“The Single Most Important Ingredient”


In this article, chef and cookbook author Samin Nosrat explains how salt is a singularly important seasoning in cooking. In detailing how salt has a multidimensional relationship with flavor, Nosrat switches frame multiple times, in order to most effectively relay her perspective and point. In the beginning of the article she uses a personal narrative frame: she first says she never associated salt with cooking, but with oceans and the beach. She describes with detail her childhood associations with salt, leading up to her adult realizations. As a cook, she learned how salt could make a good dish perfect, and connected her new experiences to her childhood ones eating cucumbers with feta on the beach.

She then switches to a more professional frame, one of a chef explaining the importance of salt. She alleges that salt has multidimensional relationship with flavor: it has its own distinct taste, but it also enhances and balances the flavor of other ingredients. She also clarifies that her suggestion is not necessarily to add more salt, but to add the right amount of salt, at the right time, in the right form.

Nosrat then changes frame again, to that of an expert opinion, when she talks about the different types of salt and their origins, for example how the pace of evaporation from saltwater brine determines the shape salt crystals take. She also summarizes the three main types of salt, common table salt, kosher salt, and sea salt.

She then switches frame again for a final time, this time to an instruction/teaching frame. She tells the audience how to best use salt in their cooking, including different ways to utilize salt and how to layer different types of salt by using more than one source of salt in a dish.

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