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.
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)
This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)