... is Salt Fat Acid Heat.
I suspected it would become my new favorite after I volunteered to test recipes for it over a year ago. Marc, Wyatt and I agreed that all of the recipes we got were so good, I should save them to reference and use again and again until the book was published. So that's what I did: Tuna confit and sauces galore!
I bought my copy of the book from Omnivore Books a couple of months ago. This weekend, Wyatt and I headed over to Omnivore to meet Samin Nosrat and Wendy MacNaughton, and to get our copy signed by both of them.
We were a little late, and the shop was packed. So we waited outside and met some lovely people and their dogs, including Willy the Terrier (who did circus tricks for us) and Tess the Bulldog (who is so sweet, has one eye, and still manages to do all the important things in life). Our sidewalk status meant we didn't get to hear Samin and Wendy's talk. But never mind! We figured we'd just wait in line for the book signing. But like I said, it was packed in the shop, and after we had been in line for awhile, the line got reconfigured. Suddenly, we found ourselves totally OUT of the line, so I asked a woman who was still IN line if we could merge in front of her (doesn't merge sound better than cut?). She was very generous, we merged, and when I asked her what the talk was about, she gave me an incredibly detailed description of what went on. It was almost as good as being able to hear it myself.
We got our book signed, and we got some really heartfelt gratitude for having been recipe testers.
The book is unlike any cookbook I have ever used. Part extremely friendly textbook and part recipe reference, it reminds me a little bit of the online class I took and loved, Science & Cooking. By reading the book, you learn the "why" and "how" behind the four elements of cooking, but in addition to that, you start to build a deep understanding of how to best combine ingredients, flavors, and textures to make delicious food. There are beautifully illustrated charts, examples, and explanations. It's a book from which you can actually learn to cook and free yourself from being tied to recipes.
I've read the sections Salt, Fat, and Acid. I've just started reading Heat. And despite Samin's written admonition not to, I have skipped ahead and made some of the recipes in the second half of the book already. This weekend, we had the Vietnamese Cucumber Salad (I used toasted pepitas instead of peanuts). I served it with Baked Panko Rockfish (substituting GF flour and GF panko breadcrumbs) and coconut-herbed steamed rice. The salad was my favorite part, and the little bit that was left over was still terrific the next day.