Bacon sandwiches get winning taste, smell from chemical reaction in the meat

April 6th, 2009 - 12:19 pm ICT by ANI  

London, April 6 (ANI): Bacon sandwiches derive that winning combination of taste and smell from a complex chemical interaction in the meat, according to a study.

Elin Roberts, science communications manager at the Centre for Life education centre in Newcastle, attributes the appeal of the bacon sandwich to the reaction between amino acids in the bacon and reducing sugars in the fat.According to her, the chemical changes occurring while the bacon is heated are more important than other variables, such as brown sauce distribution or toaster settings.

She describes this reaction as the Maillard reaction, a chemical reaction between an amino acid and a reducing sugar which often requires heat.

The researcher has learnt that the acid and sugar react to release a huge amount of smells and flavours.

“The smell of sizzling bacon in a pan is enough to tempt even the staunchest of vegetarians. There’s something deeper going on inside. It’s not just the idea of a tasty snack. There is some complex chemistry going on,” the Telegraph quoted her as saying.

“Meat is made of mostly protein and water. Inside the protein, it’s made up of building blocks we call amino acids. But also, you need some fat. Anyone who’s been on a diet knows if you take all the fat from the meat, it just doesn’t taste the same. We need some of the fat to give it the flavour.

“Fats mean that there are some reducing sugars in there as well. When it’s really hot - that’s when the Maillard reaction starts,” she added.

While the chemical reaction releases hundreds of smells and flavours, Elin says that it is the smell that reels in the eater.

“Smell and taste are really closely linked. If we couldn’t smell then taste wouldn’t be the same,” she said. (ANI)

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