Author covers food and nutrition issues in 'Taste Matters'.
Author covers food and nutrition issues in 'Taste Matters'. Contributed

Book review: Taste Matters

BOOK: Taste Matters
AUTHOR:  John Prescott
PUBLISHER: Reaktion Books
RRP: $20

GASTRONOMY now has the freedom to experiment with the concepts of food as it is no longer obliged to consider nutrition alone.

Is this food pleasure a factor in obesity?

John Prescott insightfully covers these issues and many more.

Our evolutionary history certainly plays a part in our responses to food.

Energy was vital for survival back then but we now have a more sedentary lifestyle.

Culture, too, influences our likes and dislikes but these only partly address the question of taste.

Sensory pleasure is no longer dependent upon nutrition.

Cravings are puzzling too.

Experiments indicated that cravings became less frequent during fasting and that hunger also declined.

Whatever the reason is for this it does seem to imply that cravings do not arise automatically from energy depletion.

There is no doubt that smell has a strong influence on our taste.

Has your pork ever smelt of urine?

Androsterone is the culprit.

It smells musky to some and around one third cannot smell it.

It is detected in male pigs and some truffles.

Our sensitivity to odours varies greatly from one another.

We should not blame these preferences if we do not use up the energy we consume.

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