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Food for Thought: Nancy loves Nosrat

Nancy Leson
The book and the elements

That would be James Beard Award-winning cookbook author Samin Nosrat, coming to Seattle on March 10, and the Netflix documentary made of her bestselling "Salt Fat Acid Heat."

"It's my favorite thing I've ever seen foodwise on television," Nancy Leson told me.  She explained Nosrat started out with an interest in books, just not the kitchen kind.

"She went to U.C. Berkeley to study English literature," Nancy told me. But Berkeley also is home to Alice Waters' famed Chez Panisse. One dinner there was all it took to change Samin's focus from Fielding to fines herbes.

"She begged for a job bussing tables and got one. And very swiftly moved up to the kitchen and worked there for Alice Waters, where she got what amounted to a Ph.D. in cooking. 'Salt Fat Acid Heat' is her thesis."  

In the Netflix doc, Samin goes to Japan for the segment on the many kinds of salt. Her episode on fat is set in Italy. She explores the use of acid in Mexico and returns home to Berkeley to talk about heat.

In addition to the cooking lore of SFAH, Nance also loves the book's illustrations by Wendy McNaughton, who appears with Nosrat in the final segment of the Netflix show. 

Samin Nosrat, who also hosts the four-part Netflix documentary, appears at Seattle's Benaroya Hall on March 10 in a KNKX co-sponsored event.    

"Reading cookbooks will help you with just about anything in your life, including heartbreak." –Isabel Gillies

Dick Stein joined KNKX in January 1992. He retired in 2020 after three decades on air. During his storied radio career, he hosted the morning jazz show, co-hosted and produced "Food for Thought" with Nancy Leson and wrote and directed the Jimmy Jazzoid live radio musical comedies and 100 episodes of Jazz Kitchen.