Some tastes just fit together perfectly — but why? This month, Scientific American tackles the question with an interactive chart, combining chemical analysis of 381 ingredients with data from over 50,000 recipes. The red lines indicate a shared chemical compound, like the common sugars between an apple and a glass of white wine. The analysis also unearths less expected links, like a surprising number of shared compounds between soybeans and black tea. It's a matter of taste whether those common compounds actually make the foods taste better together, but there's reason to think they do. The underlying research finds that, in European cuisine at least, chefs tend to pair flavors based on shared chemistry.
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