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Neurogastronomy: How the Brain Creates Flavor and Why It Matters by [Shepherd, Gordon M.]
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Neurogastronomy: How the Brain Creates Flavor and Why It Matters Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Length: 286 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Review

Neurogastronomy is a personal yet magisterial account of the new brain-based approach to flavor perception. Gordon M. Shepherd's panoramic view of science, culture, and behavior is that of a true pioneer of the chemical senses. -- Avery Gilbert, Author of What the Nose Knows: The Science of Scent in Everyday Life Cooking? It is first love, then art, then technique. Chefs and food lovers alike can benefit from a better appreciation of the phenomena at play throughout the culinary process, from the field to the fork and beyond. This is why flavor is so important, and why Gordon M. Shepherd's well-named Neurogastronomy is such a welcome addition to the literature. -- Herv This, author of Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor Those who make the effort will be rewarded: they'll never look at eating the same way again. Library Journal Shepherd makes an excellent case for neurogastronomy as an important cross-disciplinary field that is likely to motivate a variety of imperatives for our health and well-being. -- Chris Loss Nature Although written for lay readers, this excellent summary of everything people currently know about flavor perception must be considered the latest and most valuable review of research on the chemical senses. Choice Stimulating and informing. -- Israel Rosenfeld and Edward B. Ziff New York Review of Books A work that has the potential for breaking new ground and developing a whole new direction of study. Yum.fi

About the Author

Gordon M. Shepherd is professor of neurobiology at the Yale School of Medicine and former editor in chief of the Journal of Neuroscience. He has made fundamental contributions to the study of brain microcircuits, as summarized in his highly regarded edited reference work The Synaptic Organization of the Brain. His current research focuses on olfaction at the level of microcircuits and how they construct the spatial patterns of smell, which are essential to the perception of flavor.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1026 KB
  • Print Length: 286 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0231159102
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; Reprint edition (20 Dec. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006BAJBUS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #184,311 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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By Autamme_dot_com TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 18 Dec. 2012
Format: Hardcover
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 degree to enjoy this book but, of course, should you be using it in the course of study you will equally find it of value.

Within this book the author seeks to create a new scientific field of study and understanding - neurogastronomy - and debunk the belief that the sense of smell diminished during human evolution. Taking an opposing view, Shepherd claims that our sense of flavour is inherently stronger than previously imagined. The basics of smell are covered from its interaction in the body as well as the "physical mechanics" of how a smell is transformed or processed into a flavour. This might turn a lot of conventional thinking on its head as we are led to believe, or think, that vanilla surely has the same taste to man as it might have to an animal. Once you start reading about this subject and thinking about it, the potential seems almost limitless. Society generally accepts that dogs have a great sense of smell and it appears to be more acute than humans. There are reasons for that. Yet how many people really know that there are many structural, physiological differences. Both noses smell things. Both brains process things, yet the processing "algorithm", for want of a better word, is different. There must be reasons for this.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My interest in this subject comes from a culinary rather than scientific background. While not a science duffer, I'm definately no boff either. Bareing this in mind, the subject matter did fascinate and illuminate some understanding, but some chapters that delved deeper into the science and the nomenclature of science, I did struggle with, making for a halting read.

So while would reccomend, would add the proviso, it reads slightly heavier than most "popular science" writing. Not unpenertratable, but requiring some work.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Present for my husband who has read it cover to cover in just over a week definately worth the wait!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
product as described, very nice package, quick delivery. Thanks!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x95c46cb4) out of 5 stars 19 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95311a20) out of 5 stars Inflated Title and Poorly Written 29 Jan. 2014
By Nathan White - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
After the decent introduction this book plummets into the black hole of bad science writing. Nothing can save it because Shepherd doesn't really have anything new or cohesive to say about psychology and flavor. Lots of big names are tossed around (McGee, Beauchamp, Wrangham, Sclafani, etc.), but this just makes him and his research feel shallow. A quick look at the puny bibliography shows how little effort Shepherd put into the book.
Strangely, reviewers haven't commented on the bad writing, but they have said the book is "a dense read." This didn't turn me off from the book because I don't mind dense reads if the material is necessarily dense. But this book is needlessly dense. Here's a quick example of a sentence:

"Just as the muscles of the nostril manipulate the inhalation of air, so are they coordinated to direct the air streams into the snout." (23)

What? Why is this written as a parallel sentence? Instead of nostril muscles "manipulating the inhalation of air," can they just breathe in or sniff instead? Are they "coordinated to direct the air streams," or do they just direct the air streams? The book is made up of these sentences, and together with the name dropping, the result is a rambling 200-page lecture given by a pretentious Yale professor. Even more pretentious than Herve This, because although both authors baptize a new field, at least This was French and poorly translated.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95311a74) out of 5 stars Thought-provoking 18 Dec. 2012
By Autamme_dot_com - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
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 degree to enjoy this book but, of course, should you be using it in the course of study you will equally find it of value.

Within this book the author seeks to create a new scientific field of study and understanding - neurogastronomy - and debunk the belief that the sense of smell diminished during human evolution. Taking an opposing view, Shepherd claims that our sense of flavour is inherently stronger than previously imagined. The basics of smell are covered from its interaction in the body as well as the "physical mechanics" of how a smell is transformed or processed into a flavour. This might turn a lot of conventional thinking on its head as we are led to believe, or think, that vanilla surely has the same taste to man as it might have to an animal. Once you start reading about this subject and thinking about it, the potential seems almost limitless. Society generally accepts that dogs have a great sense of smell and it appears to be more acute than humans. There are reasons for that. Yet how many people really know that there are many structural, physiological differences. Both noses smell things. Both brains process things, yet the processing "algorithm", for want of a better word, is different. There must be reasons for this.

The concepts raised by the author can also explain how flavouring intensity can vary tremendously between people. One could further postulate that different cultures and influences can change the nature and form of the smell/flavour interface.

Essentially the book is split into four major parts: noses and smells, making pictures of smells, creating flavour and why it (the overall theme of the book) matters. Within this each small chapter builds upon the knowledge learned and expressed so you can get a quite good, general understanding of this potentially very complex, developed theme. Each chapter is, in itself, quite short and to the point, which probably is an attraction and oddity in its own right (within academic works). There is a lot to say for this style of modular, nugget-sized learning, particularly when the material itself has not been watered down.

It is certainly a thought-provoking read, even if for many it is unlikely to be of practical, actionable interest for the average reader. But need that be a bad thing? Sometimes it is great to just get knowledge for knowledge's sake. With this book you get that in spades and get to read a work that has the potential for breaking new ground and developing a whole new direction of study.

This reviewer cautiously suggests that you need not have a specific scientific or culinary background to enjoy this book. Even as a 'general reader' it has a lot to offer, even if some of the more detailed material is skipped over. On a scientific level, no comment is possibly, but it certainly appears to provide a conclusive argument. The end of the book is rounded off with the usual extensive notes, bibliography and index that need no further explanation.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x956e2960) out of 5 stars Should be entitled, "Neurological Reactions of Olfaction During Gestation." 17 Oct. 2013
By James - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thought this book would have applicable advice, technique and method. This is really a book on olfaction and the neurological reaction to different stimuli. After reading this book if feel I have only learned vocabulary. Although it is drawn out over 27 chapters, this book doesn't cover much that is not rudimentarily understood by watching a toddler plug there nose while eating brussel sprouts. The author is constantly referencing other chapters of this book when a simple one or two line explanation would suffice. He is also not shy on shamelessly mentioning even the smallest role in other scientists studies. Personally, I feel this book could have been a quarter the length and maintained the same amount of pertinent information.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x956e52c4) out of 5 stars Excellent summary of current knowledge - but dense read 25 Mar. 2013
By Robert E. Connoley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a molecular gastronomy geared chef and read this book to get new insights into ways to manipulate my diners' experiences. I was not disappointed. Shepherd does an excellent job of walking you through each step and train of thought that ultimately gets us to flavor, and yes, it is repetitive as Shepherd writes as I can only assume he teaches classes (start off with a summary, give new material, end with summary), but that repetition was useful for me as a practitioner trying to chew my way through very dense matter. Even some of the most basic knowledge has changed the way I now cook - for example, I questioned the role of oil based flavors v. water based flavors in extending flavor in my customers as they exhale after each bite.

It is not a light read, and certainly not a read for someone with just a passing interest, but for people who want a deep understanding of the interaction between brain, body and food, this certainly will satiate your thirst for the subject.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x953514bc) out of 5 stars Ineffable beauty 15 Sept. 2013
By W. Cheung - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This short but encompassing book is truly fascinating. Essentially it describes how the brain creates the experience of flavor. The olfactory system, which is the key, is described in full, including quite of bit on signal transduction and sensory coding. The binding problem is then discussed in the context of how other modalities, e.g. taste, touch, and sight, influence the formation of flavor. The importance of emotions, the origin of addiction, and the nature of consciousness are all very well discussed. Included also is a brief description of how flavors in food are relevant in the epidemic of obesity.
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