The Secret to Why French Fries Smell So Good: Ironing Boards?

By Rachel Cernansky | February 10, 2009 3:38 pm

frenchfryguy.jpgWhat’s so enticing about those French fries cooking around the corner? New research from England finds that the aroma of fries is actually a complex combination of scents including butterscotch, cocoa, onion, flowers, cheese and, yes, ironing boards. Commissioned by—seriously—the Potato Council for National Chip Week, the researchers used an “aroma-meter”  (technically a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer) to separate the aroma into its individual compounds, which were then analyzed and recorded.

A new aroma profile was not all the scientists found. The more the chips—ahem, “fries”—were cooked, the more complex they found the aroma to be: Twice-cooked fries often turned up three times the number of “aromatic notes” as batches cooked merely once. No word yet on whether this effect continues for subsequent fryings.

Meanwhile, an aromatic mystery on the other side of The Pond has also been solved: A strange smell that has been wafting around and mystifying New Yorkers since October, 2005—at times even flooding the city’s public information phone lines—has been traced to a plant in New Jersey that processes fenugreek seeds to produce flavors and fragrances. As if New Yorkers needed another reason to hate Jersey.

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Image: Flickr / jetheriot

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Food, Nutrition, & More Food
MORE ABOUT: food, French fries, smells
  • Danorock

    Now if they could only separate the component smells that make up the economic crisis!

  • Uncle Al

    The secret to yummikins is the Maillard reaction: Reaction of pendant amino groups on protein lysine residues with aldehydes and ketones (sugars are good; rancid fat will do in a pinch) and thermal cleavage frees alkyl pyrroles (deliciousness) . To make exceptional beef stew cube the beef (protein and rancid fat; NO SOY, EVER), lightly massage with Kitchen Bouquet (reducing sugars), then surface sear at high heat (Do NOT cook! Do not do it in bulk – hit the surfaces hard then transfer to a waiting bowl until the whole batch is processed). Then kill the heat, add your stock or stewed tomatoes and paste, spices and whatnot, and proceed with slow wet cooking to tenderize the meat. Finally add the veggies and cook unitl tender. Beef stew to die for.

    Doing the same with heavy starch (potatoes) instead of heavy protein gets you neurotoxic acrylamide.

  • get rid of smell

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  • zarry stylik

    this was very helpful!! thank you!!


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