The Sceptical Chymist | Blogroll: Tasty chemistry

Published in Chemistry

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Editor’s note: As we continue to invite bloggers out there in the wild to compose our monthly Blogroll column, Joseph Meany penned the April 2015 column.


Chemistry usually conjures up images of sterile or hazardous environments, but there’s a mouth-watering side too.

Almost a quarter of the way through the year, the resolutions that many of us made just a few months ago are probably starting to lose their appeal. Food is almost certainly a focus for many of the promises that we made to ourselves, but we shouldn’t forsake all thoughts of delicious treats.

Esther Inglis-Arkell, writing at i09, describes how chemistry can fool our senses into tasting apple pie even when there is no fruit to be found in the recipe. With some cream of tartar, Ritz crackers and cinnamon, you can create an ‘almost real’ apple pie despite the fact that real apples are just budding in the orchard.

Over at Food Chem Blog, Emily Buehler covers how bread goes stale, including some tips on how to store your bread for maximum shelf-life. Importantly, she also highlights the Twitter hashtag #breadchat for all bread enthusiasts. At the same time, Compound Interest’s Andy Brunning published a handy graphic on the Maillard reaction showing how it affects the flavours, aromas and colours of food during cooking.

Getting out of the kitchen and into the fresh air, Justin Brower at Nature’s Poisons recounts his hijinks with growing horseradish and the chemistry behind why it smells so spicy. He ropes his unwitting father into his experiment and outlines some of the reactions that happen in the plant as it gets turned into a condiment.

Everyone is familiar with cooking and baking on some level and these posts demonstrate that the connection between cooking and chemistry can help to explain basic scientific concepts to a wider audience.

Written by Joseph Meany, who blogs at


[As mentioned in this post, we’re posting the monthly blogroll column here on the Sceptical Chymist. This is the April 2015 article]

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