Hunger, Flavour, Digestion and Kitchen Chemistry

  • John L. Smith


I shall start the chapter with a brief review of research relating to hunger and its role in the regulation of food intake. This work has largely been carried out by physiological psychologists and most of it involves experimentation with animals. Skating over this unseemly material as quickly as possible, I shall move on to present the conventional scientific account of flavour and digestion. A biochemical perspective is brought to bear on both these topics, although with regard to the former some of the work on taste and smell is carried out using the experimental approach typically found in psychophysical research in general. Having discussed flavour and digestion, I shall then consider the way in which food preparation and cooking may be regarded as applied organic chemistry in the kitchen. Owing to limitations of space my treatment of some of these topics will be highly selective. For example, when I talk about digestion I shall focus solely on carbohydrates, mentioning fats, proteins and other nutrients only in passing, if at all. As for kitchen chemistry, I shall deal only with egg cookery. I conclude the chapter with a short case study: my experience of cooking and eating a simple lunch at home.


Taste Cell Basic Taste Mouth Movement Stomach Distension Sponge Cake 
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© John L. Smith 2002

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  • John L. Smith

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