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Why is chocolate melting on the tongue such a decadent sensation? Why do we love crunching on bacon? Why is fizz-less soda such a disappointment to drink, and why is flat beer so unappealing to the palate? Our sense of taste produces physical and emotional reactions that cannot be explained by chemical components alone. Eating triggers our imagination, draws on our powers of recall, and activates our critical judgment, creating a unique impression in our mouths and our minds. How exactly does this alchemy work, and what are the larger cultural and environmental implications?
Collaborating in the laboratory and the kitchen, Ole G. Mouritsen and Klavs Styrbæk investigate the multiple ways in which food texture influences taste. Combining scientific analysis with creative intuition and a sophisticated knowledge of food preparation, they write a one-of-a-kind book for food lovers and food science scholars. By mapping the mechanics of mouthfeel, Mouritsen and Styrbæk advance a greater awareness of its link to our culinary preferences. Gaining insight into the textural properties of raw vegetables, puffed rice, bouillon, or ice cream can help us make healthier and more sustainable food choices. Through mouthfeel, we can recreate the physical feelings of foods we love with other ingredients or learn to latch onto smarter food options. Mastering texture also leads to more adventurous gastronomic experiments in the kitchen, allowing us to reach even greater heights of taste sensation.
Ole G. Mouritsen is a distinguished scientist and professor of biophysics at the University of Southern Denmark. He serves as director of the Danish Center for Taste (Taste for Life) and the Center for Biomembrane Physics (MEMPHYS) and is president of the Danish Gastronomical Academy. His books include Umami: Unlocking the Secrets of the Fifth Taste (Columbia, 2015), Seaweeds: Edible, Available, and Sustainable (2013), and Sushi: Food for the Eye, the Body, and the Soul (2009).
Klavs Styrbæk is an award-winning chef who, with his wife, runs the gastronomical innovation project STYRBAeKS, incorporating an experimental restaurant and a chefs' school. With Ole G. Mouritsen, he is the author of Umami: Unlocking the Secrets of the Fifth Taste (Columbia, 2015).
"Adding to their groundbreaking books on the wonders of seaweed and the mysteries of umami, Ole Mouritsen and Klavs Styrbæk provide the first in-depth exploration of mouthfeel: the amazing variety of ways that the physical properties of food enrich our sense of taste. Far beyond just hot or cold and rough or smooth, mouthfeel encompasses dozens of properties – from crisp to creamy, peppery to chalky, hard to chewy, sticky to silky – the list goes on. As much as taste and aroma, these properties of mouthfeel are vital to the qualities we prize in the food we eat. Written with the authoritative insights of a leading scientist, and illustrated by stunning photographs of food prepared by a master chef, Mouthfeel is an exciting tour de force."
– Gordon M. Shepherd, author of Neurogastronomy and Neuroenology
"Mouthfeel is a hugely important, if little studied area of flavor perception, yet the texture of food is a crucial determinant of what we like to eat. In this timely volume biophysicist, Ole Mouritsen, and chef, Klavs Styrbæk, provide a great introduction to the confusing science of the senses as applied to tasting and flavor. They also provide a number of carefully considered recipes and experiments to try at home that illustrate the key points they raise. Mouthfeel convincingly shows readers just what they have been missing by not paying more attention to the feeling of food and drink in the mouth."
– Charles Spence, coauthor of The Perfect Meal: The Multisensory Science of Food and Dining
"Mouthfeel is an intriguing exploration of that vital yet often overlooked aspect of the eating experience, and a practical guide to ingredient textures and the cooking methods that modify them."
– Harold McGee, author of On Food and Cooking: The Science and the Lore of the Kitchen
"A dazzling tour-de-force through the fascinating science of a little appreciated but immensely important aspect of the human gustatory experience. Mouritsen and Styrbæk have left no stone unturned in their quest to illuminate and turn our daily experience of eating into a riveting journey through human history. Mouthfeel is sure to become a classic and much beloved resource on this subject."
– Sharon Moalem, author of Inheritance: How Our Genes Change Our Lives and Our Lives Change Our Genes
"Serious foodies unintimidated by scientific vocabulary will relish the authors' intriguing discoveries."
"Nimbly explore[s] the interplay of food textures and the mouth's somatosensory system."
"The book is lively, interesting, and clear in explaining the various concepts behind mouthfeel. Highly recommended."
"A beautifully executed text packed full of relatively accessible food science, stunning full-color photographs and thought-provoking recipes."
– Emily Contois Blog