'Fascinating…. Flavor, as Bob Holmes demonstrates elegantly, exists nowhere but in the mind of the eater' – Wall Street Journal
'Endlessly fascinating. A terrific book' – Bill Bryson
The Science Our Most Neglected Sense
Whether you are someone who likes to cook creatively, delve into cutting-edge science or explore the latest ideas about health, diet and nutrition, this book will open your mind – and your palate – to a vast, exciting sensory world.
Most of us don't pay much attention to flavour in our day-to-day lives. We might notice that dinner tasted good, but we'd probably struggle to say anything more precise than that. For far too many people, flavour remains a vague, undeveloped experience – elevator music for the palate.
In Flavor, Bob Holmes journeys into the surprising science behind our flavour senses. He shows why what we thought we knew about taste is almost certainly wrong, why no two people have exactly the same sense of smell, and how the sense of touch contributes to flavour. He visits the birthplace of flavour in the brain to discover why cake tastes sweetest on a white plate, how wine experts’ eyes can fool their noses, and how even language affects the flavour we find in food. He learns why people like the foods they do, what makes some foods more delicious than others, and how flavour affects our appetite – and, in turn, our health.
Moving from the laboratory into the kitchen, he peers over the shoulders of some of the most fascinating food professionals: the food technologists seeking to engineer the perfect snack food or soft drink, the professional chefs looking for new ways to combine flavours into surprising yet delicious dishes, and even the mathematicians searching for the perfect pizza topping and the chemists seeking the ideal pairing of food and wine.
He ends by revealing how we can all sharpen our flavour senses, teaching us the skills and techniques that professionals use to name flavours and describe them articulately.