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Nose Dive: A Field Guide to the World's Smells

Nose Dive: A Field Guide to the World's Smells

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  • Author: HAROLD McGEE
  • Publisher: Appetite by Random House
  • English language
  • Publication date: 10/2022
  • Number of pages: 688
  • Dimensions: 18 x 23 cm
  • Weight: 822g
  • Format: Softcover
  • ISBN: 9780385666480


The ultimate guide to the smells of the universe - from ambrosial to pungent and everything in between - from the author of the acclaimed culinary guides On Food and Cooking and Keys to Good Cooking.

Harold McGee, James Beard Award-winning author and leading expert on the science of food and cooking, offers us an in-depth exploration of the awesome world of smells. In Nose Dive, McGee takes us on a sensory adventure, from the sulphurous nascent earth more than four billion years ago to the Tian Shan mountain range in the northern Himalayas to the keyboard of your laptop , where traces of formaldehyde escape between the keys. We will sniff the ordinary (wet sidewalk and cut grass) and the extraordinary (fresh bread and chocolate), the delicious (roses and vanilla) and the unpleasant (rotten meat and rotten eggs). We will feel each other. We will feel like ourselves.

Through it all, McGee acquaints us with the actual bits of matter we breathe—the molecules that trigger our perceptions, that cause the citrus smells of coriander and beer and the medicinal smells of daffodils and sea urchins. And like everything that exists in the physical world, molecules have a history. Many of the molecules we smell every day existed long before any creature was around to smell them – before those creatures even lived on a planet. Starting with the origin of these molecules in interstellar space, McGee reviews the smells of our planet, from the air and oceans, from the forest, grasslands and city, to the smells of the incense, perfumes, wine and food.

Here is a history of the world, of all the smells that are under our collective noses. A work of stunning erudition and originality, Nose Dive distills the science behind smells and translates it, as only McGee can, into an accessible and entertaining guide. By integrating the latest discoveries from biology and chemistry, and interweaving them with personal observations, McGee reveals how our sense of smell has the power to expose invisible and intangible details of our material world and our lives, and to trigger in us feelings which are the very essence of life.

The author:

Harold McGee writes about the science of food and cooking. He is the author of the award-winning classic On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen and Keys to Good Cooking: A Guide to Making the Best of Foods and Recipes, and a former columnist for The New York Times. He was named food writer of the year by Bon Appétit magazine and is included in the Time 100, an annual list of the world's most influential people. Since 2010, he has been a guest lecturer at Harvard University in the course "Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science". He lives in San Francisco.

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