字幕表 動画を再生する 英語字幕をプリント There are a lot of sins that a cook can commit in the kitchen but perhaps one stands out above all others: Boiling a perfectly nice hunk of meat. I'll take my steak seared, my chicken roasted and my bacon fried to a crisp. But boiled? Boiling water never gets above 212 degrees. We're going to need more than that to trigger what's called the Maillard Reaction: the chemical roller coaster that both browns meats and creates so many of the flavor compounds that we find so delicious. The reaction is named after the French chemist, Louis Camille Maillard who in 1912, described how sugars and amino acids will combine to create aromatic compounds that also happen to pack a lot of flavor. Since then, other chemists have found that the Maillard Reaction creates thousands of different flavor compounds. The specific compounds that you end up with depend on cooking time and temperature as well as the kinds of sugars and amino acids that you add to the reaction. Thiopenes, for example, are sulfur-containing compounds that have a distinctly meaty quality whereas oxazoles are oxygen-containing compounds that have a nutty or sweet taste. Some Maillard Reaction products don't do much on their own, but enhance other flavors. Alapyridaine, for example, makes meats taste meatier, sweets sweeter and salts saltier. You may wonder, "Why have humans evolved to enjoy the particular compounds "that result when meat meets heat?" While we can't go back to ask early humans about their taste preferences, we do know that cooking not only kills potentially harmful microorganisms, it also makes foods easier to digest allowing us to get more nutrition out of a meal. No wonder that the chemical combination of sugar, protein and heat tastes so delicious. For Scientific American's Instant Egghead, I'm Michael Moyer.