Neurogastronomy: How the Brain Creates Flavor and Why It Matters

Neurogastronomy How the Brain Creates Flavor and Why It Matters Leading neuroscientist Gordon M Shepherd embarks on a paradigm shifting trip through the human brain flavor system laying the foundations for a new scientific field neurogastronomy Challenging the be

  • Title: Neurogastronomy: How the Brain Creates Flavor and Why It Matters
  • Author: Gordon M. Shepherd
  • ISBN: 9780231159104
  • Page: 359
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Leading neuroscientist Gordon M Shepherd embarks on a paradigm shifting trip through the human brain flavor system, laying the foundations for a new scientific field neurogastronomy Challenging the belief that the sense of smell diminished during human evolution, Shepherd argues that this sense, which constitutes the main component of flavor, is far powerful andLeading neuroscientist Gordon M Shepherd embarks on a paradigm shifting trip through the human brain flavor system, laying the foundations for a new scientific field neurogastronomy Challenging the belief that the sense of smell diminished during human evolution, Shepherd argues that this sense, which constitutes the main component of flavor, is far powerful and essential than previously believed.Shepherd begins Neurogastronomy with the mechanics of smell, particularly the way it stimulates the nose from the back of the mouth As we eat, the brain conceptualizes smells as spatial patterns, and from these and the other senses it constructs the perception of flavor Shepherd then considers the impact of the flavor system on contemporary social, behavioral, and medical issues He analyzes flavor s engagement with the brain regions that control emotion, food preferences, and cravings, and he even devotes a section to food s role in drug addiction and, building on Marcel Proust s iconic tale of the madeleine, its ability to evoke deep memories.Shepherd connects his research to trends in nutrition, dieting, and obesity, especially the challenges that many face in eating healthily He concludes with human perceptions of smell and flavor and their relationship to the neural basis of consciousness Everyone from casual diners and ardent foodies to wine critics, chefs, scholars, and researchers will delight in Shepherd s fascinating, scientific gastronomic adventures.

    One thought on “Neurogastronomy: How the Brain Creates Flavor and Why It Matters”

    1. Once I sat down to read this book, I couldn't stop. Read it in 3 days. Loved it. But I do not recommend this book for someone who has not had college level studies in neuroscience, unless they are willing to gloss over some discussions on very technical sections in brain science. Having a chemistry and sensory and perceptual psychology background will also help make the reading experience very rich and insightful. The book is not for someone who reads pop science as a source for understanding br [...]

    2. The title suggests an exploration of food preparation and taste. Some might associate it with the so-called “molecular gastronomy” popularized by chef Ferran Adrià. Might elements of connoisseurship be included? Obviously, such an exploration must include the workings of the brain. Hence, the neologism: Neurogastronomy. However, such assumptions would be misleading. Shepherd is a neuroscientist committed to explaining science to the layperson. He distinguishes the sensation of taste (the fa [...]

    3. I learned a lot from this book, but be warned - pleasurable reading it does not make. So you don't have to, my main insights:What we call ‘flavor’ is the combined qualia from smell and taste, and smell is far more influential for our perception of flavor than is taste; you probably know this from holding your nose while swallowing cough syrup. Taste, as a sense in itself, is quite limited. It can only detect salts, acids, sugars, bitters, and umami (glutamates). Only when combined with the o [...]

    4. What are flavours, how are they created, how do they impact us and does it matter? These are the key questions addressed by neuroscientist Gordon M. Shepherd in this quite unusual, interesting book.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 degre [...]

    5. In places a fascinating book about how the brain creates flavour, following the pathway from molecules entering the nose and hitting smell receptors there, all the way up to the highest levels of brain function.The major weakness of this book, at least as far as I'm concerned, is that although at times the author writes as if this were a popular science book, taking the time to explain concepts to the lay reader, at various key stages, he falls back on explanations that require a background in n [...]

    6. I have never been more disappointed with a book. As a neuroscientist whose domestic partner is a chef, just like the author, I had high expectations. However, this book suffered from a couple glaring issues. First, the author never figured out what audience he was writing for. While the technical descriptions of the brain were best suited for other neuroscientists, there wasn't enough new or revelatory information to engage that audience. Second, the author committed all the classic errors of re [...]

    7. This book reminded me how hard it is to write a popular science book. I have a Biology degree and I'm pretty used to read biology literature and I find this book boring every now and then. It might be completely inaccessible in parts to people who are not familiar with biology/physiology jargon. Another fault of the book is to try to cover too much ground, so it feels like it jumps from place to place with no clear direction.On the other hand, it is full of wonderful trivia and personally I lear [...]

    8. I’m glad I gave this book a try because it relates to topics that interest me. This is a science book, and a large portion of that science is over my head. (I do not have any background in chemistry or biochemistry.) The writing is lucid and readable, but I ultimately skimmed most of the book to ferret out the bigger takeaways because I wasn't going to quite follow the details or get much useful from them. Unless you want the nuts and bolts, you might be better served reading the review from t [...]

    9. I enjoyed this book at the beginning, but it definitely is not for the casual reader (which I was). I also found that Mr. Shepherd tended to repeat himself a lot. He even noted this himself. The constant repetitions about taste and flavor kind of drove me a little crazy fairly quickly.The book is technical. Not enough to make you an expertise, but if you do not have some familiarity with neurology going in you can quickly get lost and confused. If you can get past the jargon than this book has s [...]

    10. A very interesting book, specialy for who is interested in human brain and better in smell and taste.It starts with the history of the smells and then how the create the flavor mixed with the tongue.Not everything is clear about human smell, but this interesting book is a step forward on the roadTHANKS TO NETGALLEY FOR THE PREVIEW

    11. È opinione comune che il senso dell'olfatto sia inferiore a quello degli altri esseri viventi, nonché inferiore agli altri sensi che utilizziamo. Questa è un'affermazione che si sente dire spesso, magari nel mondo del vino dove i riconoscimenti olfattivi soprattutto fra gli inesperti sono una bella barriera all’entrata. Non è neppure una scoperta recente, se di scoperta si può parlare, visto che è stato Aristotele il primo a fare quest’affermazione. Da allora ce la portiamo dietro. L [...]

    12. This is my favorite kind of non-fiction: Dense, well-researched, and contains the explanation of a system as a whole (through its constituent parts).In short, it's about our brain's perception of flavor on a neural, emotional, and social level. The effect of scent upon flavor is of utmost importance, especially retronasal smell (i.e. exhaling with food in your mouth creates much of our sensation of flavor as opposed to the inhalation of a food that's in front of you). Scent is then explained thr [...]

    13. Interesting things about margarine:"Butanedione is added to margarine to give it its buttery flavor. Linoleic acid (C18H32O2) is the main fatty acid in many vegetable oils, such as cottonseed, corn, soybean, and rapeseed oil. It is also used in margarine, shortening, and salad and cooking oils. It has little smell by itself. It is hydrogenated (by bubbling hydrogen through the linoleic oil) to prevent the fat from being oxidized; that is why margarine does not get rancid. However, the hydrogenat [...]

    14. Although the latter parts of the book can get rather dense with the accumulated knowledge, this book provided a new appreciation on the importance of scent, texture and other secondary characteristics towards the creation of flavor qualia in the brain, and gives excellent empirical references to back up each implication. While not especially oriented towards the preparation of food, anyone into the science of food, or neuroscience in general, will find a lot of interesting tidbits throughout.

    15. The first sections of this book explore the science behind flavor, revealing how "tasting" is really a multisensory experience, the study of which Shepherd has dedicated his career. I found the final section the most interesting, especially where he considers the applications for this science in the world of public health policy.

    16. The genes that control our ability to smell and taste make up 2-5% of our total genome, more than any other single function. No wonder it's such an engaging experience!This book is very heavy on the neuroscience, but then again, so is the current scientific frontier of the science of taste and smell. The chapters are bite-sized, so it makes for a pleasant and engaging read.

    17. More 3.5.The subject matter is incredibly interesting, and it's a field that really should be studied more, but the structure of the book was poorly organized, with digressions that needn't be made and other aspects left too vague. It should have been much shorter, or much longer, depending on who the target audience is.

    18. A large part of 'taste' is retronasal smell - the sense of smell which comes from breathing out through your nose when eating. That's pretty much the only point this book makes. Not quite satisfying as popular science, nor sufficiently informative to be a textbook. I skimmed a lot and ultimately gave up.

    19. A book written in a way that is clear, but likely above the lay-person's read. Really fascinating book, and the author does an excellent job of arguing his main thesis about why this subject matters.

    20. Gave up on this one. Thought it would be fun science, but it was strangely condescending while at the same time being too abstruse for non-scientists to read.

    21. This book felt like being in a cell biology class or reading scientific papers. Not very approachable and way too much jargon.

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