Why we like the foods we do

John Prescott, PhD


Why do we like the foods that we do? What happens when we eat not for nutrient intake but for sensory pleasure? How far are our food preferences determined by genetic inheritance, by maternal diet, by cultural practice? These are some of the questions that sit at the heart of John Prescott's Taste Matters, a book that provides scientific explanations for why we eat in the way that we do.

Surveying a broad range of factors, from different cultural traditions to physiological and genetic influences, Prescott argues that in affluent Western societies food selection is increasingly unrelated to survival. Food has become less about nutrient intake, and more about sensory, and sometimes intellectual, pleasure. Moreover, changes in the average modern diet have led to an increase in obesity and high blood pressure. Why and how do our tastes create such paradoxes?

With its sensitivity and awareness of such contemporary issues,
Taste Matters is a relevant and timely title. Highly accessible and compellingly written, Prescott's book brings scientific research to a wide audience, paving the way for a healthier, more sustainable and informed understanding of taste.

Foreword by Heston Blumenthal, OBE

“as John demonstrates in this fascinating book, our likes and dislikes are actually the result of a labyrinth of different influences, many of which we are unaware ….. John is the perfect guide through this labyrinth. He has all the latest scientific developments and thinking at his fingertips and explains it all in simple, accessible, jargon-free language, backed up by lots of vivid, instructive examples and case histories”

Published May, 2012

Reaktion Books, London
Distributed in the USA by University of Chicago Press, in Australia by NewSouth Books, and published in Italian by Sironi Editore