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A TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR 2020

BEST BOOKS OF 2020: SCIENCE – FINANCIAL TIMES

SHORTLSTED FOR THE ANDRE SIMON AWARD

The long awaited new book from Harold McGee, winner of the André Simon Food Book of the Year & the James Beard Award.


What is smell? How does it work? And why is it so important?

HAROLD McGEE, leading expert on the science of food and cooking, has spent a decade exploring our most overlooked sense.

Nose Dive is the amazing result: it takes us on an adventure across four billion years and the whole globe, from the sulphurous early Earth to the fruit-filled Tian Shan mountain range north of the Himalayas, and back to the keyboard of your laptop, where trace notes of phenol and formaldehyde are escaping between the keys.

A work of astounding scholarship and originality, Nose Dive distils the science behind smells and translates it into an accessible and entertaining sensory and olfactory guide. We’ll sniff the ordinary (wet pavement and cut grass) and extraordinary (ambergris and truffles), the delightful (roses and vanilla) and the challenging (swamplands and durians). We’ll smell each other. We’ll smell ourselves. Here is a story of the world, of all of the smells under our noses.

DIVE IN!

Reviews

Nose Dive opens up a world full of wonder . . . enthralling, extraordinary, life-affirming
DIANA HENRY, Daily Telegraph
if you're ready to lean in and really smell the roses, Harold can show you the way
Waitrose Weekend
Deeply researched . . . Reading Mr. McGee, mostly in isolation, I started to pay more attention to the information in the air, to jot down notes about the mundane fragments floating around me as I whiffed them in
TEJAL RAO, International New York Times
A tour-de-force . . . a superbly written odyssey around an underrated sense
Clive Cookson, Financial Times, Best Books of 2020: Science
Fascinating
Guardian Feast
A no-holds barred book which explains why we love the foods we love . . . and will actually enrich your love of food
Radio 4 The Food Programme
Ever since Heston Blumenthal credited Harold McGee with teaching him the science behind his cooking, he has been the food nerd's favourite geek . . . Now I know why a sip of wine can make even perfectly fresh fish taste fishy (solution: a squeeze of lemon juice) and I've learnt the name for one of summer's most redolent smells: fresh rain on dry Tarmac
The Times (Saturday Review), Food Book of the Year 2020
This keenly awaited volume is not exactly a food book, but it is the reference book that will make everything you eat seem more interesting. . . He explains everything from why fruits smell so delicious to the way that cooking can transform the scent of ingredients such as onions from pungent to sweet. There is fascination and delight on every page
Sunday Times (Culture)
An ambitious and enormous work . . . McGee's breadth is demonstrated by his cosmological starting point
Spectator
A riveting read that's sure to be a classic
The Independent, Food Books of 2020
McGee is a food scientist who has produced some of the most important research on the subject: he is a hero to any chef worth his or her salt
Stephen Harris, Daily Telegraph
Fascinating
New Yorker
Food science legend Harold McGee deftly explains the history of our planet's diverse scents . . . Discover what cat pee has in common with sauvignon blanc in this mind-expanding guide
Delicious
A joyously nerdy study of how and what we smell, the effect on our appetites and much more. He has a boffin's approach to detail but the hungry person's passion to boot
Sunday Times
You don't need to know the names of the molecules you smell, but you can see which foods share specific ones. This will help you understand why, as a cook and an eater, certain dishes appeal to you . . . Understanding how food smells are connected might also help you to be more creative when layering flavours, a fundamental part of cooking
Sunday Times (Stella)