Reviewed by: Cheryl LaGuardia, Research Librarian, Widener Library, Harvard University
Flavour is a journal that “reflects the growing interest in the developing new science of molecular gastronomy and seeks to create a shared forum for the publication of evidence-based research in an open access context that will make it accessible not only to researchers but also the wider community of chefs, policy makers and the public.” The editors seek articles about the generation and perception of flavor, as well as the influence it has on human behavior and nutrition. Material to be found here is truly cross-disciplinary, spanning such fields as food chemistry, genetics, neuroscience, philosophy, psychology, and sensory science.
The home page is an intriguing mélange of media, and includes tabs leading to articles, instructions to authors for submitting manuscripts, instructions to reviewers describing the editorial policy, an About This Journal tab that explains its aims and scope, and a My Flavour tab that lets a reader register in the BioMed system, enabling them to get published in a BioMed Central journal, set up and save stored searches and alerts, have the latest articles delivered to their inbox, and respond to articles and post comments at the site. Below the tabs is a brief masthead, followed by Selected Articles (featured articles), a list of the latest articles published, a video chronicling the launch of Flavour the magazine, tweets related to the journal, quotes from chefs and other foodies endorsing the journal, and a Latest news section reporting on flavor-related studies and developments.
A click on the Articles tab takes you to a new page with new tabs, for: All articles, Most viewed, Archive, Supplements, and Articles collections. You can limit the articles displayed list by article type (Book review, Commentary, Editorial, Introduction, Keynote lecture presentation, Opinion, Oral presentation, Poster presentation, Research, or Review), or you can jump to a particular volume and article number. As this is a born-digital journal there are no page numbers, but each article is assigned a DOI and a URL for easy access.
A quick look at a couple articles will convey much about Flavour and the kinds of research it publishes. The selected article at the time of this review is, “A taste of Kandinsky: assessing the influence of the artistic visual presentation of food on the dining experience,” written by four authors from the Crossmodal Research Laboratory, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford. It reports on a study “designed to assess whether placing the culinary elements of a dish in an art-inspired manner would modify the diner’s expectations and hence their experience of food,” and includes an image of the Kandinsky painting used as the inspiration for the dish and the three different visual arrangements presented. The study and the article are scholarly in approach and tone, but the writing is accessible to anyone interested in the effect presentation has on the diner’s experience of a meal. This article was labeled Highly Accessed, and looking for other Highly Accessed titles in the article list I found such items as, “Airplane noise and the taste of umami,” “Grape expectations: how the proportion of white grape in Champagne affects the ratings of experts and social drinkers in a blind tasting,” “Assessing the influence of the multisensory environment on the whisky drinking experience,” and “A genetic variant near olfactory receptor genes influences cilantro preference.”
Aimed at chefs, food researchers, policy makers, and the public, Flavour is a serious exploration of food and all its aspects, and librarians will do well to recommend it to anyone with a marked gastronomic interest.