The American Scholar: Welcome to the Osmocosm
Durian, the king of fruits and smells (Flickr/luzge)
Harold McGee’s 1984 book On food and cooking—thoroughly overhauled in 2004 – changed modern cuisine, inspiring the molecular gastronomy of Ferran Adrià as well as the weekday creations of humble home cooks everywhere. McGee’s latest book, nose diveis a complementary encyclopedia to About food and cooking, and it focuses on the most overlooked of our senses: smell. When we raise a fresh oyster or a glass of wine to our lips, what makes us detect minerality Where grass? When did the molecules we smell first appear? What happens to these volatile molecules when we process our food, whether through cooking, fermentation or some other process? Listen to McGee explain this universe of smells – which he dubs “the osmocosm” – and you’ll never smell the aroma of freshly baked cookies the same way again.
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