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The beloved smell of British chips may be attributed to aroma facets such as butterscotch, cocoa, onion, cheese and even ironing board, according to research conducted by scientists from the University of Leeds, University of Reading and Leeds Metropolitan University. The work, conducted as part of National Chip Week 2009, featured a GC/MS analysis of the aroma collected from cooked chips. Those compounds that could be detected by the human nose were sniffed, and the type and strength of smell recorded.
The researchers found that chips that are cooked twice have more complex aromas comprising bitter cocoa, butterscotch, cheese, earthy potato, onion and floral impressions. The research also showed that the relationship between the potatoes, the oil, the temperature and cooking, as well as adding condiments or other foods, affects the aroma profile of the chips. Further, findings on the consumer perception of chips suggested that while men prefer taste and texture, women view aroma as a more important aspect.
Of the findings, Graham Clayton of the University of Leeds said, “Like a fine perfume, chips can be made up of different aroma combinations, so there is always something for everyone and every occasion … Perhaps these findings will see chips treated like wine in the future.”