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February 01, 2022

What’s Cooking @ HEPL: Ep 02

By: Heidi Herald

Image of Salt Fat Acid Heat book
Welcome to the What’s Cooking @ HEPL blog! I am Heidi Herald, a Public Services Librarian at Hamilton East Public Library. I will be reviewing one of the library’s cookbooks each month. In this second installment, we will look at the popular cookbook Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat. Nosrat also has a Netflix documentary limited series with the same title, in which she explores these culinary elements in cuisines around the world, teaching us how to cook using salt, fat, acid, and heat to perfect our cooking.

I hope you will borrow Salt Fat Acid Heat from our library collections. It is available in print, as well as a digital eBook through Libby (Overdrive).

Image of Fried Chicken

Classic Fried Chicken

The first recipe I tried from Salt Fat Acid Heat was Classic Fried Chicken. (This is a variation of the recipe Spicy Fried Chicken that I really wanted to make, but my neighbor who was coming for dinner does not like spicy food!) I purchased a whole chicken (which I have never done before) and cut up the chicken according to Nosrat’s diagrams on pages 318-319. The chicken turned out great! Nosrat does an excellent job of giving you detailed instructions and teaching you about cooking through her Salt Fat Acid Heat philosophy.

Image of Bright Cabbage Slaw

Bright Cabbage Slaw

I made Bright Cabbage Slaw to accompany the chicken. It was delicious and provided a great contrast. Nosrat offers several variations of this slaw in her cookbook.

Image of Fresh Ginger & Molasses Cake

Fresh Ginger and Molasses Cake

Finally, in the video below I make Fresh Ginger and Molasses Cake with fresh Scented Vanilla Cream. This recipe calls for a cup of ginger making it a very spicy and flavorful cake!

Fresh Ginger and Molasses Cake


  • 1 cup peeled, thinly sliced fresh ginger (about 5 ounces unpeeled)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup neutral-tasting oil
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt or 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 cups Vanilla Cream (recipe on page 423)
  • Directions:
    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Set a rack in the upper third of the oven. Grease two 9-inch cake pans, then line with parchment paper. Grease and sprinkle generously with flour, tap out the excess, and set aside.

    Purée the fresh ginger and sugar together in a food processor or blender until completely smooth, about 4 minutes. Pour the mixture into a medium bowl and add the oil and molasses. Whisk to combine and set aside.

    In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, pepper, salt, and baking soda, then sift into a large bowl. Set aside.

    Whisk the boiling water into the sugar-oil mixture until evenly combined.

    Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and gradually whisk in the water-oil mixture until incorporated. Gradually whisk in the eggs and stir until smooth. The batter will be thin.

    Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Drop the pan onto the counter from a height of 3 inches a couple of times to release any air bubbles that may have formed.

    Bake in the upper third of the oven for 38 to 40 minutes, until the cakes spring back from the touch and just pull away from the edges of the pan. An inserted toothpick should come out clean.

    Cool the cakes completely on a wire rack before unmolding them from the pan and peeling off the parchment paper.

    To serve, place one layer down on a cake plate. Spread 1 cup Vanilla Cream in the center of the cake and gently place the second layer atop it. Spread the remaining cream onto the center of the top layer and chill for up to 2 hours before serving. Alternatively, top with cream cheese frosting, serve with ice cream, or simply dust cakes with powdered sugar. The batter also makes for fantastic cupcakes!

    Tightly wrapped, this cake will keep for 4 days at room temperature, or for 2 months in the freezer.

    Excerpted from Salt Fat Acid Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nostrat (Simon & Schuster, 2017).

    From SALT, FAT, ACID, HEAT: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat and Art by Wendy MacNaughton. Text copyright © 2017 by Samin Nosrat and Illustrations copyright © 2017 by Wendy MacNaughton. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights.


    Explore our HEPL YouTube What’s Cooking @ HEPL playlist for access to the entire cooking series at your own pace.

    Missed last month’s episode? You can find the recipe here. Also, be sure to check out our exclusive interview with author Christopher Kimball, as he discusses his latest book, Cookish, and shares what three ingredients he would keep in his kitchen for flavoring!

    Follow HEPL on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn the first week of each month as we share a new featured cookbook and recipe on What’s Cooking @ HEPL?  Be sure to tag us and use #HEPLFoodies to share what’s cooking in YOUR kitchen!

    Credit goes to Danielle Acton, HEPL’s Adult Engagement Coordinator, for producing the videos and for her help and advice.

    Happy Eating!