When Blumenthal hooks himself up to the device and starts chomping on a chocolate-covered digestive, the MS-Nose sends data back to a computer screen, where the levels of flavor released are plotted on a chart.
"We're measuring the biscuity flavor — known as methylbutanol to the boffins" — (that's British slang for science types) — he says during an episode of his show that aired in the U.K. last November.
Methylbutanol is a compound that gives cookies and baked goods a toasty or malty taste. When Blumenthal chews on a dry biscuit, the flavor dutifully registers on the line graph on a screen. But when he then dips the biscuit into tea and takes another bite, the "flavor line" noticeably spikes up on the chart.
"The results are astonishing!" he exclaims. The wet biscuit not only released more cookie flavor, but the aromas also burst into Blumenthal's mouth more quickly
Keener and two colleagues developed and patented the radiant frying system in 2007. The radiant fryer uses infrared energy to produce the appealing crispy exterior unique to fried food.
Sixty-eight panelists were recruited on the basis of age, preference for fried chicken products, and a habit of eating "fast food" at least two times a month. The group consisted of students, employees and visitors of the Department of Food Science. Panelists rated randomly numbered samples of chicken patties on the basis of flavor, crispiness, oiliness, appearance and overall preference.