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Why does food eaten off a blue plate taste saltier and a round plate taste sweeter? Why do we consume 35% more food when eating with one more person, and 75% more when with three? Why do people drink more tomato juice on planes than anywhere else? And why do we consume 15% more if we eat with the television on?
If you've found yourself pondering the answers to any of these surprising questions, pioneering Oxford University professor Charles Spence's fascinating new book entitled Gastrophysics, the New Science of Eating is the perfect place to be englightened.
Revealing the popular science behind these curiosities and more, Spence tackles just how our senses combine and even influence each other to affect our perception of what we eat, everyday. The expert in multisensory perception divulges a multitude of industry secrets throughout the book, that bridge the gaps between techniques deployed in fine dining and supermarket shopping to how to elevate your home entertaining and takeaway coffee.
Fine dining is tackled in depth, including the sensorial tricks used to tantalise and enhance our dining experience, from heavy cutlery to plate colour, through to why we'll be seduced into paying twice as much in a supermarket when food is artfully displayed. Spence also shares some useful tips to deploy in homelife, like disposing of plastic lids when drinking takeaway coffee and impressing our guests with our home cooking by putting a few drops of something fragrant onto the middle of a wooden spoon or fork before serving them.
While the gimmicky gastrosensorial experience might just best be left to the experts, smoke and mirrors asisde, Spence imparts some takeway tips that could be easily applied to make daily life more delicious, and you never know, they just might change the way you eat.
Charles Spence is considered one of the leading experts in gastrophysics and has dedicated much of his professional life to working with a number of experimental chefs, including Heston Blumenthal for over a decade.