neuroscientist Gordon M. Shepherd embarks on a paradigm-shifting trip
through the “human brain flavor system,” laying the
foundations for a new scientific field: neurogastronomy. Challenging
the belief that the sense of smell diminished during human evolution,
Shepherd argues that this sense, which constitutes the main component
of flavor, is far more powerful and essential than previously believed.
with the mechanics of smell, particularly the way it stimulates the
nose from the back of the mouth. As we eat, the brain conceptualizes
smells as spatial patterns, and from these and the other senses it
constructs the perception of flavor.
Shepherd then considers the impact of the flavor system on contemporary
social, behavioral, and medical issues. He analyzes flavor’s
engagement with the brain regions that control emotion, food
preferences, and cravings, and he even devotes a section to food's role
in drug addiction and, building on Marcel Proust’s iconic tale of
the madeleine, its ability to evoke deep memories.
Shepherd connects his research to trends in nutrition, dieting, and
obesity, especially the challenges that many face in eating healthily.
He concludes with human perceptions of smell and flavor and their
relationship to the neural basis of consciousness. Everyone from casual
diners and ardent foodies to wine critics, chefs, scholars, and
researchers will delight in Shepherd’s fascinating,
How the Brain Creates Flavor and Why It Matters
by Gordon M. Shepherd