150 reasons why bacon smells so good

Why oh why do those salty fried strips have such a hypnotic power over us? Scientists from the American Chemical Society are all over it.

Michael Franco
Freelancer Michael Franco writes about the serious and silly sides of science and technology for CNET and other pixel and paper pubs. He's kept his fingers on the keyboard while owning a B&B in Amish country, managing an eco-resort in the Caribbean, sweating in Singapore, and rehydrating (with beer, of course) in Prague. E-mail Michael.
Michael Franco

Bacon! Bacon! Bacon! Video screenshot by Michael Franco/CNET

Columnist Doug Larson once said, "Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon."


For who among us can resist the smell of those salty strips frying up in a pan, their heavenly smoke tickling our noses and carrying us out of even a deep slumber and into the kitchen?

While I could wax poetically about bacon for a few more paragraphs, this is a blog about sciencey kind of stuff, right?

So instead of lapsing into lyrical prose about the food that's knocked me off the vegetarian wagon not just a few times, I'll instead hand you off to a new video from the American Chemical Society's "Reactions" video series that examines the chemical reasons why bacon releases such tummy-rumbling aromas into the air.

"Turns out there are about 150 volatile organic compounds that contribute to bacon's meaty aroma, many of them hydrocarbons and aldehydes, with some nitrogen-containing compounds thrown in for good measure," the American Chemical Society explains.

I have to go upstairs to the kitchen now. You know why.