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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)
Neurogastronomy is a path-breaking account of flavor from how we perceive it to how it affects society. Gordon M. Shepherd's explanation of our food preferences is a tour of the intellectual senses and a model of brain science.(Richard Wrangham, Harvard University, author of Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human)
Top Customer Reviews
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.
At first glance you may feel this is a fairly typical academic tome, full of top-notch information but barely accessible to the average reader. In this case you would be mistaken. Here the author has managed to create a book that is both accessible but not "dumbed down". You don't need a science degree to enjoy this book but, of course, should you be using it in the course of study you will equally find it of value.
Within this book the author seeks to create a new scientific field of study and understanding - neurogastronomy - and debunk the belief that the sense of smell diminished during human evolution. Taking an opposing view, Shepherd claims that our sense of flavour is inherently stronger than previously imagined. The basics of smell are covered from its interaction in the body as well as the "physical mechanics" of how a smell is transformed or processed into a flavour. This might turn a lot of conventional thinking on its head as we are led to believe, or think, that vanilla surely has the same taste to man as it might have to an animal. Once you start reading about this subject and thinking about it, the potential seems almost limitless. Society generally accepts that dogs have a great sense of smell and it appears to be more acute than humans. There are reasons for that. Yet how many people really know that there are many structural, physiological differences. Both noses smell things. Both brains process things, yet the processing "algorithm", for want of a better word, is different. There must be reasons for this.Read more ›
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
Got this as a gift for my Dad to help explain my work -- he says that it's an excellent book and you should get it!
Some parts are boring for non-scientists.
great book, used by my college aged nephew who is studying food science. Good intro into the subject, help him decide on a few possible thesis topics.Published 16 months ago by friggy1249
Yale School of Medicine professor of neurobiology professor Gordon M. Shepard has written an interesting celebration of our sense of smell, how it works and its social and cultural... Read morePublished 21 months ago by P. Mulloy
Very scientific. Very thorough. Might be a bit too nerdy for most people. Definitely written for the neuroscience freak who likes food. Read morePublished 23 months ago by AntDina
This well researched volume is jam-packed with fascinating info on how our minds think as we respond to what we eat. engrossing.Published on January 23, 2014 by All Dolled Up Kits
Detailed discussion and background science behind the taste and smell senses, how they relate to cooking food which are thought to taste good, and why perhaps the food industry has... Read morePublished on November 2, 2013 by James C. Gedney
He has a great range of interests and contacts, a very diverse and impressive book. Will be a classic one.Published on October 18, 2013 by Michael L. Harney
This has been a slow read for me. I search for textbook-style resources. This is exactly that. I have to find the time to dedicate to diggin in the information. Read morePublished on July 10, 2013 by Professor Diabolicus