Why do things taste differently raw vs. cooked?


Why do things taste differently raw vs. cooked?

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Cooking is a chemical reaction. Some chemicals are broken down / destroyed /evaporated away by the heat. Others react with each other, fusing together and/or forming new chemicals.

All a “flavor” is is a chemical that activates receptors in your mouth and nose. So when a bunch of chemicals are destroyed and a bunch of new ones are created, the overall flavor can change dramatically.

For example when food “browns” (like toasting bread or searing meat), it’s from the [Maillard Reaction](https://www.compoundchem.com/2015/01/27/maillardreaction/), which happens when sugar reacts with proteins at 140-165C temp. The reaction produces numerous chemicals with nutty, roasted, “burnt”, caramel, and sweet flavours and smells. Think of caramelising onions by frying them at low temp for a long time. The spicy pungent chemicals from raw onions are destroyed and/or evaporated away, while new sweet-tasting chemicals are formed.

Cooking is a chemical reaction. You are literally putting different chemicals in your mouth when the food is cooked compared to when it is raw.