Gastrophysics: The New Science of Eating

Front Cover
Penguin Books Limited, Mar 30, 2017 - Psychology - 336 pages

'The scientist changing the way we eat' Guardian


Why do we consume 35% more food when eating with another person, and 75% more when with three? Why are 27% of drinks bought on aeroplanes tomato juice? How are chefs and companies planning to transform our dining experiences, and what can we learn from their cutting-edge insights to make memorable meals at home?

These are just some of the ingredients of Gastrophysics, in which the pioneering Oxford professor Charles Spence shows how our senses link up in the most extraordinary ways. He reveals the importance of all the "off-the-plate" elements of a meal: the weight of cutlery, the colour of the plate (his lab showed that we perceive salty popcorn as tasting sweet when served in a red bowl), the background music and much more.

Whether dining alone or at a dinner party, on a plane or in front of the TV, he reveals how to understand what we taste and influence what others experience. Freakonomics for food, meal-times will genuinely never be the same again.


'Popular science at its best' Daniel J. Levitin, author of The Organized Mind

'Spence allows people to appreciate the multisensory experience of eating' The New Yorker

'Wonderfully curious and thought-provoking . . . brilliant' Bee Wilson

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About the author (2017)

Professor Charles Spence has spent the last two decades researching how people perceive the world around themat the Crossmodal Research Laboratory at Oxford University , earning him the international reputation as the expert in multisensory perception and experience design. He has popularized the term 'gastrophysics', and leads the field in this ground-breaking area of science that is rapidly transforming the way in which we all experience what we eat and drink. He has consulted for many multinational companies, including Unilever, PepsiCo, Diageo, Pernod Ricard, P&G, NestlÚ and Twinings, advising on various aspects of multisensory design, packaging, and branding, and has conducted research with a number of world-leading chefs, mixologists and baristas, including Heston Blumenthal and Ferran AdriÓ. In 2008 he was awarded an Ig Nobel Prize for his ground-breaking work on the 'sonic crisp', demonstrating how a louder crunch makes a crisp seem fresher

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