• Off Menu

  • The Secret Science of Food and Dining
  • By: Nell McShane Wulfhart
  • Narrated by: Katie Schorr
  • Length: 5 hrs and 58 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (1,055 ratings)

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Off Menu  By  cover art

Off Menu

By: Nell McShane Wulfhart
Narrated by: Katie Schorr
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Publisher's Summary

Off Menu is a charming, fun-fact-filled deep dive into the little-known science of food and dining: why we eat what we eat, the nuances of our experience of taste and flavor, and the tiny, easy hacks and tweaks that, when mastered, can make a huge difference in our diets, meals, and relationships with food and drink. 

Have you ever noticed that a café’s coffee tastes better in a mug than it does in a to-go cup? Or that hearing the sound of a cocktail being prepared - the sloshing of the liquid in the shaker, the clink of the ice as it’s stirred - makes you enjoy it even more? In Off Menu, journalist Nell McShane Wulfhart explores the facets of food science that you’ve probably never thought about - lighting, background music, the brain’s reaction to the ping of a microwave - but have nonetheless played a role in how you’ve experienced a meal, a drink, or an entire night out. 

This lively, accessible audio project distills cutting-edge research into lessons on everything from what quick fixes can cover up your mistakes in the kitchen to what meal to serve when you’re planning to break up with someone. It’s the perfect listen to devour as you’re strolling through the farmer’s market, washing the dishes, or planning your next dinner party.

©2020 Nell Wulfhart (P)2020 Audible Originals, LLC.

About the Creator

Nell McShane Wulfhart is a journalist and author. She is a former New York Times columnist, and her work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, Bon Appétit, Condé Nast Traveler, the Wall Street Journal Magazine, and T Magazine, to name just a few. She’s passionate about food and drink, and is always searching for new ways to make every meal better. To learn more about her work, visit: nellmcshanewulfhart.com (http://nellmcshanewulfhart.com/) or follow her on Twitter:@nellmwulfhart (https://twitter.com/nellmwulfhart).

About the Performer

Katie Schorr's narration credits include Kim Michele Richardson's acclaimed The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek (an Audible bestseller), Sally Thorne's The Hating Game, We Believe You: Survivors of Campus Sexual Assault Speak Out, Voice Arts Award-nominated Zootopia, Crying Laughing by Lance Rubin, Ginger Zee's Chasing Helicity series, and K.A. Tucker's Be the Girl (for which one attentive listener noticed her Canadian pronunciation of the word "project"), among many others. Katie has written for McSweeney's and Mother.ly and is currently completing her MFA in Fiction at Hunter College.

What listeners say about Off Menu

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Excellent secret weapon... life hack!!

This book is an easy listen; it’s smart, entertaining, and manages to educate you on a wide variety of life hacks under the guise of listening to appreciate food and wine. You will come away with a tips on life that you didn’t know was possible. Here are examples: Hotels and airlines spend $$$ on proprietary scent in an effort to enhance your experience and recall. Did you know that many overweight individuals have poor taste receptors? Or that many lean individuals have high smell receptors? I had NO idea that music type, tempo, and decibel level can 1) impact how you perceive the taste of certain foods and wines or that hip-hop does a better job of aging certain types of cheese vs classical or jazz? Me either. Did you know that when it comes to air travel, you are better off (more satisfied) ordering an entree that is umami or tomato based? True story. Give this book a listen, it’s impossible to come away feeling like you didn’t learn something new, fun, and unexpected. Have fun, I did.

34 people found this helpful

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Wrong narrator. Good book.

Like trying to enjoy fine food with head banger music in the background, the narrator is shrill and consistently pronounced the overused word “satiety” incorrectly every single time. The book itself is really well written and very interesting.

9 people found this helpful

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Engaging food & drink trivia

Content was a balance of common sense and bizarre facts — so many chuckles. The narrator did an incredible job of delivering the content in an engaging manner. And I will apply some of what I learned when entertaining. Great listen!

7 people found this helpful

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Practically nothing about food itself.

This book was loaded with tips on how to give the appearance that food tastes different. While it may be interesting for food marketers, I was hoping for more information on how to create actually better food. The narrator was fine, but seemed a bit monotonous by the end, trying to make every chapter sound like it was the most important.

6 people found this helpful

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really interesting

I learned a lot listening to this book. I look forward to experimenting and putting some of this into practice. Great narration as well.

5 people found this helpful

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A guy speaking in a woman voice

Great book. But I have to say it is very confusing that a guy is telling the stories in a woman’s voice. LOL

5 people found this helpful

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I usually don't review

Wow, wow, wow. I've spent the last almost ten years as a server in fine dining and I wish I had this book when I started. I have spent the last four days quoting this to my friends and family and will definitely listen again when I'm getting ready to host a party. If you are at all interested in food, drink, or psychology give it a listen, you won't be disappointed.

4 people found this helpful

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Actionable info

This book presents ideas you can use to improve the dining experience in your home.

4 people found this helpful

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You know that "equal time for all ideas" fallacy?

Well, this book is unfortunately a textbook case.

Intermingled with interesting and what seem to be reasonably well researched tidbits are these bizarre leaps into illogicality. I listened all the way through out of quasi-morbid curiosity, hoping that perhaps, the next leap, would be the leap home. :-)

Also, pronunciation! Fungible! Nigiri! :-)

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"study"

Some of the "studies" sound like they are made up at worst and thought up by grade school kids at best. Save time and listen to dorito effect or omnivores dilemma instead of this.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Alan L. Brunton
  • 11-18-20

excellent

What a wonderful exploration into the popular science surrounding what we eat and why. Covering things like how sound, light and smell, and how they all effect the concept and enjoyment of food. Why oh why can I not now but this as a book, to keep as a reference?! I went straight on Amazon to buy a couple of copies as I know a couple of people who would love this. Please make it available as a paper book!

6 people found this helpful

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  • Andrzej Lengiewicz
  • 11-18-22

Absolutly amazing!

Before this book, I would never expect that it could be difficult to stop listening to a book about food and drink.
Brilliant content, delivered in a very engaging and at the same time light way. So many helpful and often surprising tips.
Fantastic job!
Any chance to have this gem in a printed form?

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  • Catherine Ferraz
  • 03-27-22

Fantasy

Very amusing and informative topics from cigars to simple gestures with lots of humor. Great listen, highly recommended.

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  • Gigi
  • 02-27-22

Pointless

Did you know that taste is mostly smell? Revolutionary! Rehashed “research” not very original or insightful. Also repetitive.

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  • Josephine
  • 06-03-21

A real corker

Fascinating insight into what affects our experiences with food and drink. I have recommended it to foodie friends who are also loving it.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-10-22

Changed the way I think about food

Highly recommend this book to anyone who loves food and drink and wants to improve their experience. Very informative. and I will definitely be incorporating these techniques into my every day life. My mind was blown!