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A&E >  Food

Thank Hydrogen Sulfide For That Popcorn Flavor

Laura Beil The Dallas Morning N

Remember this the next time you rip open a freshly nuked bag of microwave popcorn: You’re really getting a whiff of rotten eggs.

New research into the most potent chemicals that give microwave popcorn its flavor has found that hydrogen sulfide is one of the main odorous gases produced during popping. In another incarnation, hydrogen sulfide is responsible for eau de rotten eggs.

The difference is the company it keeps. More than 90 compounds are thought to give popcorn its taste. Popcorn research published recently by Dr. Ron Buttery (no kidding) from the U.S. Department of Agriculture investigated the most important compounds that give the beloved snack its flavor. Hydrogen sulfide proved to be among the most important.

But popcorn’s 90 flavor chemicals are a simple recipe compared with the more than 500 that make chocolate taste like chocolate. The formula for milk chocolate turns out to be a delectable blend of chemicals that smell like mushrooms, soap, dirt, potato chips, cucumbers, cooked meat and mothballs.

Bon appetit.

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Laura Beil The Dallas Morning News

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