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Eat and Drink

Samin Nosrat Wants to Talk to You About Cooking, Writing, and Tough Love

The Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat author and Netflix star will speak at the Paramount Theater on October 6.

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If you’re a cookbook lover, Netflix watcher, podcast enthusiast, or just someone who has surfed the internet over the past couple of years, you probably know about Samin Nosrat. Author of the award-winning cookbook Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking, star of the four-part documentary of the same name, New York Times columnist, and editor of the forthcoming Best American Food Writing 2019 (BAFW, which goes on sale on October 1), Nosrat is also a charming, sincere human being and an advocate for diversity and inclusion, most especially at the table. Nosrat will appear at the Paramount Theater on Sunday, October 6 to discuss all of the above. (I’ll be there, too, as moderator, doing my best not to fan-girl all over her.)

During a recent phone conversation, Nosrat explained that she’s taken a work hiatus over the past two months to focus on the life she’d been ignoring amidst the crush of activity surrounding her 2017 cookbook and 2018 Netflix series launch; she’s been gardening, filing recipes, and getting to know her adorable new puppy, Fava. “I have a crazy dog now that drives me nuts,” Nosrat said, “and I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on what I’m actually doing. What’s the larger thing that I care about?”

The pieces of writing that Nosrat included in BAFW reflect the issues that mean the most to her: “It’s important that we talk about diversity and sharing our backgrounds. The [food writing] industry—and the world—has been so historically limiting and exclusive, and it was important to me to create more opportunities for all different kinds of people.” Nosrat will dive into how she made those selections and what excellence in writing means to her at the Paramount event.

Photo by Grant Delin

Of course, no evening with Nosrat would be complete without a discussion about the impact of her book and television show on home cooking and, more personally, Nosrat’s life. How did the Berkeley-born daughter of Iranian immigrants end up with book deals, a beloved docuseries, and a global platform? How does identity and inclusiveness play into her new role as a voice for women of color? “I had to look up at one point not so many years ago,” Nosrat recalls, “and ask what was this life I created? It was pretty monoculture-ish. How do I change that? It takes a little bit of tough love with yourself and the people around you, but it’s actually simpler than you might think.” We’ll dig into it all.

But above all, Nosrat’s favorite aspect of public speaking is hearing and responding to stories from others. “Seeing the audience fills me with such joy,” Nosrat said. “My goal is to give people what they want—because I am a pleaser and I’m a brown girl—so I’m really into Q&A, especially when the questions come from kids. I love hearing other people’s experiences.”

If you (or your little ones) have a question for Nosrat or an anecdote you’d like to share with her, ping me on Instagram (@DeniseMickelsen) or email me at dining@5280.com. I promise to stop swooning over her long enough to pass it along.

If you go: Tickets for Samin Nosrat at the Paramount Theater on October 6 can be purchased here.

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