Taste What You're Missing: The Passionate Eater's Guide to Why Good Food Tastes Good
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Taste What You're Missing: The Passionate Eater's Guide to Why Good Food Tastes Good

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  213 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Whether it’s a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup, maple-cured bacon sizzling hot from the pan, or a salted caramel coated in dark chocolate, you know when food tastes good to you. But you may not know the amazing story behind why you love some foods and can’t tolerate others. Now, in Taste What You’re Missing, the first book that demystifies the science of taste, yo...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published March 13th 2012 by Simon & Schuster
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Whether you are a foodie, someone interested in the biology/science of food consumption, posses an inclination regarding brain perceptions of taste, or are simply seeking a unique read; “Taste You’re Missing” by food developer/marketer Barb Stuckey will satisfy your cravings (pun intended).

“Taste” passionately dives into the science of taste. Stuckey clearly knows her thesis well and is excited to share it with the world. As early as the introduction, the reader is immersed in fun facts and scie...more
Book Him Danno
For starters I want to tell you all that I am a test tester for a large food manufacturer where I live. Panels I have participated in are; salsa, bacon(fresh and microwave, refrigerator and shelf stable), shredded pork, pork ribs, macaroni and cheese, and thank heaven I missed out on the chicken broth panel. This is a very part-time job, a few weeks each year is all. We do not decide if we like a product, we tell them how much of any item we can taste in the product, ie: salt, sugar, smoke, toma...more
The author writes with much personal narrative to present some very interesting science in the area of sensory and perceptual psychology of taste. For the purely science-minded, it can be distracting to read so much personal sharing, but I found her approach to be engaging and enjoyable; it definitely avoided the dry and overly clinical approach to science for the general public.

I appreciated her knowledgeable expertise and ability to discuss cross-modal influences in sensory information process...more
Alex Magpie
So by and large, I really enjoyed this book. It is a long hard look at exactly how flavor works, and works in combinations, and I LOVE THIS. I recommend it if you are into food on an intellectual level as well as, idk, a carnal level. However, THERE ARE SOME FAULTS.

1) Stuckey is not a career writer and sometimes her attempts at accessibility degrade the scientific value of her book, or are just incredibly awkward.

Examples of ruining her science cred with generalizations or subjectivity:

This book was a fascinating look into how both humans in general and individual personalities taste. I would have given it 5 stars, except the book's ending was somewhat anticlimactic. I think ending the book on a high note about taste increasing the enjoyment of food would have been a much more suitable ending than her speculations on how taste has affected obesity and how it can possibly stimulate weight loss. Overall, though, it was very well-researched, balanced and interesting.
I was looking for an introduction to the topic of taste in humans in order to understand how we develop preferences and why people develop different food preferences.
The book fullfilled its mission. It's a very good introduction and overview of this scientific field. The author's style is entertaining but also precise.
At start, I was bothered by the fact that the author described the difference between her own tasting abilities and her husband's... I almost gave up thinking 'Oh no please, not t...more
For anyone interested in enjoying food, a thorough study of taste is in order. Stuckey does a fine job mixing research, personal experience (she IS a food taster, after all), and prescriptive advice to help the reader understand how he/she likes or dislikes whatever is put into the mouth.
Enjoyed this informative yet intriguing book which contained my ideal dose of science - not too much, not too little. I am applying what I've learned and sharing it with others. It will enhance my cooking and eating!
A mildly interesting books about the human perception of taste. Like many of my quirky reads, there is not riveting narrative tying each piece of trivia together... but I learned a lot of interesting things from this book. Like Arya from GOT I will tell you of three things I learned from this book.

I learned how just a tiny bit of something like a 1/4 tsp of sugar, salt, vinegar, or red pepper can noticeably change the overall flavor of the entire dish without the additive been noticeable itself...more
Larry Benfield
In reading this book, I more often felt as if I were sitting in a public health clinic or lecture hall rather than at a dinner table.
Definitely worth reading for the very interesting and useful information but not very well written.
I heard about this book when Barb Stuckey was interviewed on Science Friday on NPR. She expressed the same thing that she wrote in her introduction, which is that she went in search of a book detailing the information she was looking for, couldn't find it, and as a consequence researched and wrote it. It grabbed my attention right away. This book is an absolute must read if you have even a passing interest in food science. If you love Cooks Illustrated because it tells that it wants you to add a...more
Ashland Mystery Oregon
Superb treatment of the sense of taste - what the tongue can detect. Organized by two five pointed stars, the first to describe food's sensory experience: taste - feel- see - hear - smell. This section covers the range of tasters, from supertasters to non-tasters and reasonably argues that the range and variability of taste sensation is difficult to classify.

The majority of the work is given to the taste star: salt, bitter, umami, sweet, sour. Again, the individuality of taste characteristics a...more
Mary (BookHounds)

Barb Stuckey is a professional food developer and has studied the science behind why certain foods taste better than others and how some foods can enhance or detract for their taste as well. I had a friend in grade school that used to drink orange juice promptly after brushing his teeth which made him vomit. He did this any time he wanted to stay home from school. Although this is an extreme example, Barb Stuckey explains exactly why orange juice tastes terrible after brushing...more
It took me a while to get through this book and I'm not entirely sure why. It's chock full of really interesting information about the physiology and science behind how we taste our food. And not only how we TASTE our food, but how are other sense are involved when it comes to eating. We smell, look, hear, and touch our food just as much as we taste it. Barb Stuckey has a fun style of writing and sense of humor that makes this book a little less drier than what it could've been. Her background i...more

Cross modal sensory influences on taste perception! Bacon! Where's the crunch in my cornflakes?? How does sound influence taste? How does texture influence taste - and, the kicker - how does sight influence taste?

The answer to all these, presented with style and humor through a set of personal anecdotes and popularized science is - quite a lot, definitely more than I'd imagined.

This excellent exploration of the nature of taste mixes a fair bit of popularized - but solid - science with personal...more
I was absolutely captivated by this book. I had to ration myself. But then I am a foodie, and am more interested in flavour than presentation of food.
I have learned how to taste food more fully, and to balance flaours when cooking. I also appreciate the hands on exercises to do to illustrate some of the points in the chapter. Great to do for a 'tasting party'.
I liked how this book tied all the 5 different tastes together and gave insight to how we experience food and what companies do to create a new food. I gave it 3 stars because the author tended to be long winded and 'beat a dead horse' on each topic as if the general person wouldn't understand without multiple examples for each chapter and then a few more examples just to make sure. I skipped through it just so I wouldn't get bored.
Kim Heimbuch
WOW!!! I love food and I often am finding myself asking why I love some foods and not others. This book is everything you will need to answer every question about food you ever had. If you never questioned why you liked one type of cheese better than another, this book will open up your mind and senses and have you thinking in no time.
The best part is Stuckey's actual experiments she puts into the book to reinforce it's not just a cover filled with mumbo-jumbo and that a lot of what we have been...more
Susan Reed
Fantastic scientific and foodie descriptions of the sense of taste.
Wonderfully written.
Great information in a very well written piece.
Eating, drinking and science - just a few of my favorite things and this book touches upon them all. Lots of really fascinating information about how we taste and how all the senses work together to provide a good or bad experience when eating. I'm still thinking about the physiology of the nerves that allow us to taste ... kinda cool stuff. Also cool are the "exercises" Stuckey provides with each chapter - always wondered what "tannic" meant, or what "umami" tastes like? You can learn it in you...more
A great book for foodies, chefs, and well any body who eats.

The first 40 pages are a drawn out introduction. There's stuff here that will make sense later on. It's a tough opening... a little scientific... and a little boring... but hang in there.

I learned a lot about food in ways I didn't know... even though I cook a lot and thought I knew a decent amount.

There's a lot in here about the way we taste and the way we smell... there's some incredible insight into our senses that I've always wondere...more
Charli Clark
What a fun book! I have always considered myself a foodie, but was utterly shocked at how much I didn't know about what I was eating, smelling, tasting, and touching all at the same time. This book gives you practice tests to help you hone your senses as well as information on why you taste what you do. I love Sauvignon Blanc however, Ms. Stuckey happen to mention that one of the key odors in Sauv Blanc is cat urine and I was dismayed until I happen to be cleaning my cat's litter box and realize...more
This book is exactly what the title says it is. It explains that science behind why we like to eat the things we do. There are lots of experiments to demonstrate the points she is making. I haven't had a chance to get to all of them yet and the book is due back at the library tomorrow. I'm going to return it and check it out again when I have more time to play with my food.

Recommendations: I think Ant o' 9 and maybe Lize would enjoy this one.
Fascinating! I never alcohol and sugar consumption were inversely correlated, or that we can smell through our mouths, or what natural flavors are. The author makes a science-y topic fun and easy to understand. Some other things you'll learn: why artificial sweeteners never taste as good as sugar, what life is like for someone who can't taste or smell, why you should put salt on grapefruit, and lots of fun science experiments.
Nov 28, 2012 Sps rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 600s
Cheerful and informative discussion of tasting, smelling, flavor, and aroma, with simple tests and advice for tasting/smelling more deeply and thus more enjoyably.

She also lists "wonderful compendium of volatiles" that I would like to look at more after enjoying the 16 volatiles that go into tomato aroma on p.72
Tony Espy
This is a really interesting book that explores how our sense of taste works. It's not quite as in-depth technically ( or as long ) as Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking, but it's similar. The book also contains a series of exercises after each chapter which try to illustrate the concepts explored in each. Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys food and cooking.
Jun 18, 2012 Clarissa rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who likes eating/cooking food OR who has food issues
So interesting that I think I'll buy it so my husband can read it and so that we can do the little kitchen science experiments in it properly!

I think it could have used more editing (it's slightly repetitive in some parts) but it's overall interesting, useful, and enlightening.
AJ Calhoun
Definitely read this book if you are interested in making or eating food, but Stuckey goes off on a lot of tangets and sometimes feels like she is rambling, she also repeats herself often. It could have been 100 pages shorter but it was still really interesting.
This was very fascinating account of how we taste food and how the 5 tastes can enhance the flavor of our food. I thought the section on "womb to tomb" very interesting. Hopefully, this book will help me to be a better cook.
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Taste: Surprising Stories and Science About Why Food Tastes Good

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