Saucy, Tangy, Golden Cauliflower to Make This Week

The Flavor Equation–Nik Sharma’s follow-up to Season—was dubbed one of the best cookbooks of 2020 by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, Food & Wine, Serious Eats, Epicurious, Eater, and then some. But calling it a cookbook is …

The Flavor Equation–Nik Sharma's follow-up to Season—was dubbed one of the best cookbooks of 2020 by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, Food & Wine, Serious Eats, Epicurious, Eater, and then some. But calling it a cookbook is complicated. There are over 100 recipes, yes, but there's also a deep—deep—dive into the science of good food. It's this rare blend that makes The Flavor Equation the sort of book I'll grab from the shelf for years to come, whether it's for a tangy, saucy cauliflower dish or an explanation on how taste buds work. Keep reading for a Q&A with the author—and if you have yet to check out Nik's column, The Kitchen Scientist, here on Food52—well, what are you waiting for?


EMMA LAPERRUQUE: The very weight of this book (almost three and a half pounds!) speaks for itself. From start to finish, how long did it take to create The Flavor Equation?

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The Savory Power of Kala Namak, aka Black Salt

In The Kitchen Scientist, The Flavor Equation author Nik Sharma breaks down the science of good food, from rinsing rice to salting coffee. Today, he explores a savory super-ingredient to always keep in the pantry.

If there was one ingredient that I …

In The Kitchen Scientist, The Flavor Equation author Nik Sharma breaks down the science of good food, from rinsing rice to salting coffee. Today, he explores a savory super-ingredient to always keep in the pantry.


If there was one ingredient that I distinctly enjoyed from my parents’ kitchen growing up, it would be the salt kala namak. Sprinkling it over fresh fruit with red chile flakes or a bowl of yogurt with sweet tamarind chutney was delightful.

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The Umami-Rich Science of Nutritional Yeast, Marmite & Vegemite

In The Kitchen Scientist, The Flavor Equation author Nik Sharma breaks down the science of good food, from rinsing rice to salting coffee. Today, he’s introducing us to savory super-ingredients to always keep in the pantry.

Yeasts are one of the mos…

In The Kitchen Scientist, The Flavor Equation author Nik Sharma breaks down the science of good food, from rinsing rice to salting coffee. Today, he's introducing us to savory super-ingredients to always keep in the pantry.


Yeasts are one of the most powerful workhorses in research and the food industry. Simply put, yeast is a single-cell fungus that is round or oval in shape, sometimes looking like the cartoon character shmoo.

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Why Do Onions Make Us Cry? And How Do We Make Them Stop?

In The Kitchen Scientist, The Flavor Equation author Nik Sharma breaks down the science of good food, from rinsing rice to salting coffee. Today, he’s unpacking why cutting onions make us weep—and what to do about it.

When it was time to decide on a…

In The Kitchen Scientist, The Flavor Equation author Nik Sharma breaks down the science of good food, from rinsing rice to salting coffee. Today, he's unpacking why cutting onions make us weep—and what to do about it.


When it was time to decide on a career, I debated on attending culinary school. My mother, however, wasn’t too keen.

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Do You Really Need to Wash Rice? Nik Sharma Has Thoughts.

If you’re like us, every time you hear about a kitchen hack—whether it’s advice from grandma or trending on TikTok—you wonder: But does it actually work? In The Kitchen Scientist, we’re asking author Nik Sharma (whose new book, The Flavor Equation, com…

If you're like us, every time you hear about a kitchen hack—whether it's advice from grandma or trending on TikTok—you wonder: But does it actually work? In The Kitchen Scientist, we're asking author Nik Sharma (whose new book, The Flavor Equation, comes out in October!) to put it to the test.


It’s almost an unconscious act for most of us. Before we cook many ingredients, we inevitably make our way to the kitchen sink to wash them. This does a lot of things: It rids the food’s surface from grit, dirt, chemicals, and bugs. But in some instances, washing also helps improve the quality of a dish, especially when rice is involved.

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Could Salt Make Coffee Taste Better?

If you’re like us, every time you hear about a kitchen hack—whether it’s advice from grandma or trending on TikTok—you wonder: But does it actually work? In The Kitchen Scientist, we’re asking author Nik Sharma (whose new book, The Flavor Equation, com…

If you're like us, every time you hear about a kitchen hack—whether it's advice from grandma or trending on TikTok—you wonder: But does it actually work? In The Kitchen Scientist, we're asking author Nik Sharma (whose new book, The Flavor Equation, comes out in October!) to put it to the test.


Of the five basic tastes, I find bitterness to be the most interesting—not only from an ingredient perspective but also looking at our behavior in response. In most recipes, we usually try to avoid tasting bitterness, and, as cooks, we’ve developed various ways in the kitchen to make the taste more palatable by trying to reduce it, cover it up, or remove it entirely.

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