Docuseries, based on the award-winning book, explores the essence of cooking and the vital ingredients at the heart of a great dish.
Based on the cookbook of the same name, Samin Nosrat is a Chez Panisse-trained chef who identifies salt, fat, acid, and heat as the building blocks of any successful meal. In search of new—and old—ways to use each element, she travels around the world and learns how to make authentic local cuisine.
Couch Kitchen-Sharing Capability: High
I typically don’t watch cooking shows, although I love to cook. I usually find the cooks annoying, the kitchens ridiculous (that might be my jealousy of anyone with more than one square foot of counter space, though), and the instruction too simple. That is not the case here: both a cooking and travel show (which I also usually find boring), it is the most soothing television I’ve ever watched. Samin is basically the perfect American ambassador and your new best friend, between speaking to people in their native languages, gamely trying anything she’s offered, offering effusive praise, and cheerfully making mistakes. You go along for the ride not just to ogle her delicious food (and oh, there is so much of it), but to enjoy her sincere charm, as well as to learn about how different forms of each element produce different results, and what they might look like in other parts of the world.
Basically, it’s the streaming equivalent of a hug from grandma, and you’ll want to share it with your friends.
Recommended Level of Inebriation: Low
All I can think while watching is that if you partake of the jazz cabbage while watching this, you are going to be one very miserable person. Even completely sober, I found myself with an irrepressible craving for focaccia and olive oil and cheese and sushi and short ribs and oh lord why didn’t I go grocery shopping earlier? And why does cooking take so long when I want to eat this food NOW? Stay relatively sober, but also prepare wisely by making sure you have a steady supply of snacks to last through each episode.
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Excellent
This may sound less-than-flattering, but trust me when I say it’s a compliment: this show helps me with my insomnia. Not because it’s boring—it’s not!—but because it is a comfort watch. For several hours, you can ignore the news and dive into an idyllic version of the world, where everyone is quick to offer you their finest culinary delights and give you a peek into their lives. It’s the kind of world I’d rather live in, and the fact that Samin inspires me to go put some effort into my everyday cooking—you can find the recipes on the SFAH website—is just a bonus.