Kitchen Chemistry: Something smells…

Why food can smell good or bad

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Peg on noseHave you ever tried to guess what’s for dinner – just by taking a sniff?

Every single smell is packed with chemistry.

Foods release tiny odour molecules. Deep inside our noses are special sensors called ‘olfactory receptors’, which detect the molecules and pass signals to the brain. The brain is SO clever, it can identify what the food is from these signals – and can even tell us if the food is good or bad.

Have you ever sniffed milk that’s gone off? Not nice is it? But the smell of something yummy – like roast chicken, can make our tummies rumble! So smell helps us work out what’s safe to eat. And what might make us sick!

Smell can even affect the taste of food – which is one reason why things taste bland when you’ve got a cold. Those special sensors are covered in snot!

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