I didn’t recognize Nik Sharma’s name when I requested to review The Flavor Equation: The Science of Great Cooking Explained, but a few minutes of research reminded me that I have enjoyed his cooking blog in the past – A Brown Table. His recipes are thoughtful and creative and his food photography is spectacular. I recommend him as a follow on Instagram and Twitter as well. I received this as an arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
The Flavor Equation sits in that intersection of food and science, but on a different corner than the gadget and technology cookbooks. To be clear, I love all the cookbooks. The science of this is more Salt Fat Acid Heat than molecular gastronomy. In fact, it would make an excellent companion book to Samin Nosrat’s book. I can’t gauge the accuracy of the science, but it was interesting to read and gave me something to think about.
Sharma approaches food from a love of flavor and a love of chemistry. Flavor is influenced by by some things a recipe cannot account for – genetics, culture, emotion and memory. He focuses on the the parts of flavor we can play with and has broken his recipe chapters accordingly:
Sharma was born and raised in India, and his cookbook reflects that, but he also incorporated the cooking styles and techniques he has learned in the US and elsewhere. He takes ingredients and techniques from disparate cuisines and marries them. Supporting the recipes, he talks about how the ingredients and the cooking techniques create the mouthfeel, aroma and taste of the food. This is the kind of cookbook that can make you a more adventurous cook.
The Flavor Equation is a gorgeous cookbook. It glows. More importantly, his recipes make me dream.
- Potato and Roasted Corn Herbed Raita
- Crispy Carrots with Garlic and Mint Tahini
- Coffee-spiced Steak with Burnt Kachumber Salad
- Blueberry and Omani lime Ice Cream
It’s out October 27th.