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TASTE WHAT YOU'RE MISSING by Barb Stuckey

TASTE WHAT YOU'RE MISSING

The Passionate Eater's Guide to Why Good Food Tastes Good

By Barb Stuckey

Pub Date: March 13th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4391-9073-9
Publisher: Free Press

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.