").

The book is also a nice size/weight, great for a coffee table or tofu press, with excellent crisp design and pretty high-contrast photographs.

The main criticism is that, due to covering everything, nothing is covered in great detail. This is largely true, and furthermore, because the information is densely packed, you'll likely miss most of it upon first reading. Consider Cocktail Codex like this: if you do some of the exercises, practice technique, and memorize the 15 or so most "important" classic cocktails (happy to list them on request), you'll have the basic framework from which to start bartending. This framework will not make you an expert, or even able to competently step behind the bar of a high-end bar, but you will gain a baseline understanding of what's going on. Highly recommended.

Most useful for a home bartender, aspiring craft bartender (be humble!), or someone who wants to see more recent developments in cocktail culture. . more


By Hand

Kneading dough by hand is the easiest way to control the bread's consistency. While there are several techniques to hand kneading, all of them involve folding and stretching the dough repeatedly.

Kneading a basic bread dough by hand takes about 10 minutes to form adequate gluten. Slowly adding flour to the dough as it is kneaded prevents sticking—but don't add too much. An excess of flour can create a stiff, dry dough. A perfectly kneaded dough springs back when poked with your finger and will feel soft and silky in texture.


Brain Daiquiri Recipe

I prefer this brain hide tanning solution recipe because the mash, or brain paste, has a daiquiri or Coke slushee consistency, making it easier to spread. It also seems to coat and adhere to the hide better than the mash recipe, in my personal opinion.

• Mix and warm the brains and and water the same way you did to make the brain mash.
• Pour the brain tanning solution into your food processor or blender and his pulse for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
• Repeat the same coating and stretching steps outlined above.


Homemade Lightning

A lesson in: Static electricity. (Or weather science.)

Lightning is essentially electrons moving uber fast between the sky and the earth—and with a few simple materials, you can use homemade static electricity (the reason behind your hair sticking up when you rub a balloon or go through a tunnel slide super fast) for DIY lightning. Figure how to recreate a family-friendly version of this spark by visiting activity blog Learn Play Imagine.

Messiness factor: One sponge.


—Christal Yuen with Amber Guetebier & Gabby Cullen