The Kitchen Thinker: Anosmia

Posted on January 20, 2010

Daily Telegraph (UK)

A great summary by food journalist Bee Wilson of a talk that I gave at the 2009 Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery. I described how the sense of smell is unique to each of us, and how this affects our enjoyment of a meal. Here is one example, as summarized by Bee: “Seven per cent of the population cannot smell trimethylamine, a compound whose presence indicates that fish is going off. I find this fact truly astonishing. Seven people out of a hundred would not notice if the grilled lemon sole on their plate was fresh or fishy. The odds are that some of those people are working in restaurants [and serving you your food].”

Food for thought!

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