Appears in

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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aroma has long been used by chefs to determine “doneness,” to teach apprentices about the stages of cooking, and to beguile diners with rapturous smells. The aroma of baking bread triggers a visceral, and pleasurable, reaction in most people, and the sense of smell is crucial to the ability to taste. Our olfactory sense couples with our taste buds to communicate flavors to the brain. In an evolutionary sense, aroma developed as a litmus test for the environment. The ability to smell allows us to evaluate danger and distinguish predators from prey. In regard to the foods we eat, aroma is essential for seeking the nutritious while rejecting the toxic or spoiled. See olfaction; sweetness preference; and sweets in human evolution.