Cookbook Review: Salt Fat Acid Heat

There has been a lot of buzz over the cookbook Salt Fat Acid HeatI had read all about it on various food blogs and websites before receiving it as a gift for Christmas. Cookbooks rank as my #2 favorite gift after chocolate so needless to say I was pretty excited about it. 

The book is authored by Samin Nosrat, a self-described cook, writer, and teacher. While studying English at Berkeley, she got caught up in the world of cooking after being mesmerized by a meal at Chez Panisse, Alice Waters' restaurant in San Francisco. She began by begging her way into an apprenticeship at Chez Panisse, first doing grunt work but eventually working her way up into cooking. The internship began her extreme focus on and impressive perseverance in learning the ways of good cooking, taking her to Italy and beyond in the quest for culinary wisdom. Along the way she developed a theory of culinary fundamentals - that good cooking essentially boils down to the correct understanding and application of four elements: salt, fat, acid, and heat. The book, then, is the product all her research, apprenticeship, interviews, and trial and error in the quest of honing her theory and her skills, which she delivers to the reader in a very clear and detailed format. As she says, "You can become not only a good cook, but a great one. I know, because it happened to me."

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St. Nicholas' day

Whenever I think about family traditions, I realize some of my strongest and most beloved center around food. Christmas and Easter strongly evoke a Polish breakfast feast (my paternal grandmother is 100%) consisting of Kielbasa, horseradish, babka, and pierogi. Christmas also brings to mind halvah, marzipan, sesame honey candies, and pepperoni sticks -- our stocking staples. On any given birthday, it was an absolute given that the celebrated person got to decide what special breakfast, dinner, and cake that they'd like. Saturdays and Sundays always began with either pancakes, waffles, or crepes. In fact, we never let a special day or occasion (sometimes, even just a hint of one) slip by without ensuring it was punctuated by suitably festive bakes and makes. 

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cakes of the past

I just received a set of Russian piping tips in the mail and I am so excited to try them out! Since it's Fall, I'm thinking of a Chrysanthemum covered cake...stay tuned! 

Thinking about cake decorating got me reminiscing about some of my favorite cakes of the past. I've never taken any cake baking or decorating classes, unless you count Google & YouTube. It is simply a hobby (some might say obsession). I like to think about cake flavor combinations, and I like to think about new ways to decorate cakes, and I like to look up different techniques, and I scroll through Pinterest for extra inspiration. Whenever I see an opportunity to bake a cake for some occasion, I pounce on it. It's selfish, really. My mind is overflowing with cake ideas and I want to try them out. 

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