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Netflix’s new ‘Salt Fat Acid Heat’ is unlike any other food show on TV


There’s a perfect word that sums up everything about Netflix’s new cooking show, “Salt Fat Acid Heat,” and it emerges over a meal that the star, Samin Nosrat, is enjoying with her hosts in Japan, where she has just learned the traditional way of making soy sauce. As they tuck into some chicken and rice balls, the elderly woman who has helped prepare the meal laments that the rice balls are not the perfect shape. “The thing I love is wabi-sabi, that handmade quality that makes it human,” Nosrat told her host, using the Japanese term for finding beauty in imperfection.

Wabi-sabi is one of the things that makes “Salt Fat Acid Heat,” named for the four factors of successful cooking and her cookbook of the same name, remarkable. The show and its star exude it. It is Netflix’s first instructional cooking show, and it doesn’t look anything like the rest of that genre, which is too often the domain of cheerful domestic goddesses in glossy, polished kitchens. It’s also a travel show — Nosrat takes her viewers to a different country that exemplifies each component in the show’s title — and it doesn’t look anything like those shows, which are usually full of brash men eating organ meats and throwing back beers, either.

Instead, it looks like Nosrat’s life, beautiful in its imperfections.