Molly Baz, Instagram Cooking Star, Wants to Teach You How to Use Salt

The Instagram cooking star wants you to live more deliciously.

Molly Baz talks about using salt like a general preparing troops for war.

“It’s important to know the technique of how to salt!” she says. Baz came up as a restaurant cook, made a name for herself at Bon Appétit, and just published her first cookbook, Cook This Book. She is obsessed with the idea that regular people could be making more delicious food in our homes. And after 14 harrowing months of eating our own cooking day and night, it feels like it may be time to bring in the General. Or, to use her self-chosen moniker, “the Salt Queen.” Like her new book, Baz is cheeky, cheery, and colorful but serious as a serrated knife when it comes to preparing good food.

Cook This Book is a beautiful physical object, almost like it belongs on a coffee table instead of propped next to a toaster oven. It’s filled with techniques to make tastier food, and the ingredient lists that accompany recipes are organized by areas in the grocery store (produce, dairy, pantry) you know, to actually make the entire process of cooking at home easier. Baz is so concerned with teaching people to cook more confidently that the book is scattered with well-placed QR codes—one moment you’re flipping through glossy pictures of roast chicken, the next you’re watching on your phone as she shows you how to cut an onion, or the famed Molly Baz salt technique. (If you think the technique is simply to sprinkle a dash of salt, think again. You need an “abundant bowl,” a “three-finger pinch,” a high vantage point, and a wagging motion. Basically—Salt Bae was trying to teach us something.)

We grabbed Baz, who’s used to doling out cooking help—she has more than a half a million followers on Instagram—for another installment of Glamour’s How I Eat At Home. Grab your microplane, we’re doing this.

"Cook This Book" by Molly Baz

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Glamour: What four staples are always in your kitchen?

Molly Baz: Lemons, in abundance. I’m not talking one lemon, multiple lemons. Dill—the go-to herb. Sour cream. And hot sauce. When I say hot sauce I kind of mean the category of hot condiments. The spicy condiment department in my refrigerator is outrageously expansive.

What would you buy with $20 to spend at the farmers’ market?

It depends what the season is—in the summertime I’ll probably spend 16 of those dollars on tomatoes. And four of those dollars on some kind of beautiful greens that I can’t get in a supermarket. There’s so much out there that isn’t in the supermarket and I love a beautiful, unique mix of lettuces, because I eat lots of salads along with my food and along with a lot more indulgent things. That’s like a treat for me—a lot of tomatoes and a little bit of lettuce.

What do you listen to while cooking?

Usually, my husband curates the sounds in our space! He’s big into music and I’m usually too caught up in my cooking world to remember to put anything on. He’s the vibes creator, and it’s different every night.

What do you drink while you cook?

There’s always a bottle of wine. I’m not really a cocktail-while-I-cook person, I just love the tradition of opening a bottle of wine with someone. Maybe this is too much, but a bottle of wine kind of feels like the perfect amount of wine for two people for a night [Laughs]. We keep a lot of fun, interesting wines on hand.

What is your all-time favorite food?

Caesar salad—that’s not hard for me to answer. It’s the greatest, I refer to it as the GSOAT, which is the Greatest Salad of All Time. It’s got it all.

What's an edible impulse-buy that you can never resist?

When I go to Trader Joe’s I can't not purchase the Elote Corn Dippers, which are just like the greatest chip of all time. They’re so good, they’re like a mix between a Frito and a Cool Ranch Dorito. I just can’t help myself.

What is your go-to hostess gift?

Usually just a bottle of wine. But these days if I’m feeling super prepared I’ll make a loaf cake. I’ll make a tea cake or a loaf cake over any other kind of cake any day. I don’t love spending a lot of time baking, and loaf cakes are usually just dump and stir. They’re more delicious than they should be given how little effort you have to put into them. I’ve just developed so many recipes for delicious loaf cakes that are kind of in my back pocket. I have an earl grey yogurt cake that’s really nice. In my book I just published two recipes for loaf cakes—one is for a brown butter and labneh banana bread, and another one is for a grapefruit and olive oil cake, and they’re both stunning looking but very easy to execute.

What is the dish you cooked most often during the pandemic?

It’s cliché, but beans! At least at the beginning. I’ve always been a bean lover, and I’ve always made beans from scratch, but they were on repeat in the beginning. And I also got kind of into making my own tortillas.

What tool gets used the most in your kitchen? 

The microplane is the tool that I use all the time, and it’s the tool that you’ll encounter a lot in this book, because I cook with a lot of lemon zest and I cook with a lot of grated garlic, and that’s the perfect tool for those things.

Microplane Grater

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What is your favorite snack?

In the evening we make a lot of popcorn in our house. There’s a recipe in my book called “The Right Way To Make Popcorn” because I have a feeling that many people do it the wrong way, and there’s actually a technique involved with popcorn, which many people probably don’t think about! We eat a lot of popcorn with nutritional yeast and Aleppo pepper or black pepper on it, it’s a go-to snack that we whip up.

What are your favorite food accounts on Instagram?

Betty Liu! Her Instagram account is delicious and inspiring. She just came out with a book called My Shanghai that has Chinese recipes from her childhood and from her family. And another person to follow is It’s Holly. She is just the most ambitious home cook I’ve ever seen. She tackles project upon project and she’s just so curious in the kitchen and it’s a joy to watch her cook through things. Those two accounts—whenever they pop up in my stories I immediately watch them.

What is the dumbest thing that you cook or eat?

The dumbest thing I eat, as far as no skill being involved, are roll-ups. So like turkey, cheese, and I’ll put a knife right into the jar of mustard, slather it right on the turkey, no bread or anything, and stuff a dill pickle inside.

Do you have an unpopular food opinion? 

I don’t love chocolate. I know. It just tastes bad to me. I didn’t have a bad experience or anything, I was just born without the taste buds that everyone else has, and I know that I’m missing out. I’ve thought about getting hypnotized for it.

Jenny Singer is a staff writer for Glamour. You can follow her on Twitter. 

This story originally appeared on: Glamour - Author:Jenny Singer

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