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NeurogastronomyHow the Brain Creates Flavor and Why It Matters$
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Gordon Shepherd

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231159111

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231159111.001.0001

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The Molecules of Flavor

The Molecules of Flavor

(p.33) Chapter Four The Molecules of Flavor

Gordon M. Shepherd

Columbia University Press

Understanding how our brains construct perceptions of smells begins with an understanding of food molecules themselves. This chapter discusses how different odor molecules are related, and how they are able to carry the information about their sources in the perceptions to which they give rise. Topics covered include fruit odors, how flavor is produced from eating food, why plants are smell virtuosos, how herbs and species reign supreme with regards to smell and flavor, why meat tastes like meat, and dairy smells. The chapter concludes that each food has its characteristic molecular composition, modified by how it is prepared. By themselves, foods have no flavor. They are the raw materials out of which the brain creates flavor.

Keywords:   food molecules, flavor, human brain, taste, smell, odor molecules

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