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According to author, teacher and chef Samin Nosrat, anyone can become a great cook. All it takes is a thorough understanding of four basic elements to become that person with the seemingly effortless ability to peruse a kitchen cupboard, throw a jumble of ingredients into a pot and serve up something mouthwatering.

“Whether you’ve never picked up a knife or you’re an accomplished chef, there are only four basic factors that determine how good your food will taste: salt, which enhances flavor; fat, which amplifies flavor and makes appealing textures possible; acid, which brightens and balances; and heat, which ultimately determines the texture of food,” Samin writes in her new theory-driven book about cooking, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat.

Stuffed with the practical mechanics of food science, essential recipes to cement readers’ newfound knowledge and charming anecdotes from her own culinary odyssey, Samin’s brightly illustrated book seeks to demystify the art of fabulous food. It will, she hopes, encourage amateurs and seasoned pros alike to approach their kitchen armed with an understanding of and appreciation for–cooking’s cardinal rules. Conquer them and even the barest refrigerator holds promise.

“These four elements are what allow all great cooks—whether award-winning chefs or Moroccan grandmothers or masters of molecular gastronomy—to cook consistently delicious food,” Samin confides. “Commit to mastering them and you will too.”

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