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Food & Cooking
Food Science

Why can you smell hot food better than cold food?

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Wiki User
August 13, 2014 4:06PM

It really comes down to energy. Heat is a form of energy, and if you look at two plates of the same meal and wonder what the differences are, it will be the heat energy exciting the molecules in one and the absence of said activity in the other. The reason hot food gives of a gas is because the heat is causing the molecules in the food to move around which when accelerated enough can form a gas. This can be seen in the evaporation of water when it is boiled. This doesn't mean your food is evaporating only that with sufficient heat the moisture in the food will give off a gas as a result of heat energy exciting the molecules. In Chemistry this would be a transferal of heat energy being turned into kinetic energy, i.e. the movement of the molecules.