Cooking Louisiana  -  The Maillard Reaction
The Maillard Reaction is not the name of the next new sci-fi movie but could be if you read the science behind it. As you know from watching Alton Brown on Food Network there is a science associated with all forms of cooking. You and I just take things for granted when we cook by following recipes; in other words the science precedes us and we don't have to study it to be able to cook.

The Maillard Reaction takes its name from a scientist named Louis-Camille Maillard. The reaction is the result of browning meat and baking bread to name a few affected foods. The Maillard Reaction in short not only changes the color but changes the flavor of the food we're cooking and can usually only happen with heat at around 310ºF. When you make toast or bake bread you want a nice browning; that browning is the Maillard Reaction. Same thing applies to a nicely seared steak or roast. The flavor of the food will also be changed normally to the better.

So my point is this... next time your unscientific self is browning something just tell the guests you've put the Maillard touch to it. And if you study enough you can explain the science behind it... for me... just brown the stuff and eat.

If you're interested in more on this you can find it on the web here