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VINE VOICEon March 28, 2012

Barb Stuckey is a professional food developer and has studied the science behind why certain foods taste better than others and how some foods can enhance or detract for their taste as well. I had a friend in grade school that used to drink orange juice promptly after brushing his teeth which made him vomit. He did this any time he wanted to stay home from school. Although this is an extreme example, Barb Stuckey explains exactly why orange juice tastes terrible after brushing your teeth. I found this whole book fascinating and full of really cool scientific facts about why some food tastes good and appealing while others completely miss the mark. She also emphasizes that our mouth and tongue only provide 20 percent of the experience of taste and that the other senses also come into play, especially smell.

There are formulas throughout the book that go into great detail about how foods and spices combine to make the sum greater than the parts. Stuckey also provides experiments for you to try at home and help develop your own taste so you can actually learn how to increase your own potential taste. I never knew there was such science behind food development since on the surface we only tend to look at the packaging. I really enjoyed this whole read and the information included will have you thinking about this for years to come.
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on October 23, 2015
Foodie, author, food developer, and Executive Vice President of Mattson, an independent developer of foods and beverages, Barb Stuckey tackles the issues of taste. She covers how the senses work, the basic tastes and how the senses and tastes work together. She weaves an entertaining story by combining anecdotes from her personal and professional experience with well-honed research and shows how much of what we know about taste is wrong. Her work should appeal to anyone interested in making or eating food.
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on November 22, 2012
Barb Stuckey is a pedagogue and her explanation of the physiology of taste is luminous. This book should be required reading for every aspiring chef. The taste exercises are great family fun. But more importantly the organization of the book around the five taste receptors, geometrically represented as a star is very helpful for the composition of flavors in a dish.
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on November 10, 2012
I have a B.S. degree in Food Science from UC Davis and worked in the food manufacturing industry for 12 years (R&D, QA, market research). I don't work in the industry any more, but still enjoy following trends and cooking. I have never read or heard about the interesting topics that Barb Stuckey covers before. The book includes information about how different people taste in different ways. It seems to explain why my husband, who can smell the most subtle odors, is so picky. It even includes exercises that the reader can do to experience different flavor sensations in order to reinforce information she describes. This is one of the most interesting books I've ever read.
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on May 5, 2012
Barb Stuckey's Taste What You're Missing is not written for home cooks, not even for the most serious foodies unless they are equally serious about the pure science behind foods and tastes. This excellent text book is for food scientists, food professionals and those with vocation in the food industry. The author is a professional food developer, a food scientist yet her writing is easy and delightful and a pleasure to read. Nevertheless, this is a significant text book and as such, it is not a bed-time reading.

To relieve the dryness often inherent in scientific texts, Stuckey divided each of the four major sections into small chapters and within each chapter the subheadings are short to help easy reading. In addition, Stuckey brightens the text with many, many stories and occasional illustrations related to her subject. Tables borrowed from scientific literature are scattered throughout; some are easier to understand than others, particularly to a non-scientist. Many good sidebars called Sensory Snack further lighten the text. Several exercises anyone can perform end most of the chapters. This hefty volume concludes with twenty-page notes and references and a very good index. (As reviewed for Sacramento/San Francisco Book Review.)
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on March 1, 2016
Explains so much. If you're not a cook and not a foodie and can't tell if more salt is needed or something else; and if you wish you could take more pleasure out of food; ; and if you feel you have a palate made from synthetic leather, read this book. Barb will bring you through the science and the process of activating your senses to make you a more sure and knowledgeable taster.
Minus one point because the tables in the kindle version are truncated.
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I wasn't sure where this book was going when I started it. But it quickly panned out to being mostly interesting collections of facts (or assertions) roughly grouped by taste sensation.

I learned a lot about how taste works, a lot about the rivalry between the author and her boyfriend (by the end of the book they were using fMRI scans to compare brain sizes), and the fascinating world of "food science".

There are exercises at the end of each chapter, but I didn't try a single one.

The author repeats herself a lot, and I'm not sure if is trying to make sure we remember the point, or if she is just repeating herself.

I definitely think it has changed my way of thinking about cooking, even though it isn't really a book about cooking.

BTW, as a spoiler, the fMRI technician lied to her boyfriend about whose brain was bigger.
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on April 2, 2012
My wife and I have both read this book and the tagline "why good food tastes good" really hit home the other night when we were dining out. We were having a dish that used a smoked chili as an ingredient. To try out one of the experiments, we each took a bite while holding our noses, we couldn't even taste smokiness at all, and then, release the nose, and suddenly the food comes alive. I never thought I would be using the term "retronasal olfaction" but now I know what it means and how important it is in experience a dish.

The book covers some very scientific ground in a fun and approachable method that never gets dry or boring. If you like to cook or just enjoy dining out, this book will definitely open your mind and palate to a new way tasting and experiencing food.
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on January 6, 2013
My husband has just finnished reading this book that I gave him for Christmas. It covers taste in a way that will get you looking at food in a completely diffrently. Easy to read and packed with interesting facts.
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on August 14, 2013
Book explains why things taste good or bad 4 U! We all have a different taste experience. It will help U determine what 2 cook 4 Ur family or restaurant. It shows how the taste experience comes together, or fails to come together.
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