Whether it’s a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup, maple-cured bacon sizzling hot from the pan, or a salted caramel coated in dark chocolate, you know when food tastes good to you. But you may not know the amazing story behind why you love some foods and can’t tolerate others. Now, in Taste What You’re Missing, the first book that demystifies the science of taste, you’ll learn how your individual biology, genetics, and brain create a personal experience of everything you taste—and how you can make the most of it.
A seasoned food developer to whom food companies turn for help in creating delicious new products, Barb Stuckey reveals that much of what we think we know about how taste works is wrong. And the truth is much more fascinating—for instance, your tongue is not divided into quadrants for sweet, sour, salt, and bitter and only a fraction of what you taste happens in your mouth. As Stuckey explains how our five senses work together to form “flavor perceptions,” she tells intriguing stories about people who have lost the sense of smell or taste and the unexpected ways their experience of food changes as a result. You’ll learn why kids (and some adults) turn up their noses at Brussels sprouts and broccoli, how salt makes grapefruit sweet, and why you drink your coffee black while your spouse loads it with cream and sugar.
Stuckey also provides eye-opening experiments in which you can discover your unique “taster type” and learn why you react instinctively to certain foods, in particular why your response to bitterness is unique. You’ll find ways to improve your ability to discern flavors, detect ingredients, and devise taste combinations in your own kitchen for delectable results.
Taste What You’re Missing gives curious eaters, Food Network watchers, kitchen tinkerers, and armchair Top Chefs the understanding and language to impress friends and families with insider knowledge about everything edible. What Harold McGee did for the science of cooking Barb Stuckey does for the science of taste in Taste What You’re Missing, a calorie-free way to get more pleasure from every bite.
Stuckey's mouthwatering exploration of the science of taste addresses a wide assortment of topics, from the five tastes that humans can detect using their mouths (sweet, salt, sour, bitter, umami), to the ways that "Taste Affects Your Waist." Drawing on her experience as a professional food developer, Stuckey tantalizes readers with details about the intricacies of taste, observing, for example, that the anatomy of our tongues, medical history, and genes account for the differences in individual abilities to taste. She also suggests experiments and recipes that encourage the development and exploration of the art of taste, such as listening to The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" while drinking chardonnay, and a "Sensory Evaluation of Milk Chocolate Bars." She concludes by proposing "Fifteen Ways to Get More from Every Bite," including chewing well, tasting at the right temperature, quitting smoking, and, of course, being adventurous. Going far beyond Brillat-Savarin's famous 19th-century book on the subject, The Physiology of Taste, Stuckey not only connects readers with the sensory complexity of sundry fare, but also instructs them in the art of understanding and appreciating a multisensory approach to food in order to make more informed gustatory choices.