In 'Flavor Equation,' Nik Sharma Probes The Science Of Good Cooking : Short Wave What is flavor? Is it merely what your nose and tongue tell you? For cookbook author and recipe developer Nik Sharma, flavor is a full-body experience. Drawing upon his background in molecular biology, Nik brings scientific inquiry to the kitchen in his new cookbook, The Flavor Equation. In today's episode, Short Wave reporter Emily Kwong and producer Rebecca Ramirez cook two recipes from Nik's book and explore the scientific principles at work. Check out the episode page for photos and other links! Email us at shortwave@npr.org.
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To Unlock Sublime Flavor, Cook Like A Scientist

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To Unlock Sublime Flavor, Cook Like A Scientist

To Unlock Sublime Flavor, Cook Like A Scientist

To Unlock Sublime Flavor, Cook Like A Scientist

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/945611508/945723113" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Maldon salt flakes under a microscope. Food writer and recipe developer Nik Sharma is a molecular biologist by training, unlocking flavor with a scientific approach to cooking. Nik Sharma hide caption

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Nik Sharma

Maldon salt flakes under a microscope. Food writer and recipe developer Nik Sharma is a molecular biologist by training, unlocking flavor with a scientific approach to cooking.

Nik Sharma

What is flavor? Is it merely what your nose and tongue tell you?

Does "sweet" or "salty" really capture the experience of eating? How do you put into words the flavor of a family recipe?

Brown sugar granules under a microscope, taken at the Biological Imaging Facility at the University of California, Berkeley. Nik Sharma hide caption

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Nik Sharma

Brown sugar granules under a microscope, taken at the Biological Imaging Facility at the University of California, Berkeley.

Nik Sharma

For cookbook author and recipe developer Nik Sharma, flavor is a full-body experience — beyond aroma and taste. His new cookbook, The Flavor Equation: The Science Of Great Cooking Explained In More Than 100 Essential Recipes, proposes that flavor is also comprised of sight, sound, mouthfeel, and emotion.

Drawing upon his background in molecular biology, Nik brings scientific inquiry to his cooking. As he develops recipes, he consults research papers and maintains a "notebook of hypotheses" for tracking his ideas. Naturally, we had to ask him to come on our show.

In today's episode, Short Wave reporter Emily Kwong and Short Wave producer Rebecca Ramirez cook two recipes from Nik's book and explore the scientific principles at work.

To see more of Nik's recipes, check out his blog, A Brown Table.

Email us at shortwave@npr.org.

This episode was edited by Viet Le, fact-checked by Ariela Zebede, and produced by Rebecca Ramirez. The audio engineer for this episode was Alex Drewenskus.

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Title
The Flavor Equation: The Science of Great Cooking
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Nik Sharma

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