Samin Nosrat: TOP TEN BOOKS


Samin Nosrat photographed by Talia Herman

To the delight of booksellers across America, it has been almost impossible to keep enough copies of Samin Nosrat’s cookbook Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat in stock, so popular has the Iranian-American chef become since her Netflix show debuted in fall 2018. The 38-year-old chef, who lives in Berkeley, California, comes from a line of gleeful, food loving chefs (think Nigella Lawson and the Two Fat Ladies) who are not going to guilt anyone for having an appetite. “My whole message is, sit down with your friend or your family for dinner and one by one, one table at a time, that will make the world a better place,” she told The Cut last October. After starting her career as a busser at Alice Water’s legendary Chez Panisse, she honed her writing skills under the tutelage of Michael Pollan, and appeared on his Netflix show, Cook, before sitting down to work on her own seminal cookbook.

Below are Samin Nosrat’s favorite books, available to purchase individually or as a set.


Honey From a Weed

Patience Gray
This was the first cookbook I ever saw, let alone read, that strayed from the usual format. Ms. Gray followed her husband, a twentieth century sculptor, on the hunt for marble in often remote locations throughout the Mediterranean. Written with humor, elegance and grace, it’s a culinary catalog of a journey and a kind of cooking that’s the “result of a balance struck between frugality and liberality.” This is a cookbook to read in bed.
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Taste of Country Cooking

Edna Lewis
I love Miss Lewis’s intimate, evocative writing about growing up on a farm in Freetown, Virginia. The true—and generally uncredited— progenitor of farm-to-table eating in this country, Miss Lewis is a legend, and all American cooks should get to know her writing and her recipes.
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My Bombay Kitchen

Niloufer Ichaporia King
The night the cooks look forward to most each year at Chez Panisse (and perhaps diners, too), is Parsi New Year, when Niloufer Ichaporia King takes the helm of the kitchen. Parsi cooking is exquisite, existing at the intersection of Indian and Persian, and I can never get enough of Niloufer’s recipes (I adore her Parsi deviled eggs).
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Gran Cocina Latina

Maricel Presilla
This extraordinary masterwork could only have been written by someone with an academic’s patience and sense of history and tradition. Vastly detailed and rich with anthropological, historical, and cultural information, I refer to this book first anytime I want to learn or better understand anything about Latin cuisine.
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Vibration Cooking: Or, the Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl

Vertamae Smart Grosvenor
There’s never been anyone like Vertamae Smart Grosvenor, and there never will be.  She is such an important source of inspiration for me, reluctant recipe writer and follower that I am. She’s spicy, saucy, sassy and silly, and her voice entirely her own: “When I cook, I never measure or weigh anything,” she wrote. “I cook by vibration. I can tell by the look and smell of it. Most of the ingredients in this book are approximate. Some of the recipes that people gave me list the amounts, but for my part, I just do it by vibration. Different strokes for different folks. Do your thing your way.”
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On Food and Cooking

Harold McGee
This explains everything. Literally. I am so grateful to McGee for his tirelessness, his patience, and his commitment to answering the whys of the kitchen.
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Longthroat Memoirs

Yemisi Aribisala
Most everything I know about Nigerian cooking, I’ve learned from Ms. Aribisala, the nation’s finest culinary writer. She writes with emotion, grace and good humor about pop culture, history, geography, art and economics, all through her very personal stories of food and sex.
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Edna Lewis: At the Table With an American Original

edited by Sara Franklin
Most Americans have never heard of African American chef and cookbook author Edna Lewis. Despite her importance—she inspired culinary luminaries such as Alice Waters, MFK Fisher and James Beard, and is considered the progenitor of the farm-to-table movement—Lewis never became a household name. Though Miss Lewis’s contributions to the food culture of this nation far surpassed those of many of her white contemporaries, she and her work have actively been forgotten. This book is vital, introducing a new generation of readers and eaters to the deeply important life and legacy of Miss Lewis.
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Bringing It to the Table: On Farming and Food

Wendell Berry
I always turn to Wendell Berry for inspiration on food, community, agriculture, and well, just being a human. His work has influenced so many of my own mentors that I feel like he’s my own teacher. This is one of my favorite collections of his.
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The Hungry Ear

Kevin Young
I thumb through this collection of poems every time I need a little inspiration, whether in my writing or my cooking.
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