The Flavor Equation: Deep Dive into Emotion and Taste


Nik Sharma

Hey Friends, I’m a multi-award-winning and best-selling cookbook author and photographer.

With six weeks left until my new cookbook, The Flavor Equation, comes out, it’s time to not only give you a taste of what to expect (no pun intended!) but to take you on a journey to explore what I’ve identified to be the six components that make up Flavor. From today until October 27th, I’ll take a closer look at each element that makes up The Flavor Equation: Emotion, Sight, Sound, Mouthfeel, Aroma, and Taste. Plus, I’ve created special bonus content and partnered with some amazing brands to amplify each element and immerse you in the experience. Excited? I am too. Keep reading to find out more.


I’m kicking it off with the two fundamental components of The Flavor Equation: Emotion and Taste. Much of what we do in the kitchen and at the table is experimentation, not only with aroma and taste senses but also with what we see and hear and the emotions they trigger. Some of my behaviors are tied to memory; others might be explained by evolution and genetics. I avoid cooking or writing recipes for the Indian squash doodhi, bitter melons (karela), or turnips, nor will I eat excessively ripe bananas, not only because I strongly dislike the texture, smell, and taste of these foods, but also because my parents forced me to eat the first two vegetables as a kid—which scarred me for life. As an adult, I exercise my free will by avoiding these foods.

I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say 2020 has been a rough year for all of us. During this time, I’ve found myself turning to sweet and tart lemon ice cream, crispy dosas, and ripe sweet peaches on top of bowls of warm rice pudding–comfort foods that evoke a sense of familiarity. The flavors of these ingredients trigger memories woven with happiness and comfort, a much-needed experience right now.

Over time, what you eat and the flavors you experience transform into a repository of flavors that can evoke various emotional responses. Our brain pays careful attention and files away memories of these reactions. This learning process between flavors and emotions is constant.

I developed more than 100 recipes for The Flavor Equation that I’ll forever associate with creating this cookbook. Inevitably though, I had to pull some recipes for space reasons. It was hard to choose which ones to let go of, but luckily I could hold on to them to still share with you today. When you pre-order The Flavor Equation and share your information on this page, you’ll get immediate access to those 8 BONUS RECIPES. You can start cooking and get a taste of what’s to come while you wait for the book to arrive in October (I told you it wasn’t a pun)!

Also, share pictures of the dishes you make on Instagram while you wait. I always love seeing the reactions to my recipes, and when you use #TheFlavorEquation and tag me, @abrowntable, plus @chroniclebooks @caoliveranch @spiceology and @staub_usa, you’ll get a chance to win a collection of some of my favorite kitchen products that I use at home and also in The Flavor Equation. More info here, and I’ll be sharing more about this in the coming weeks.

The Flavor Equation | Nik Sharma (2020) Giveaway

While many of you have your favorite places to order online, I wanted to make you aware of Ordering through helps independent bookstores all across the country generate online sales, especially when many indie bookstores rely on the foot traffic that’s been down due to the pandemic. In addition, I’m donating all the revenue from my affiliate link with to Feeding America. I support Feeding America because they’ve been on the ground doing their best to provide food and meals to more than 40 million people a year. That number, unfortunately, is increasing as we face COVID and the wildfires in California (where I live). Through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and by supporting programs that minimize food waste and improve food security, Feeding America is working hard to solve hunger, which I admire and respect.

Of course, you can also order directly from indie bookstores. Some of my favorite bookstores below provide SIGNED COPIES via bookplates’ magic.

That’s all I have for you this week, and I hope you enjoyed your first stop on the journey through Flavor. I can’t wait to hear what you think about the bonus recipes, and I hope you’ll join me in supporting indie bookstores and Feeding America. Lots more to come, so be sure to subscribe to my newsletter if you aren’t already and follow me on Instagram.

For more details, visit NIK SHARMA AT CHRONICLE BOOKS

The Flavor Equation by Nik Sharma (2020)

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Order your copy of the best-selling James Beard nominated cookbook, The Flavor Equation.