[ELI5] Why does everything turn black when it is cooking/burnt.

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[ELI5] Why does everything turn black when it is cooking/burnt.

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Most organic material, like foods are carbon-based.

When you burn things, I think you’re reducing them to the carbon.

Carbon blocks light in every arrangement except diamonds. When you burn something, it’s mostly just the carbon that gets left behind, as all the other elements get turned into gasses, and the remaining carbon is randomly organized. Hence, light-blocking clumps of carbon.

Virtually all plant and animal matter contains carbon.

Carbon melts at a very high temperature compared to everything else, so when you cook food the water and various other things evaporate and break down leaving the black carbon behind.