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Neurogastronomy: How the Brain Creates Flavor and Why It Matters Hardcover – December 2, 2011
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Neurogastronomy is a personal yet magisterial account of the new brain-based approach to flavor perception. Gordon M. Shepherd's panoramic view of science, culture, and behavior is that of a true pioneer of the chemical senses. (Avery Gilbert, Author of What the Nose Knows: The Science of Scent in Everyday Life)
Cooking? It is first love, then art, then technique. Chefs and food lovers alike can benefit from a better appreciation of the phenomena at play throughout the culinary process, from the field to the fork and beyond. This is why flavor is so important, and why Gordon M. Shepherd's well-named Neurogastronomy is such a welcome addition to the literature. (Hervé This, author of Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor)
Those who make the effort will be rewarded: they'll never look at eating the same way again. (Library Journal)
Shepherd makes an excellent case for neurogastronomy as an important cross-disciplinary field that is likely to motivate a variety of imperatives for our health and well-being. (Chris Loss Nature)
Although written for lay readers, this excellent summary of everything people currently know about flavor perception must be considered the latest and most valuable review of research on the chemical senses. (Choice)
Stimulating and informing. (Israel Rosenfeld and Edward B. Ziff New York Review of Books)
A work that has the potential for breaking new ground and developing a whole new direction of study. (Yum.fi)
About the Author
Gordon M. Shepherd is professor of neurobiology at the Yale School of Medicine and former editor in chief of the Journal of Neuroscience. He has made fundamental contributions to the study of brain microcircuits, as summarized in his highly regarded edited reference work The Synaptic Organization of the Brain. His current research focuses on olfaction at the level of microcircuits and how they construct the spatial patterns of smell, which are essential to the perception of flavor.
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Strangely, reviewers haven't commented on the bad writing, but they have said the book is "a dense read." This didn't turn me off from the book because I don't mind dense reads if the material is necessarily dense. But this book is needlessly dense. Here's a quick example of a sentence:
"Just as the muscles of the nostril manipulate the inhalation of air, so are they coordinated to direct the air streams into the snout." (23)
What? Why is this written as a parallel sentence? Instead of nostril muscles "manipulating the inhalation of air," can they just breathe in or sniff instead? Are they "coordinated to direct the air streams," or do they just direct the air streams? The book is made up of these sentences, and together with the name dropping, the result is a rambling 200-page lecture given by a pretentious Yale professor. Even more pretentious than Herve This, because although both authors baptize a new field, at least This was French and poorly translated.
It is not a light read, and certainly not a read for someone with just a passing interest, but for people who want a deep understanding of the interaction between brain, body and food, this certainly will satiate your thirst for the subject.
Most recent customer reviews
Some parts are boring for non-scientists.