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

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

Regular price $42.00 CAD
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  • Author: HAROLD MCGEE
  • Publisher: Random House of Canada
  • Language: English
  • Release Date: 10/2020
  • Pages: 688
  • Size: 18 x 24 cm
  • Weight: 952g
  • Format: hardcover
  • ISBN: 9780385666473


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

James Beard Award-winning author Harold McGee, a leading expert on the science of food and cooking, offers 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 over four billion years ago, to the Tian Shan mountain range in the northern Himalayas, to the keyboard of your laptop, where traces of formaldehyde leak between the keys. We will sniff out 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 ourselves.

Through all of this, McGee familiarizes us with the real pieces of matter we breathe - the molecules that trigger our perceptions, that cause the citrusy smells of cilantro and beer and the medicinal smells of daffodils and sea urchins. And like everything 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 - even before those creatures lived on a planet. Beginning with the origin of these molecules in interstellar space, McGee reviews the smells of our planet, from the air and oceans, to the forest, grasslands, and city, to the smells of incense, perfume, wine, and food.

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

The author:

Harold McGee is a world-renowned authority on food chemistry and cooking. He studied science and literature at Caltech and Yale, and has written two award-winning books, On Food and Cooking and The Curious Cook, as well as numerous articles and reviews. He lives in San Francisco.

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