Friday, April 20, 2012

Nature Book List Addition: The Nature Principle

For many of us, thinking about the future conjures up images of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road: a post-apocalyptic dystopia stripped of nature. Richard Louv, author of the landmark bestseller Last Child in the Woods, urges us to change our vision of the future, suggesting that if we re-conceive environmentalism and sustainability, they will evolve into a larger movement that will touch every part of society.

Supported by groundbreaking research, anecdotal evidence, and compelling personal stories, Louv offers renewed optimism while challenging us to rethink the way we live.

Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age
by Richard Louv
Algonquin Books, 2012
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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Neurogastronomy: How the Brain Creates Flavor and Why It Matters

Why do we like or even crave certain foods and avoid others?

Named and defined by the author, a Yale neurobiologist studying how the brain creates images of smells, "neurogastronomy" is a new science of eating that focuses on food favors.

Drawing on brain studies and food studies, this book explains the new field of investigation and how it holds "the promise of putting healthy eating on a new scientific basis."

A key premise of this book is that "humans have a much more highly developed sense of flavor because of the complex processing that occurs in the large human brain." Gordon Shepherd dismisses the idea that foods hold flavor as a common misconception and asserts that while foods contain molecules, the flavor of those molecules is actually created in our brains.

How the Brain Creates Flavor and Why It Matters
by Gordon M. Shepherd
Columbia University Press, 2011

Continued in The Book Stall

Friday, April 6, 2012

Review: The Kitchen As Laboratory

Let's call it "quantum cooking" - the application of physics and molecular bioscience and industrial technologies to the preparation of common meals and and familiar dishes with greater control and awareness of the processes involved.

This is a culinary anthology of 33 essays by more than 50 contributing scientists engaged in the study of food presenting their findings with practical applications for the kitchen.

"Industrial techniques such as freeze drying, centrifugation, inductive heating, and vacuum packaging, and 'new' ingredients such as native and modified starches, alginates, xanthan and gellan gums, carrageenans, and 'meat glues' are now frequently applied in the restaurant kitchen," the editors point out in their introduction.

"Their use, however, is often with only a superficial understanding of how they work," the editors point out in an introduction. We cannot truly control what we do not understand. Science helps us gain this control with answers to questions."

Continued in ... The Book Stall

by Cesar Vega, Job Ubbink and Erik van van der Linden
Columbia University Press, 2012