unwasted podcast

The Science of Flavor With Nik Sharma

Nik Sharma
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Our emotions affect the way we experience taste and aroma.”

Nik Sharma

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 using food to better understand science. Today he uses his dual expertise in science and cooking to teach home cooks how to up their game through his writing on Serious Eats and 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 cook books
  2. How you can apply scientific principles to become a better cook
  3. What spices, ingredients, and cookbooks Nik recommends having in your kitchen
  4. How to properly clean and sanitize 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 and the science of food by visiting his website, blog, Instagram, or buying his books.
  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 Niks blog post all about the chemistry of vegetable stock.
  6. Niks advice on sanitizing your kitchen during COVID-19 is a must read.
  7. Here are Nik’s top cookbook recommendations. 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.

If you enjoyed this episode, and want to learn more about how you can improve your home cooking, then be sure to check out our interviews with Joshua Weissman and Sarah Nelson!

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