Unraveling the Mysteries of Repulsion by Rachel Herz
Casu marzu is made in Sardinia by adding fly larvae to sheep’s cheese and allowing the concoction to rot. It is eaten with thousands of little maggots still squirming inside it.
Disgusting? Not to the Sardinians who find it delicious with a nice strong glass of red wine. And it’s the same for many other sights, sounds and smells: What’s disgusting is in the queasy stomach of the beholder. Herz, a research psychologist specializing in the sense of smell, set out to understand the science behind disgust after being tapped to judge the National Rotten Sneakers Contest in Montpelier, Vt., and finding it not as bad as she had expected. She becomes the reader’s brave guide to all kinds of topics that are normally avoided.