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Monday, January 28, 2019

Why You Eat What You Eat

Part of the reason I love to cook is that the results, in addition to providing sustenance and tasting delicious, can mean so much, as we have recently highlighted. I was on a nonfiction kick last year in my reading, and over the summer I read Why You Eat What You Eat: The Science Behind Our Relationship With Food by Rachel Herz. It's a fascinating and illuminating discussion; Herz describes what we know from scientific studies and offers brief advice on how to apply this knowledge to enhance our eating, our health, and our relationship to food. I especially enjoyed the sections on how our brains associate emotion with food and how much the sense of smell affects our enjoyment of food.

The last paragraph (spoiler alert!) sums up the complexity of food nicely:

"Food nourishes the body and the soul, and knowing how to get the most from our senses and our mind while eating makes it all that it can be. Food is an aesthetic immersion, whether you turn a salad into a Kandinsky painting or not. Food connects us to our past, to other people, to the world, and to ourselves. Food is memory, celebration, identity, conversation, emotion, glory, pleasure, pain, fear, disgust, comfort, and guilt. Food is aromatic, salty, sour, sweet, bitter, savory, tingly, hot and cold. Food is flavor and savor, art and sight, sound and music, texture and design, words and poetry, divine and decadent. Food is love and food is life. And knowledge of how our mind and body are affected by our food choices, and how our senses and psychology alter our experience of food and the consequences of eating, is power."

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