I stumbled across Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach and thought it was going to be about eating. Well, it was… but it was about so much more as well.

What seemed initially to be a book eating encompasses so much more.  Gulp is all about the alimentary canal. This is a system that begins at the point where food is consumed (mouth) and ends where solid waste is expelled (anus.)

She moves you along the trek from the effect that taste has on what we eat all the way do to waste elimination. In that journey, she spares no “ick” factor. Whether she is explaining the science of crunch as a way to ensure we don’t eat old food to the taboo of flatulence, nothing is off limits. She even analyzes the science of Jonah being swallowed by a whale and Elvis dying on the toilet.

If talking about the science of things like fecal transplant or eructation (burping) doesn’t turn you away, you will love this book. Roach does a wonderful job as our guide along this journey, educating us with equal parts science and humor. Take a bite – you’ll love it.

by Chris Doelle

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