Cooking

The Science Behind the Bird on Thanksgiving

Would you believe it if I said the sole reason your turkey smells so good is all due to a scientific reaction, called the maillard reaction? Well, it is true! This reaction is also termed the “browning reaction”, because well, it turns food brown!

So how does this reaction work? The reaction works by the reaction of specific simple sugars with amino acids, or proteins. These molecules rearrange, creating hundreds of different chemical structures, which yield a new aroma and flavor.

Baking, roasting, frying or grilling products involve a high heat source which dehydrates the surface of the product quickly. Boiling or steaming a product does not allow for dehydration of the surface of the product, due to the moisture of the water. This inhibits the maillard reaction from occurring. You also don’t smell the fantastic aromas from boiling something like a turkey breast versus grilling a turkey breast! Bring on the grill for me! I like flavorful foods.

Who would’ve thought there would be so much science involved on Thanksgiving! Now you have one extra thing to be thankful for on this day, the maillard reaction!

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