"Taste and flavour are not just about what we put in our mouth"by Philip Ball / March 15, 2017 / Leave a comment
Published in April 2017 issue of Prospect Magazine
Gastrophysics: The New Science of Eating, by Charles Spence (Viking, £16.99)
For once the cliché is apt: this book really could change the way you eat. Gastrophysics (a misleading term—there’s scarcely any physics involved) is the science of eating and drinking as a multi-sensory experience, from the textures, sounds and colours of food to the heft of the cutlery, the shape of the plate, and the environment and company in which we consume. At one end of the spectrum is the high-concept gastronomic experimentation of chefs such as Heston Blumenthal, with whom Spence has collaborated extensively. (Surely no other research discipline includes extravagant meals at Blumenthal’s Fat Duck as a perk.) At the other end we discover why takeaway coffee is compromised by the plastic lid and why the furniture in McDonald’s is so unwelcoming.