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A journey into the surprising science behind our flavor senses.
Can you describe how the flavor of halibut differs from that of red snapper? How the taste of a Fuji apple differs from a Spartan? For most of us, this is a difficult task: flavor remains a vague, undeveloped concept that we don’t know enough about to describe―or appreciate―fully. In this delightful and compelling exploration of our most neglected sense, veteran science reporter Bob Holmes shows us just how much we’re missing.
Considering every angle of flavor from our neurobiology to the science and practice of modern food production, Holmes takes readers on a journey to uncover the broad range of factors that can affect our appreciation of a fine meal or an exceptional glass of wine. He peers over the shoulders of some of the most fascinating food professionals working today, from cutting-edge chefs to food engineers to mathematicians investigating the perfect combination of pizza toppings. He talks with flavor and olfactory scientists, who describe why two people can experience remarkably different sensations from the same morsel of food, and how something as seemingly unrelated as cultural heritage can actually impact our sense of smell.
Along the way, even more surprising facts are revealed: that cake tastes sweetest on white plates; that wine experts’ eyes can fool their noses; and even that language can affect our sense of taste. Flavor expands our curiosity and understanding of one of our most intimate sensations, while ultimately revealing how we can all sharpen our senses and our enjoyment of the things we taste.
Certain to fascinate everyone from gourmands and scientists to home cooks and their guests, Flavor will open your mind―and palate―to a vast, exciting sensory world.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful.
Full of fascinating and surprising facts
By Robert Ginsberg
This book was so much better than I expected! I thought it might be a rather dry scientific overview, but while it is certainly scientific, it is not at all dry. The author has a sense of humor and a sense of fun, and I’m sure it would be a treat to share a meal with him. He explains the subtleties, complexities, mysteries, and physiology of taste and smell very clearly, and by the end we have learned an enormous amount in an area that few people ever even think about. Every page has a surprise. He changed the way I cook, eat, and think about food.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful.
An excellent book!
By Robert Krampf
An excellent book! I knew that flavor was a complex subject, but did not realize how incredibly intricate it is. Beside the entertaining information, and the solid science, I am also enjoying trying some of his experiments myself. Who would have thought that a low (80 hz) tone could make semi-sweet chocolate taste more bitter, while a high (1,500 hz tone) could make the same piece of chocolate taste sweeter? It was fun switching back and forth, not to mention eating lots of chocolate. I highly recommend this book for cooks, science teachers, and anyone who really likes food.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful.
Absolutely fantastic. Working in medicine
Absolutely fantastic. Working in medicine, I geek out over anatomical tomes. This is an outstanding, easy to understand look into one of our most important senses. You will never look at cilantro, jelly beans or MSG the same way again
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