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Publisher's Summary

Can you describe how the flavor of halibut differs from red snapper? How Brie differs from cheddar? For most of us, unfortunately, the answer is: badly. Flavor remains a vague, undeveloped concept we don't know enough about to describe - or to appreciate - fully.

In Flavor, Bob Holmes shows us just how much we're missing. He tackles questions like why cake tastes sweetest on white plates, how wine experts' eyes fool their noses, and how language affects flavor. He peers over the shoulders of fascinating food professionals engineering the perfect snack, chefs seeking surprising new flavor combinations, and even mathematicians pursuing the perfect pizza topping. He reveals how we can all sharpen our senses using professional techniques to name and describe flavors articulately. Whether you're someone who likes to cook creatively, delve into cutting-edge science, explore nutrition trends, or just eat, Flavor will open your mind and palate to a vast and exciting sensory world.

©2017 Bob Holmes (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"[A] mouthwatering work.... As Holmes runs through terrific experiments and describes strange technologies, he makes food science fun and approachable." ( Publishers Weekly)
"Narrator Jonathan Yen brings an expressive reading to a scientific subject that remains an elusive concept...Yen's enthusiasm helps to keep the information fresh...listeners are sure to learn some fascinating facts and pick up some tips for how to enhance flavors in their everyday lives." ( AudioFile)

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What listeners say about Flavor

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
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    2 out of 5 stars

interesting, but...

I'm glad I listened to this book. There were some very interesting things that I liked and will remember, but too much was redundant and not applicable. The author went into too much detail about flavor chemical compounds and repeated the same concepts. That would be great as a text book, if I was studying flavor, but not very interesting to listen to.

8 people found this helpful

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brilliant

cover to cover this book was fascinating! the narrator did a great job keeping the reader pulled in the book! I wish I could have tried some of these dishes mentioned. now I have to do a few experiments on my own!

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Horrible narration

The subject is interesting, but the narration caused me to stop listening after 8 chapters. I'll read the rest on my Kindle. The narrator tries too hard and so most of this sounds like he's reading to small children. And if I have to listen to one more of his awful attempts at an accent or woman's voice I will personally hunt him down and gag him.

8 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Intellectual look at flavor.

If you are looking to expand your palate, this is it. A brief dive into the complex world of flavor through tradition and innovation. Great narration keeps the content interesting.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good content but lacks structure

There's plenty of good content here, although it lacks a memorable structure. The chapters are too broad and encompassing, and you often end up wondering what the purpose of the chapter is. There's too little there for your memory to attach to any strong concepts and it's delivered in a way that lacks practical application. Summaries at the end of each chapter might have helped with this. Also, there's too heavy a dependence on interviews. It felt too much like an extended magazine editorial, as opposed to a book from which you're expected to take away some key concepts.

I also agree with other reviewers that the narration by Jonathan Yen was really inappropriate for the theme and topic. It felt patronizing and as though it was trying really hard to make the content entertaining, which at times felt like a children's TV presenter delivering a chemistry class to adults.

All in all, despite the richness of the content, I can't say I really learned anything. The facts were too disparate to associate to my daily life, and the ideas were so dilluted with interviews that I couldn't remember what was an account of an interview and what was a key body of knowledge that the chapter and interviews were attempting to deliver. In other words, it's inappropriately delivered through its narrative and narration despite being rich in interesting knowledge.

This should be re-written, and if coming back to Audible, re-narrated.

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Narrator sucks, Book is decent

I listen mainly to cooking and food audiobooks. Big fan of Michael Pollan’s stuff. This isn’t mind expanding like those but I picked up a few things about how flavor works. I have no complaints with the book itself. But the audiobook reader has a voice that was so annoying that I had to force myself to keep listening.

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  • AT
  • 07-07-18

Great Listen

It's a highly scientific book. I didn't think I would like it at first but, it grew on me. now I want to try so many new flavor combinations as well as try and seek out the different flavors in any given meal. if you love food and the science behind most things, then, this book is for you. Nararor was pretty great too.

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    3 out of 5 stars

very scientific

This book was more technical than what I wanted, or fully understood. If you are a technical foodie, you may like it better.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Great Book!

This is an extremely informative and useful text. The author does a very good job of explaining flavor science in a way that is both intelligible to the lay person and enjoyable to the nerd, and covering a wide array of categories. This book is going to become required reading at the distillery I run.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating Scientific View of Flavor

I've been looking for a book that blends science and food. This was just the ticket.

Exactly as the summary says. This is a relatively dense book with a certain amount of scientific knowlege assumed. If you are like me and seek such experiences it could be an excellent fit for you.

The narrator's tone is conversational/journalistic. Not an unpleasant sounding voice (somewhat calming).

I enjoyed learning how the aesthetic senses of smell, sight, taste, touch, and even hearing rally to bring us unforgettable experiences of food.

All on all, I really enjoyed this audiobook and would recommend it to any science loving foodie.