We've all had the experience: it's a lazy Saturday morning and as you slowly blink your eyes awake, it hits you -- "Is that the smell of BACON?!"
Just what is it about this beloved breakfast food that makes it smell so darn good?
It turns out that roughly 150 separate organic compounds contribute to bacon's unique aroma. So says a new video from the American Chemical Society, which teamed up with the chemistry blog Compound Impact to unravel bacon's secrets. Just check it out above.
Cooking up bacon initiates two key chemical processes. The bacon's fat breaks down, and, in what's called the Maillard reaction, its sugars and amino acids react with one another. These processes yield hydrocarbons, aldehydes, ketones, alcohols, and other compounds that give rise to the familiar aroma.
"It just may be nitrogen-containing compounds that make bacon smell like nothing else in the universe," the video's narrator says, referring to compounds called pyridines and pyrazines. "Pyridines in bacon contribute to its meaty aroma. But combine them with hydrocarbons, aldehydes and other odor compounds, and they become the major contributor to bacon-y goodness."
Makes you want to pig out!