Samin Nosrat: 4 Ways to Improve Tonight’s Meal

June 7 - Sarah Ashlock


When was the last time you lost track of time? (Like good, old-fashioned playing in the neighborhood and suddenly remembering you’ve got to run home for dinner as the sun sets?) People are obsessed with timing everything out. Planning every little detail. What would one day look like when—gasp—you did something you enjoyed without a time limit? No 4 o’clock meeting to make sure you can go to; no carpool pickups. Just you and your hobby, you and a good book, you and whatever you damn well please.

Today, plan for that time. Put it in your calendar. Block it off. Tell your roomie you’ll be MIA. Because, why not?


For some, cooking can be like those Christmas commercials: laughing, stirring, tasting. For others, it’s maddening when a supposedly 30-minute meal takes 45 minutes, or when you use a recipe from a blog, only to have to scroll all the way down, past photos, past stories of Tommy’s T-ball game, just to get to the freakin’ ingredients. (But I digress). If you’re a cookbook gal, you’re in fine company; during the first half of 2018, cookbook sales grew 21 percent.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Samin Nosrat, Chef & Eat Columnist at The New York Times

Remember rice cakes? You know, those things your mom and her friends munched on because fat was the enemy? I imagine that today’s Woman to Watch would toss that dry circle out of their hands and give them a little focaccia, instead. Her name is Samin Nosrat and you may know her by her book and hit Netflix show, Salt Fat Acid Heat.

Samin is a chef and one of four food columnists at The New York Times. She hit the counters of home cooks with her James Beard award-winning cookbook, which celebrates the key components of a good tasting meal: salt, fat, acid, and - you guessed it - heat. Bon Appetit magazine said it all when it came out with an article titled, “Everybody Loves Samin Nosrat.”

While Samin has recently become a household name, it’s taken two decades to get where she is now. She hasn’t tried to market herself on every kitchen-adjacent product, or shown up to any and every TV event. Instead, she’s been teaching and catering, curating a career that centers around her passion for accessible and savory food.

Samin’s hard work paid off, though; she made TIME magazine’s 2019 list of “100 Most Influential People.” Now, she’s working on her next cookbook, called What to Cook. As she said, she’s a slow writer, so don’t even think about asking when it’s being released. When Samin isn’t cooking or telling others how they can cook, she’s surfing the waves in California. That’s where she went to school and graduated with a degree in English.

Before you burn another semi-homemade meal, heed some wisdom from Samin: Make sure it has some fat: that’s the stuff that creates flavor and, as Samin would say, adds the magic. Salt is crucial, but if you fear that something might taste too salty, consider bigger flakes. (Apparently, small granules tend to dissolve on your tongue quickly). Get your acid on with the usual suspects, like citrus, or branch out with red wine or fermented ingredients. Lastly, heat the pan before you heat the oil.

Oh, yeah, and have fun.


Former mayor of Ottawa, Charlotte Whitton, said:

"Whatever women do, they must do twice as well as man to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult."

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