The Science of Our Most Neglected Sense

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
Rate this:
WW Norton
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 palette—to a vast, exciting sensory world.

Baker & Taylor
A journey into the science of the sense of taste outlines principles in neurobiology and modern food production to reveal the broad range of factors that can affect one's appreciation of what is consumed.

Book News
Science reporter Bob Holmes is a correspondent for New Scientist magazine. In this accessible book for general readers and students, he uses plain language and a conversational style to explain the neurobiology of flavor and show how the science of flavor is applied in modern food production. Readers will learn many of the scientific aspects through journeys into the world of food professionals such as chefs, food engineers, and flavor and olfactory scientists. The book reveals surprising facts on how language, culture and even colors and sounds can affect our sense of taste. Annotation ©2017 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)

& Taylor

A journey into the surprising science of the sense of flavor by a veteran New Scientist correspondent outlines narrative principles in neurobiology and modern food production to reveal the broad range of factors that can affect one's appreciation of what we consume.

Publisher: New York, NY :, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.,, [2017]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780393244427
Characteristics: 310 pages ; 25 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Aug 03, 2017

The author had good intentions, but failed miserably.
He claims that people generally can't describe flavour, it is not "as easy as describing music ( with all the terminology familiar only to those who got formal musical training -ha-ha:). Maybe we live in different worlds, I believe the opposite is true - with all the food industry, restaurants, cooking shows, foodies etc. most people like talking about flavour.
When describing flavour he chooses to talk about various junk food like jelly beans and chicken nuggets - I don't know why. I think nobody who cares about flavours wouldn't think about eating such garbage.
The book is so poorly written it was hard to read it ( and I actually didn't bother finishing it).
Trying to read it after reading books by such authors like S. Mukherjee and Lucy Worsley was like trying to eat at McDonald's after eating boeuf bourguignon.
And, really, the most neglected sense is not flavour but TOUCH, if you think about it.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at SSFPL

To Top