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Nose Dive: A Field Guide to the World’s Smells

By Karen MacNeil
December 4, 2020

Book Review

No one knows more about the science of food and cooking (and no one explains it better) than Harold McGee whose book On Food and Cooking is the bible on that subject. Now, in his just released new book Nose Dive, McGee turns his attention to the enchanting, beguiling, captivating, and occasionally revolting world of smell. McGee calls this world the osmocosm, and as he makes so very clear, it’s the inescapable realm we inhabit every second of our lives. Nose Dive is fascinating and often funny. McGee takes us from the sublime to the scatological as he explores every sort of smell imaginable from vanilla to vomit. And while the chemistry can get a bit daunting, McGee’s ability to tell a good story makes the pages fly. For anyone who loves food and wine, Nose Dive is a book to savor.