Unwasted: The Podcast

The Science of Flavor With Nik Sharma

October 02, 2020 Season 1 Episode 38
Unwasted: The Podcast
The Science of Flavor With Nik Sharma
Show Notes

Have you ever wondered how the science of cooking works? After falling in love with cooking as a grad student, Nik Sharma discovered a lifelong passion for using science to better understand food and to better understand science. Today he uses his dual expertise in science and cooking to teach home cooks how to up their game via his writing on Serious Eats and via his blog, A Brown Table. 

He's also the author of a truly stunning and informative cookbook called Season: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food. In this charming and informative conversation we cover: 

  1. How Nik went from a life in academia to writing a food blog and publishing cookbooks 
  2. How you can apply scientific principles to become a better cook 
  3. How to properly clean and sanitize your kitchen
  4. What spices, ingredients, and cookbooks Nik recommends having in your kitchen
  5. How Nik wants his work to be reflective of, but not defined by his experience as a gay Indian immigrant

Whether you're looking for ways to become a better home cook or want to dive headlong into the weeds of food science, this episode has something to teach you. 

Episode Show Notes:

  1. Learn more about Nik by visiting his website, reading his blog, buying his books, and checking out his Instagram page
  2. Nik is an expert on spices. His favorite spices to have around the kitchen are Garam masala, Za'atar, Baharat, Shichimi Togarashi, Urfa biber, Aleppo Pepper, Marash Pepper, and Smoked Salt. 
  3. Nik recommends steeping dried chili flakes in vinegar to infuse their flavor into the vinegar. This could form the flavorful base of a hot sauce! 
  4. Here's a Harissa recipe Reilly highly recommends. 
  5. Check out Nik's blog post all about the chemistry of vegetable stock. 
  6. Nik's advice on sanitizing your kitchen during COVID-19 is a must-read. 
  7. Nik's top cookbook recommendations are How to Eat by Nigella Lawson, Jenis Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer, Gluten-Free Flavor Flours by Alice Medrich, and The Food Lab by J Kenji Lopez-Alt. 
  8. Nik has been loving watching the Miss Marple TV series and the Father Brown detective series to unwind from work. 
  9. Nik admires the Irish food writer Diana Henry