British chips smell of ... ironing boards: study

26th February 2009, Comments 0 comments

The smell of ironing board was part of the different smells that people identified, say scientists.

LONDON – Britain is famous for fish and chip shops - and now scientists have isolated the chip smells which tempt passersby to buy to include butterscotch, onion - and ironing boards.

The researchers at Leeds University used a process known as gas chromatography mass spectrometry to isolate some 46 different compounds - and asked people to describe what they smell like.

"Ironing board was one that came up," along with butterscotch, cocoa, onion, flowers and cheese, said David Gough, commenting on the study to highlight National Chip Week.

Dr. Graham Clayton suggested that chips, or French fries, should perhaps be treated like wine is in France or Italy, where connoisseurs appreciate its complexities.

"The humble chip doesn't smell of just chips - the aroma is much more complex," he said.

"Perhaps these findings will see chips treated like wine in the future - with chip fans turning into buffs as they impress their friends with eloquent descriptions of their favourite fries."

The way the chips are cooked can be crucial. "The research showed that the relationship between the potatoes, the oil, the temperature and cooking, as well as adding condiments or foods, affects the aroma profile of the chips."

"Like a fine perfume, chips can be made up of different aroma combinations, so there is always something for everyone and every occasion," added Clayton.

"Lightly cooked or undercooked chips were found to contain three simple aromas including bitter cocoa. A little extra cooking was shown to produce a more complex aroma profile, with up to nine different aromatic notes."

AFP / Expatica

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