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Season to Taste : How I Lost My Sense of Smell and Found My Way

by Molly Birnbaum

Biography / Autobiography Books of the Month - <b>September</b> eBooks of the Month The Real World

LoveReading View on Season to Taste : How I Lost My Sense of Smell and Found My Way

August 2011 Non-Fiction Book of the Month.

A road accident disrupted Molly Birnbaum’s sense of smell, and if that doesn’t sound too bad an outcome let her account of her road to recovery show you just what a devastation lack of smell can be. Imagine how horrible food would taste, not being able to smell the good things and the dangerous things, not being part of a society that values a sense of smell. Determined to find out just what has gone wrong her investigation takes in everything from brain development to the construction of perfumes. It’s a revelatory read, Molly Birnbaum’s journey reawakening in her readers a new thankfulness that they can always smell new bread baking, roses and chocolate, wine and lavender, linen and the sea.

Like for Like Reading
The Secret of Scent: Adventures in Perfume and the Science of Smell, Luca Turin
The Scent Trail: A Journey of the Senses, Celia Lyttelton


Sue Baker

Season to Taste : How I Lost My Sense of Smell and Found My Way Synopsis

At the age of 22, Molly was an aspiring chef. She was spending her nights reading cookbooks and her days working at a bistro in preparation for training at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America. But then one day while out running, she was hit by a car. The accident fractured her skull, broke her pelvis, tore her knee to shreds - and destroyed her sense of smell. As the weeks went by, the flesh and bones began to heal, but she still couldn't smell a thing.And not being able to smell meant not being able to taste or cook, and suddenly her restaurant job, her cookery school plans, and her future as a chef were all over. SEASON TO TASTE follows what came next: how Molly picked herself up and set off on a quest to learn to smell again. Writing with emotional honesty, intellectual curiosity, and a foodie's feel for descriptive precision, she explores the science of olfaction, pheromones, and Proust's madeleine; she meets leading experts, including the writer Oliver Sacks, scientist Stuart Firestein, and perfumer Christophe Laudamiel; and she visits a pioneering flavour laboratory, eats at Grant Achatz's legendary Chicago restaurant Alinea, and enrolls at a renowned perfume school in Grasse, all in an effort to understand and overcome her condition. From cinnamon and cedar wood, to bacon and her boyfriend's shirt, Molly Birnbaum gradually rediscovers the scented world and captures in words - apt and piquant words - the rich layer of life that tends to be wordless.

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781846273834
Publication date: 04/08/2011
Publisher: Portobello Books Ltd an imprint of Granta Books
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781846273834
Publication date: 4th August 2011
Author: Molly Birnbaum
Publisher: Portobello Books Ltd an imprint of Granta Books
Format: Paperback
Genres: Biography / Autobiography, Books of the Month, eBook Favourites, The Real World,

About Molly Birnbaum

Molly Birnbaum is a recipient of the Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship in Arts and Culture from Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism. Her work has appeared in the New York Times and ARTnews magazine, and writes the popular food blog Molly's Madeleine ( ). This is her first book.   Author photo © Matt Mabe

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