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Season to Taste: How I Lost My Sense of Smell and Found My Way Paperback – 4 Aug 2011

4.0 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Portobello Books Ltd (4 Aug. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846273838
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846273834
  • Product Dimensions: 14.8 x 2.1 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,020,504 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

`A rich resonant book, bubbling with curiosity and humour and intense with a life of the senses' --The Times

'A true and poignant story that will make you inhale deeply and savour whatever you smell' --Time Out

'A deliciously sweet and funny account of experiencing pain and overcoming it' --Jewish Chronicle

'An emotional impassioned appeal for a wider appreciation of the sense of smell's importance to our wellbeing' --Herald

`When it comes to doing her groundwork, Birnbaum is unbeatable'
--Daily Telegraph

From the Back Cover

When a head injury obliterated twenty-two-year-old Molly Birnbaum s sense of smell, it destroyed her dream of becoming a chef. Determined to reawaken her nose, she bravely sets off on a quest to rediscover the scented world. On the way, she seeks out everyone from former poet laureate Robert Pinsky to neuroscientist Oliver Sacks. A moving personal story packed with surprising facts about the senses, Season to Taste brims with the scents of Molly s world cinnamon, cedarwood, fresh bagels, and lavender lost and finally found. In Season to Taste, Molly describes an ineffable, but indispensable, layer of life." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Believe it or not, it was quite some time before I even realised I was losing my sense of smell. As another reviewer points out here, most people, if they had to lose a sense, would probably opt for that of smell. Fair enough, but it's a bit of a double whammy for at the same time you lose most of your sense of taste. Cooking and eating become much less of a pleasure, more things you just do ...

It's frightening, too. I mentioned to friends that I was losing it, and to a man, they helpfully observed, 'That'll be a brain tumour, then'. You can imagine the state I was in by the time I finally dragged myself to the doctor. Oddly enough, he never seemed to think it was a brain tumour. Anyway the ability to smell finally disappeared, and you learn to live with it. This will get me into trouble, but I do regard it as a kind of disability. Matters of personal hygiene, gas leaks, loads of other stuff are suddenly uncheckable; you are closed off completely from a stunningly subtle and gratifying input of information and, mostly, pleasure.

So this book. Grand, it will fill you in on the beautiful world of smell, and I came away from it aching, positively aching to have my sense of smell back. But it's not a self help manual. The author got lucky. The rest of us won't. I didn't finish it actually, don't begrudge the author her happy ending at all, but maybe this book is best read by those who still have a sense of smell. Make the most of it, you lucky so and sos ...
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As someone born as a congenital asnomic I have always felt somehow `apart' from everyday life. Being born without, means I don't miss smells, but I have no concept of any scent at all (nope, not even fresh coffee, bacon or baked bread,). I can taste basic sweet, sour, salty and bitter (umami?), but none of the nuances of herbs & spices, so when cooking I have to follow a recipe to the letter to get an end result that my (full five sense) partner can enjoy.

I never really explored this minor condition as it's caused me little trouble (after all, I'd rather keep my sight, touch, hearing, instead of a sense of smell), so this book gave me so much information about the different forms of anosmia and the human biology behind it all. She goes into depth of the science of scent and smells and interviews both experts and ordinary people while keeping it written in a light and flowing style, including the interaction of her personal life with this disability. I've learnt more about my condition from this book than any of my off-and-on research over the years. Full five star book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fantastic really inspiring book - written by an aspiring chef who lost her sense of smell (and taste) following an accident - this happened to me too and having read Molly's book I am now trying to retrain my nose and sense of smell to recover - no help from medical profession but the author of this book did it and I am now just starting to pick up scents through intensive smell training. I would recommend to anybody with Anosmia. Well done

Good value for money as always
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I can't begin to adequately express how much I enjoyed this book.

As the publicity info indicated, Molly Birnbaum, clearly a highly talented chef-in-the-making, lost her sense of smell and taste as a result of a traffic accident, shortly before she was due to start training at a prestigious Culinary School. This book charts her personal story around the loss of 2 lesser-valued senses, smell and taste, and also contains a more scientific journey into olfaction.

Like Birnbaum, I am someone who had a profound awareness of living in a world full of aroma, a good smell memory, a strong realisation of the fact that the world is full of aromatic messages, and smelled my way around my world with as much pleasure as hearing it and seeing it. Like Birnbaum, I have experienced anosmia. And the loss of the particular pleasure olfaction brings is something I mourn. I've been fortunate not to lose my sense of taste, but from time to time I am anosmic, hyponosmic and, gloriously, sometimes fully scenting - without fully knowing, or being able to predict, why I move through these states rather than having a steady sense of smell

So, I know that part of my extreme pleasure in this book is because it feels personal and pertinent - but even if I were not intermittently anosmic, I would have adored this book. Birnbaum (who after having to give up her culinary dreams, trained as a journalist) is a beautiful and evocative writer, particularly about olfactory and gustatory experiences, painting her way through smells and tastes with her choice of words. I found I could smell the smells she was describing, and taste the tastes, through her ability to engage my imagination fully.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Thoroughly enjoyed Molly Birnbaum's "Season to Taste" mainly because it's so beautifully descriptive and has such a sense of warmth, even through the tragedy. So many themes and memories run through this book it's impossible to become bored and, even though Birnbaum introduces you to everything from an apple crisp to her earlier teaching experiences in Africa, you never get lost in the story. Birnbaum guides you through with a sense of smooth anticipation that I can only liken to the different courses on a particularly fine menu. If you're on a diet you may not appreciate the sublime descriptions of food, particularly the overload of butter and sugar, and I found myself with a coffee and cookie far too often while reading. However; this book isn't all about smiles, overindulgence and self gratification it's a testament to the human spirit and it's about overcoming the most brutal of accidents and finding the strength to rediscover yourself, and that takes courage which I'm happy to say Ms Birnbaum seems to possess in spades. Molly Birnbaum has created an unusual, highly personal and utterly charming book here that's a joy to read and is over much too soon. Not just for serious foodies, anyone who enjoys a well written, modern, clean and thoroughly captivating story of personal triumph will love this, I did.
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