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Taste What You're Missing : The Passionate Eater's Guide to Why Good Food Tastes Good

By Barb Stuckey

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Product Description

"Foodies rejoice! Malcolm Gladwell's favorite food inventor offers a guide to the senses with advice on how to develop your palate and better enjoy the pleasures of eating. Featured by Malcolm Gladwell in a New Yorker magazine article about the quest to develop the perfect cookie, Barb Stuckey is the food developer that famed foodies--such as Michael Pollan--turn to when they need to understand the pyschology and physiology of taste. In Taste What You're Missing, Stuckey shares her professional knowledgein an engaging style that's one part Mary Roach, two parts Oliver Sacks, and a dash of Anthony Bourdain for spice.Taste What You're Missing serves up stories: seared, sauced, and garnished with humor and insight into our complicated experiences with food. First explaining the building blocks of taste perception on a physical level, Stuckey walks readers through the five basic tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, salt, and umami. She explains the critical importance of smell and how the other senses--touch, hearing, and sight--come into play when we enthusiastically dive into a plate of food. She provides eye-opening and delicious anecdotes and exercises that readers can perform to learn, for example, their unique "taster type," or the subtle differences between sour, bitter, tannic, and astringent. Armed with this new knowledge, readers can improve their ability to discern flavors, detect ingredients, and devise new taste combinations in their own kitchens. Keeping in mind that the only thing foodies like betterthan eating food is talking about food, Taste What You're Missing gives such curious eaters, Food Network watchers, kitchen tinkerers, and armchair Top Chefs understanding and language that will impress their friends and families with insider knowledge about everything they eat"--

Editorial Reviews

A thorough investigation of the sensation of taste. As a professional food developer, Stuckey has to understand the how and why of taste in order to create new palate-pleasing food products. Here she leads readers into the science of what happens to food once it reaches our mouths, with taste being "only about twenty percent of the story. Food that tastes good also looks good, smells good, feels good, and sounds good." Using examples from her experiences at home, in restaurants and at work, Stuckey analyzes the "five building blocks of taste, "four [of which] are familiar to most people: sweet, sour, salty, and bitter" The fifth, umami, refers to the perception of a savory or meaty taste that makes soups and broths full-bodied. Complex evaluations give readers a precise breakdown of each of these five types and how one sensation directly affects the other. Stuckey provides technical but readable discussions of such topics as orthonasal olfaction (nose-smelling taste) versus retronasal olfaction (mouth-smelling taste). To aid in understanding this specialized information, the author supplies readers with many flavor-related exercises designed to increase responsiveness to various foods. These include a simple test to determine the number of taste buds on one's tongue, eating blindfolded or eating with cotton balls stuffed into the nose to block the sensation of smell. Seeking to launch a "culture of taste appreciation," Stuckey writes that taste is "using all five of our senses to find the hidden joy in food and take the full pleasure out of every bite." A helpful, systematic approach to developing a discriminating palate. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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