Sunday, July 10, 2011

BRUNCH WITH BINGO: SEASON TO TASTE - A REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

WELCOME TO BOOKIN' WITH BINGO'S
"BRUNCH WITH BINGO DAY"
I AM EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE THIS SUNDAY'S
  FOOD BOOK CHOICE IS.....
SEASON TO TASTE
How I Lost My Sense of Smell 
and Found My Way
BY MOLLY BIRNBAUM

ABOUT THE BOOK:
An aspiring chef's moving account of finding her way—in the kitchen and beyond—after a tragic accident destroys her sense of smell!

At twenty-two, just out of college, Molly Birnbaum spent her nights reading cookbooks and her days working at a Boston bistro, preparing to start training at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America. She knew exactly where she wanted the life ahead to lead: She wanted to be a chef. But shortly before she was due to matriculate, she was hit by a car while out for a run in Boston. The accident fractured her skull, broke her pelvis, tore her knee to shreds—and destroyed her sense of smell. The flesh and bones would heal...but her sense of smell?And not being able to smell meant not being able to cook. She dropped her cooking school plans, quit her restaurant job, and sank into a depression.

Season to Taste is the story of what came next: how she picked herself up and set off on a grand, entertaining quest in the hopes of learning to smell again. Writing with the good cheer and great charm of Laurie Colwin or Ruth Reichl, she explores the science of olfaction, pheromones, and Proust's madeleine; she meets leading experts, including the writer Oliver Sacks, scientist Stuart Firestein, and perfumer Christophe Laudamiel; and she visits a pioneering New Jersey flavor lab, eats at Grant Achatz's legendary Chicago restaurant Alinea, and enrolls at a renowned perfume school in the South of France, all in an effort to understand and overcome her condition.

A moving personal story packed with surprising facts about our senses, Season to Taste is filled with unforgettable descriptions of the smells Birnbaum rediscovers—from cinnamon, cedarwood, and fresh bagels to rosemary chicken, lavender, and apple pie—as she falls in love, learns to smell from scratch, and starts, once again, to cook.

ABOUT 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 she writes the popular food blog My Madeleine. She lives in Boston. To read more about Molly, visit her "bio" on her website HERE.

PRAISE FOR SEASON TO TASTE:
“A rich, engrossing, and deeply intelligent story….This is a book I won’t soon forget.”
—Molly Wizenberg, bestselling author of A Homemade Life

“Fresh, smart, and consistently surprising. If this beautifully written book were a smell, it would be a crisp green apple.”
—Claire Dederer, bestselling author of Poser

“Powerfully explores the science of smell and its ties to emotion, love and even memory. . . . A truly mouthwatering read.”
— BookPage
 “Moving and informative.”— Publishers Weekly  “Fascinating and vivid. . . . Packed with information and a great read to boot. I was smitten.”— Library Journal
“A culinary-minded journalist . . . movingly depicts the nearly ineffable plight of the anosmic . . . alongside passages of sweeping journalistic discovery of all things olfactory. A brave, unflagging memoir.”— Kirkus Reviews
“After reading Birnbaum’s smart, lovely book, readers will be reminded to savor their next meal, each fragrant bite.”— Boston Globe
“Rich and insightful. . . . A veritable feast for the reader.”— Charlotte Observer  
“A Summer Hot Read.”
— New York Post
 
“Molly Birnbaum writes with great curiosity and depth, reawakening in us all the sense of taste that we take for granted.”
— Amanda Hesser, author of The Essential New York Times Cookbook

A RECIPE FROM MOLLY BIRNBAUM'S BLOG"MY MADELEINE":
 MOM'S APPLESAUCE

INGREDIENTS:
1 bag of apples (however many, whatever kind you want) (here, I used a mixture of McIntosh and Macoun)
2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
ground cinnamon, to taste
ground nutmeg, to taste
1 food mill
DIRECTIONS:
Chop each apple in half, and then the halves in half, and then the quarters in half at 90 degree angles.  (Otherwise known as 8 chunks.) Place in a large pot.  Add the cinnamon sticks and then a healthy dose of ground cinnamon, as well as a few shakes of ground nutmeg.  Add a quarter cup of water to keep the apples from scorching at the start.  Cook at medium-high heat, covered, until the apples begin to bubble away.  Turn down the heat to low, and let simmer until soft.  Then, run the mixture through the food mill, discarding the stem, seed, and skin detritus that is left behind.  Shake some additional ground cinnamon on top.  Serve with vanilla yogurt.
Recipe taken from Molly Birnbaum's blog, MY MADELEINE, HERE.

MY REVIEW/THOUGHTS:
A SEASON TO TASTE is the amazing memoir by Molly Birnbaum that tells of the would-be chef who was working her way up, as so many do, when everything came to a screeching halt. Molly, in that hot summer of 2005, found herself suddenly in a tragic situation that could halt her dreams before they even started. Molly had graduated from college, and was working a menial night job in a restaurant because she wanted more than anything to be a chef. She was set to start at the Culinary Institute of America in just a few weeks when suddenly that all changed! There in Cambridge, as she was out jogging on a summer morning, Molly went to cross a street and didn’t see a car that sped up to make the light but instead slammed into her. This accident left Molly with a cracked skull, fractured pelvis, and torn tendons in her knee.

As one would suspect, Molly remembers little of what followed but weeks in the hospital gave way finally to her going home. It took a long, long time for Molly to understand the severity of all her injuries. Long weeks of recovery went by slowly but eventually the broken bones and ligaments were dealt with and mended. However, one thing would never be the same and was the result of the violent crash. Molly’s head had hit the car during impact and her brain actually bounced. When that happened, the part of her olfactory nerves was torn and she was left with a loss of smell.

Visits to specialists all came up with the same conclusion and that was that  Molly’s sense of smell was gone. Molly learned that such a loss was really more common than she thought and that although like herself in an accident, others might even lose their sense of smell from a cold! The injury that leaves a person with the loss of smell is known as anosmia. Although curable, the best way to have that happen is to just wait and see if the sense of smell returns. Do you know what happens when one can’t smell things? They also lose much of their ability to taste certain things. How can somebody be a chef with no sense of smell and barely any taste?

Molly was devastated, of course, as her world seemed to change including more than just cooking and eating. Molly had to cancel her plans to go to the CIA. She sank into a depression that can be understood, I am sure. Think of all the things one smells in a day and how that and our tasting things comes into play in so many ways. From no longer realizing where she was by missing the smells on a busy street, to not being able to know if her house were on fire as she couldn’t smell smoke; this was the world Molly now lived in.

Molly started to research the sense of smell as she realized she was now unable to be a chef.  The scientific knowledge on the subject still has many unknown factors related to it. Learning that smelling ability comes from a certain part of the brain, Molly found out it was the same area controlling emotions and behavior. Why even a person’s sex life changes without those certain scents and odors! Think how you love the sweet smell of a baby, or someone you love, and how a whiff of their clothing can bring back such wonderful memories. Molly felt she had very little chance of ever loving someone and especially of being loved.

A lesser person might have given up but when one day some of Molly’s ability to smell things started to come back, it was as if she had been struck down again. They seemed so strong having been gone for so long. The smells were coming back a few at a time, but their presence also meant she had to be patient. It was years before most of Molly’s smelling senses returned. However, with each new smell that returned, Molly wondered if perhaps her life as a chef just might be one she could master after all. Along with all this came Matt who Molly thinks probably had the best smelling hair when she first was drawn to him. She found everything about him to smell yummy and hey, she realized that he smelled just like she wanted. Molly Birnbaum’s recovery and amazing investigation into the meaning of this loss of smell, is a fascinating memoir that for me read more like a novel as the story was one I had never heard so was shocked as I realized it was all true. Discover SEASON TO TASTE and see how it tastes to you! 
GIVEAWAY
 
THANKS TO MARK AND MY FRIENDS AT
HARPER COLLINS PUBLISHING, I HAVE
TWO COPIES OF THIS WONDERFUL
BOOK TO GIVE AWAY TO READERS
--U.S. RESIDENTS ONLY
--NO P. O. BOXES
---INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS
IN CASE YOU WIN!
--ALL COMMENTS MUST BE SEPARATE 
TO COUNT AS MORE THAN ONE!

HOW TO ENTER:
 
+1 ENTRY: COMMENT ON WHAT YOU LIKE ABOUT SEASON TO TASTE AND WHY YOU WOULD WANT TO WIN THIS ONE

+1 MORE ENTRY: BLOG OR TWEET ABOUT THIS GIVEAWAY AND COME BACK AND LEAVE A LINK THAT I CAN FOLLOW


+1 MORE ENTRY: COMMENT ON WHAT SMELL YOU WOULD MISS THE MOST IF YOU LOST YOUR ABILITY TO SMELL 

+1 MORE ENTRY: COMMENT ON SOMETHING YOU FIND INTERESTING BY VISITING MOLLY BIRNBAUM'S WEBSITE HERE
 
GIVEAWAY ENDS AT 
6 PM, EST, AUGUST 1
GOOD LUCK!
 

47 comments:

debbie said...

I actually lost my sense of smell this winter, when I had pnuemonia quite badly. It is coming back in bits and pieces. I would love to read about her journey through this event. I would really like to read this book.
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

Carol N Wong said...

I love the subject and the determination of Molly Birbaum to get her sense of smell back. I have loss much of my sense of smell as I have gotten older. My loss is not like Molly's, whose loss was very important to her career but I would love to smell a rose again. I would really like to read this book.

CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

debbie said...

I actually missed my ability to smell spices. I love cooking, and use herbs and spices alot. I missed not smelling them. I had to have my son taste everything.
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

debbie said...

I learned she lives in Cambridge, MA now.
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

Carol N Wong said...

My Twitter name is Carolee888 and I tweeted:

http://t.co/5bOMLlwGiveaway of 'Season to Taste'


CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Carol N Wong said...

Well, I have already lost my ability to smell most things I would to be able to smell again:

1. lilies, roses and jasmine

2. a cake or bread baking in a oven.

3. popcorn and pizza

4. newly mowed grass

5. chocolate and more



CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Carol N Wong said...

Under her article, "Sense and Sensibility, Molly Birbaum talks about drinking milk when you can't smell it. "A glass of milk morphed into a tasteless, viscous liquid."
That is the reason that I cannot stand to drink milk any more.

CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com.

lag123 said...

I would like to read of her journey and how she became a writer instead of the chef she wanted to be.

lag110 at mchsi dot com

lag123 said...

Tweeted: https://twitter.com/#!/lag32583/status/90030757183102978

lag110 at mchsi dot com

lag123 said...

I would most miss the scent of fresh coffee brewing.

lag110 at mchsi dot com

lag123 said...

I enjoyed her article "Finally, the Scent of the City,".

lag110 at mchsi dot com

bermudaonion said...

I love memoirs and I love food, so this sounds perfect to me. milou2ster(at)gmail.com

bermudaonion said...

If I lost my sense of smell, I think I'd miss the smell of the outside after it rains. milou2ster(at)gmail.com

Beachreader said...

My team partner lost her sense of smell and 15 pounds because of it. It's amazing how much you want to eat something because of how it smells. would love toread this book.
Thanks for the giveaway

jgoffice(at)cox(dot)net

bermudaonion said...

On Molly's site I discovered that she has regained her sense of smell.

Beachreader said...

If I lost my sense of smell I think I would miss the smell of fresh mowed grass.

jgoffice(at)cox(dot)net

Beachreader said...

In Molly's article "Finallly, The Scents of the City," she writes about how she wasn't aware of how much she loved New York Cit because of it's smells.
jgoffice(at)cox(dot)net

Tore said...

I would love to read about someone who lost their sense of smell who loves to cook and her journey. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

Kitty said...

It was interesting tha she explored the science of olfaction.

maynekitty[at]live[dot]com

Bethie said...

I never thought about how important the sense of smell is . I think this would be an interesting read.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Bethie said...

I think I would miss smelling the beach, the woods, all those outdoor smells.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

ann said...

First off I love to cook - I like the applesauce recipe. I also would love to read this book it sounds very interesting to me


amhengstATverizonDOTnet

ann said...

Besides missing the smell of good food. I would miss the smell of fresh rain , flowers and that tiny little baby smell.



amhengst@verizon.net

ann said...

Oh my what a horror, the accident then not being able to smell. I am so glad it got better for you being your a lover of food and cooking.

amhengst@verizon.net

Connie said...

Hi! I like starting over stories. It is hard when you lose your sense of smell. My aunt lost her sense of smell so when she cooked she had to put everything on a timer so it wouldn't burn. Thanks for a great giveaway! :)

aliasgirl1976@yahoo.com

holdenj said...

I can't imagine the pain she must have endured, this looks like an amazing story.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

I would miss the smell of lilacs in the spring, that scent really fills the air when they're in full bloom.

JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

Linda Kish said...

What I like is that she finally got her sense of smell back. That is so essential in life. It's sweet how she loves Matt's hair smell so much. This sounds like a terrific story.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

I would miss the smell of food cooking. Or, a baby.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

In scents and sensibility she talks about the return of the sense of smells and the power of those feelings. Those are things we just take for granted.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

traveler said...

This memoir sounds unique and compelling. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

traveler said...

She regained her sense of smell. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

traveler said...

I would miss the smell of strawberries. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

Molly's site is pretty compact. There are some beautiful photos and her bio sums up a lot of what you reported about the accident and her journalism career.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

Margie said...

This book sounds very inspirational. I'd like to learn how the author turns her life around after the tragedy.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

If I were to lose my sense of smell, I would miss the smell of the spring flowers and tree blossoms. I would also miss the smell of coffee in the morning!
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

The author was awarded the Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship for Arts and Culture from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2008.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

+5 Swag
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

4th of July FB bonus entry 1
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

4th of July FB bonus entry 2
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

4th of July FB bonus entry 3
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Margie said...

4th of July FB bonus entry 4
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petite said...

This memoir would be inspiring and interesting. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

petite said...

a smell I would miss would be the woods and trees. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

petite said...

The author was determined to get her sense of smell back. She has strength of character. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

bloomerbear said...

Wow this sounds good...I don't know what I would do if I lost the sense of smell that would just drive me CRAZY

pattifritz2000 at yahoo dot com
thanks

bloomerbear said...

If I lost my sense of smell I would miss the smell of cinnamon, and a clean baby

pattifritz2000 at yahoo dot com
thanks

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