The science in the back of a good meal: the entire sounds, sights, and tastes that make us like what we’re eating—and need to eat more.
Why do we consume 35 percent more food when eating with one other person, and 75 percent more when dining with three? How do we provide an explanation for the truth that people who like strong coffee drink more of it under bright lighting? And why does green ketchup just not work?
The answer is gastrophysics, the new area of sensory science pioneered by Oxford professor Charles Spence. Now he’s stepping out of his lab to lift the lid on the entire eating experience—how the taste, the aroma, and our overall enjoyment of food are influenced by all of our senses, as well as by our mood and expectations.
The pleasures of food lie mostly in the mind, not in the mouth. Get that straight and you’ll be able to start to take into account what in reality makes food enjoyable, stimulating, and, most important, memorable. Spence reveals in amusing detail the importance of the entire “off the plate” elements of a meal: the weight of cutlery, the color of the plate, the background music, and much more. Whether we’re dining alone or at a dinner party, on a plane or in front of the TV, he reveals how to take into account what we’re tasting and influence what others experience.
This is accessible science at its best, fascinating to anyone in possession of an appetite. Crammed with discoveries about our on a regular basis sensory lives, Gastrophysics is a book guaranteed to make you look at your plate in a whole new way.