Season to Taste | Granta

  • Published: 03/05/2012
  • ISBN: 9781846273841
  • 129x20mm
  • 320 pages

Season to Taste

Molly Birnbaum

When an accident obliterated Molly Birnbaum’s sense of smell, it also destroyed her dream of becoming a chef, and sent her instead upon a brave and uncertain mission to reawaken her nose. Writing with emotional honesty, intellectual curiosity, and a foodie’s feel for descriptive precision, she explores the science of olfaction and pheromones, ponders Proust’s madeleine and her own scent memory, and quizzes psychologists, perfumiers, and ice-cream inventors, all in an effort to overcome her condition. From cinnamon and cedarwood to bacon and her boyfriend’s shirt, we follow Molly as she gradually rediscovers the scented world and captures in apt, piquant words the rich layer of life that tends to be wordless.

A poignant account... Molly's words capture her heady appreciation, curiosity and wonder at the power of scent. This is a true story that will make you inhale deeply and savour whatever you smell.

Zoe Kamen, Time Out

When it comes to doing her groundwork, Birnbaum is unbeatable. No aspect of the nasal experience escapes her: the physiology of smell, scent and memory, scent and sex, scent and literature.

Jane Shilling, Daily Telegraph

A deliciously sweet and funny account of experiencing pain and overcoming it ... Birnbaum is a witty and engaging writer with a genuinely different story to tell ... Birnbaum is warm and insightful, notably when recounting such personal aspects as her romantic entanglements, her culinary disasters or her frustration at the limits of her own nostrils. Most of all, she is a food lover through-and-through, and is at her best when lovingly and longingly describing anything from butterscotch to bagels-and-salted brine.

Jennifer Lipman, Jewish Chronicle

The Author

Molly Birnbaum is a recipient of the Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship in Arts and Culture from Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. Her work has appeared in the New York Times and ARTnews magazine, and writes the popular food blog Molly’s Madeleine. This is her first book.

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