On the benefit of the strong smell of cheese and the smell of the armpits

Harold McGee writes another comprehensive and readable book on the benefits of armpit scent

American author Harold McGee became world famous for his book About food and cooking. This 600-page pill on chemistry, the history of cooking and eating dates dates back to 1984. In 2004 it was reissued. Over the years, this encyclopedic book became truly standard work. It has become indispensable in many kitchens De Volkskrant He wrote about it in 2004: “A kitchen bookshelf without a McGee cookbook is like a bus without wheels.”

Now, seven years later, there is almost a thick book on aromatherapy. Another poll of an emotional guy who has devoted himself to his topic for years. Will this become indispensable / common such as About food and cooking? However, there are enough similarities that can be drawn between the two works. For example, in addition to the scope, which once again reflects the thoroughness of McGee’s research, there is an obvious setting. As McGee writes in the introduction, his book can be used in two ways. While browsing, searching for a specific topic, or reading systematically. he is too Smells of the world Written in an equally fun way. McGee’s style can be described as fresh, holistic, and tapered as well. He understands the art of making complex processes, such as chemistry, which play an important role in both books, understandable. Many parts of the book are narrative and narrative (by design), but they are never explained in detail unnecessarily. Plus, McGee is clearly very passionate about everything that he finds and gets off the pages.

The fact that this book (after all) may attract fewer readers will mainly depend on the topic itself. at About cooking and eating There was a translation to our plate for each food item (discussed). To what we like to do every day: eating. at Smells of the world Is this a little different. It also covers topics that will not be (equally) close to everyone’s home. Like: the smell of mushrooms, or how they should smell in the universe.

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Osmokosmos

McGee’s discussion of the microstructure and action of the emitted (volatile) molecules that define these odors can remain rather abstract. Therefore, this book requires a little more thought and sometimes more patience. However, both of them are rewarded generously. Slowly, as a reader, you are drawn into a world unknown to many of us, or where (at least often) we don’t think about it very often. Those in the universe – thousands and thousands, maybe millions, of particles that we and other creatures can smell. And what is the effect of all these different smells on behavior?

Harold McGeestatue

Smells of the world They’re not arranged by smells and by the names we made for them, but by the common things we can smell. Such as: the body odors of animals and humans, the smell of nature on and on the earth, and the smell of food. And it wouldn’t be McGee if he didn’t include our evolution, our psychology, and our history in the way we feel smells. And how the scents direct us. He is often completely unconscious. (And unknown).

Because we live in the homes we live in today, and mask our body odors with soap and deodorant, we often forget how much knowledge we still gain through our noses not only knowledge, for example, of the possibility of eating, but also of our peers. For example, experiments show that we can smell the difference between the daily armpit sweat and the sweat of volunteers being manipulated into feeling anxious, fearful, anxious, or sad. Perhaps in days gone by, armpit scent was (even) a way to determine your dominance within a group, and thus the scent version of a peacock’s tail, a lion’s mane, or a scarlet buttocks.

Cheese fingers

A taboo was brought about by liking our own body scents, says McGee. But we still smell ourselves through all sorts of twists. For example, by the sharp smell of some cheeses. McGee is (now) introducing an imaginative theory. Some cheeses contain the same protein and fat-eating bacteria that live on our skin. We once developed unnecessary laborious ripening methods for these cheeses. For example, by administering a saline solution that looks like sweat. why? Perhaps because cheese smells like cheese, he suggests. And so on to ourselves. Because we naturally love that. What is remarkable, says McGee, is that many Chinese have no tolerance for Western cheese. They think these cheeses smell “goat”, just like / after the foreigners who make them.

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Harold McGee
Smells of the world
Transcode. Jack Mirman.
New Amsterdam; 624 pages, 49.99 €

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