Molly Birnbaum does a lovely job of presenting both her individual stuggle of losing her sense of smell (and thus taste) while beefing up the book with substantive information about smell, taste, and the brain. Interspersed with her own personal crisis (how do you become a chef without a sense of taste??), she interviews experts ranging from medical researchers to top perfumiers, paints portraits of fellow non-smellers, and summarizes current scientific findings. While that list may sound dense, Birmbaum writes with a tone suitable for an everyday conversation, or a friendly e-mail exchange. Her intelligent explanations and forays into anatomy and psychology are easy to understand, but not overly simplistic.
Above all, Molly becomes a “friend” as you follow her adventures. Her experiences and solid writing allow the reader to empathize with her experiences while also remaining engaged with the scientific inquiries driving her quest. If you’re looking for a light read that still manages to change your perspective, I recommend it.
Title: Season to Taste: How I Lost My Sense of Smell and Found My Way
Author: Molly Birnbaum
Publisher: HarperCollins, 2011
Format: hardcover, paperback, e-book