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

Molly Birnbaum. Ecco, $24.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-191531-4
In this moving and informative work, Birnbaum tells of the head injury she suffered when she was hit by a car while jogging at her mother's home in Boston. Birnbaum was left with total anosmia, or inability to perceive smells. This was just before she was due to begin courses at the Culinary Institute of America on a postcollege scholarship at age 22. Doctors informed her that once the olfactory system was damaged, her sense of smell wouldn't return, and hence she had to decide what else to do with her life. Over the course of this memoir padded with much research, Birnbaum consulted numerous experts in the nose field, doctors and researchers as well as flavorists, perfumers in Grasse, France, and writers (Proust, naturally, and Oliver Sacks), who attest to the fierce bond between smell and memory, smell's function in sexual attraction (pheromones), and the role of genetics. Birnbaum recognized that without her sense of smell she had "lost a way of relating, of understanding, of processing" her world. Only gradually, after moving to New York and working at an art magazine, did aromas begin to return—rosemary, chocolate, and cucumbers—and with them, the ability to taste. (July)
Reviewed on: 04/25/2011
Release date: 06/01/2011
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-84627-383-4
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-06-208150-6
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-06-191532-1
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-84627-384-1
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