It was reported early this week that the allure of bacon is caused by a chemical reaction. Elin Roberts, a science communications manager at the Centre for Life education centre in Newcastle, says that people are attracted to bacon because of a reaction with amino acids and reducing sugars while the bacon is cooking.
Ms Roberts said: “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”.
Roberts explains that itâ€™s a perfect storm of smells and flavors that draw us to the frying of bacon.
“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.”
She says itâ€™s called it a Maillard reaction when the reducing sugar reacts with the amino acids at a high heat. Donâ€™t worry I had to look up that word on Wikipedia too.
Bacon lovers already knew that the allure of bacon was deeper then just a love of good food. I just hope now that this information is out I will stop hearing the question, â€œWhy Baconâ€?
If I still do I will answer, â€œWell you see, there are amino acid and reducing sugars in bacon. At a high temperatures this starts a Maillard reaction thatâ€¦.â€
Well you get the point. I think most people would just walk away after I say the words Maillard reaction. Which is a good thing, because then I could get back to enjoying bacon.