The Flavor Equation: The Science of Great Cooking Explained + More Than 100 Essential Recipes (Hardcover)

The Flavor Equation: The Science of Great Cooking Explained + More Than 100 Essential Recipes By Nik Sharma, Matteo Riva (Illustrator), Christopher Kimball (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Nik Sharma, Matteo Riva (Illustrator), Christopher Kimball (Foreword by)
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Go beyond recipes in this groundbreaking and bestselling guide to elevating elemental ingredients to make delicious dishes that hit all the right notes, every time. From Nik Sharma, superstar scientist, food blogger, and author of the buzz-generating Season cookbook.

"The Flavor Equation deserves space on the shelf right next to Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat as a titan of the how-and-why brigade."—The New Yorker

Aroma, texture, sound, emotion—these are just a few of the elements that play into our perceptions of flavor. In a completely unique and accessible way, Nik Sharma takes readers on an in-depth exploration into the science of taste and demonstrates how to convert approachable spices, herbs, and commonplace pantry items into tasty, simple dishes.

With more than 100 recipes paired with illustrations, anecdotes, and Sharma's evocative, trademark food photography and styling, The Flavor Equation is a knockout volume that provides inspiration and essential knowledge to both home cooks and seasoned chefs.

Recipes, divided into seven sections, include:
  • Brightness: Lemon-Lime Mintade
  • Bitterness: Chocolate Miso Bread Pudding
  • Saltiness: Roasted Tomato and Tamarind Soup
  • Sweetness: Honey Turmeric Chicken Kebabs with Pineapple
  • Savoriness: Blistered Shishito Peppers with Bonito Flakes
  • Fieriness: Chicken Lollipops
  • Richness: Coconut Milk Cake

A cookbook that offers a new way of looking at food, this is the perfect gift or self-purchase for home cooks who are interested in the science of food and flavor.

CRITICAL ACCLAIM: Named one of the Best Fall Cookbooks upon its release by The New York Times, Eater, Epicurious, Food & Wine, Forbes, Saveur, Serious Eats, The Smithsonian, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, CNN Travel, The Kitchn, Chowhound, and NPR. Winner of The Guild of U.K. Food Writers (General Cookbook) and finalist for the 2021 IACP Cookbook Award.

HAILED BY CULINARY SUPERSTARS: Yotam Ottolenghi calls The Flavor Equation "deep and illuminating, fresh and highly informative … a most brilliant achievement." J. Kenji López-Alt proclaims it "a beautiful and intelligent book." Nigella Lawson calls it "original, thought-provoking, and illuminating. It is a book that will change the way you think about food and cooking, and will help to make all your other cookbooks make sense."

FOR BEGINNERS & SEASONED HOME COOKS: The science of flavor is made accessible to every reader in these pages, with more in-depth information offered in a comprehensive appendix. Sharma dives deep into the most basic of our pantry items—salts, oils, sugars, vinegars, citrus, peppers, and more—artfully explaining the science behind why each flavor component works.

Perfect for:
  • Home cooks who want to learn more about food and flavor
  • Those interested in the science of food
  • Birthday, holiday, housewarming, or graduation gift for food enthusiasts
  • Readers of Lucky Peach, Serious Eats, Indian-Ish, and Koreatown
  • Add it to the shelf with cookbooks like The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science; Ottolenghi Flavor: A Cookbook; Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking; and On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen

About the Author

Nik Sharma is the author, photographer, and recipe developer behind Nik Sharma Cooks/A Brown Table and The Flavor Files newsletter and the recipient of an IACP Trailblazer Award. He has appeared on Chef's Secrets: The Science of Cooking (PBS)The Road to Cooking, and the upcoming series Confluence (PBS). Nik's work has garnered multiple awards from SaveurParadeBetter Homes & Gardens, and the American Food Journalism Awards. His first book, Season, was a James Beard and IACP awards finalist. His second cookbook, The Flavor Equation, was a James Beard Award, IACP Award, and British Guild of Food Writers Award finalist and winner of the silver medal at The German Academy of Gastronomy. Nik's latest cookbook, Veg-table, debuted in October 2023. He lives in Los Angeles, CA.

Praise For…

"As someone with his own obsession with flavor, I find Nik Sharma’s take on it totally fascinating. It is deep and illuminating, fresh and highly informative. That, combined with his always-sumptuous food and staggering photographs, makes The Flavor Equation a most brilliant achievement." —Yotam Ottolenghi, chef and author of Jerusalem

"The Flavor Equation is written by someone who understands flavor first. This is not a book for geeks who want to deep dive into amino acids, gels, and osmosis. This is a book about how to turn out food that optimizes flavor. Nik Sharma and others are teaching us that good food is not about technique per se: years standing in front of the stove, advanced knife skills, and mastering pastry technique. It's about crafting flavor through an understanding of what flavor actually is." –Christopher Kimball, founder, Milk Street(from the foreword)

As with his previous book, recipes are easy to follow and the photographs are mouth-watering. Helpful diagrams, charts, and illustrations are presented throughout. This book will appeal both to those who want to expand their Indian cooking repertoire and those who want to know more about the scientific background behind cooking itself.—Library Journal

"Whatever your skill level in the kitchen, with its more than 100 recipes, illustrated diagrams, and Sharma’s own evocative photography, The Flavor Equation is an engrossing guide to elevating simple dishes into holistic experiences." —Eater, Best New Cookbooks Fall 2020

"Some consider cooking to be a series of chemical and thermodynamic reactions, others see it as an embodiment of heart, emotion, culture, and family. In The Flavor Equation, Nik Sharma shows us how these elements—the brain and the heart—are not at odds with each other, but that they are in fact intimately intertwined. Understanding their interaction is the key to unlocking flavor in your own cooking, as Nik demonstrates in this beautiful and intelligent book." —J. Kenji López-Alt, author The Food Lab and Chief Consultant for Serious

"The Flavor Equation is destined to be classic: original, thought-provoking, and illuminating. It is a book that will change the way you think about food and cooking, and will help to make all your other cookbooks make sense." —Nigella Lawson, author of At My Table 

"In The Flavor Equation, Nik marries the art and science of cuisine. It offers a holistic approach to cooking at home; one that celebrates both chemistry and emotion, in both the creation and enjoyment of our meals." —Stella Parks, pastry chef and author of BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts 

"If you're interested in flavor—and every cook is, that's what we constantly think about—this book is for you. I haven't learned so much from a single book in a very long time. I'm now cooking my way through it." —Diana Henry, James Beard award-winning author of A Bird in the Hand

"Nik Sharma answers the hows and whys of taste from a scientific perspective as well as one from a well-seasoned cook. The multicultural flavors that are sure to entice anyone's taste buds to spring into action. Anyone wanting to take a deep dive into how to make food taste better will revel in Nik's thoroughly researched—and gorgeously photographed—treatise on the topic." —David Lebovitz, author, My Paris Kitchen and Drinking French

"Nik Sharma has created an irresistible book that makes you want to immediately jump in the kitchen. There is not a single recipe that I would not want to cook, I am dying to make them all! This book helps you understand the deep complexities that surround our food, and how much it can mean to us." —Pati Jinich, chef, cookbook author and host of PBS Pati's Mexican Table 

Product Details
ISBN: 9781452182698
ISBN-10: 1452182698
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: October 27th, 2020
Pages: 352
Language: English