Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dr. Devin J. Rose

and why I may never eat microwave popcorn again.  (Or theatre popcorn, either.)  There are a lot of attributes that I love about the man I married.  One of the first qualities that I ever noticed about him is that he is smart.  Especially in his field of study, which is food chemistry.  He is always amazing me with the random factoids he knows about the food we eat, and at times it amazes me that he is still willing to eat foods given what he knows.  (Granted, there are a lot of foods that he won't eat... but that's a different story.)

To give you an example of what I mean, let me share with you a conversation we had tonight.  If you have a weak stomach with topics related to diapers or if you really love popcorn, please disregard this post.

Amy, "You know, I've decided that Hanna's dirty diapers smell a lot like microwave popcorn."

Devin, "Well, that's because one of the major scent compounds in buttered popcorn and dirty diapers is the same thing."

Amy, "What? Seriously.  What?"

Devin, "I am serious.  Butyric acid is a major scent component of baby poo and it is also in buttered popcorn.  Along with diacetyl, butyric acid gives the popcorn it's distinctive flavor."

He went into much more of an explanation, including the history of buttered theatre popcorn and what they use to flavor their popcorn with these days, than I am going to post here, but if you are interested, just let me know.   
This is the chemical structure of butyric acid.

Devin assures me it is just the smell that is the same, the taste would not be at all similar, because the flavor compounds are different in popcorn and baby poo.  Rest assured on that.  (Devin also wants me to mention that baby poo will probably make you sick.  Do not eat it.)

And, just out of curiosity, have any other mothers noticed this similarity in smell?  I think I only noticed it because I haven't had microwave popcorn in years but I recently enjoyed a bag.  So I of course, smelled it then.  I also haven't changed a newborn's diaper in years, but I am recently enduring that as well, and am definitely smelling it...


  1. I've always liked the old fashioned way of popping corn in a pan and using real butter. Now I can back up my chubby mama causing popcorn desires with solid science! Thanks Ames! Baby poop aside, I think I'm hungry ...

  2. When I was pregnant with Annibelle Peter wasn't ever allowed to eat popcorn because it smelled like dirty diapers to me. More like wet ones, but still, GROSS! Now I pop my own and it smells and tastes great!

  3. I'm so glad you agree. I notice it ALL THE TIME. The Colletts are major microwave popcorn enjoyers, and I can smell it coming down from upstairs. And at first I kept checking Jill for dirty diapers, and then I started to notice that when there was the "fake-out" dirty diaper smell, there was also microwave popcorn. Well, I'm glad there is a reason for it. Devin is very smart. (And I love that he felt it necessary to add the bit about not eating baby poop. One of my friends did walk in to discover his son (in the short time of alone time) had discovered a way to open their diaper trash can and already had opened one and put poop in his mouth. Why why why do babies put EVERYTHING in their mouths?)

  4. Ok, first, I haven't laughed so hard in a LONG time, because had you NOT included that disclaimer, someone very well may have tried tasting baby poop. My husband is a Chemistry major himself, so I'm always hearing crazy factoids.

    I'm a fan of Kettle Corn and haven't noticed the smell, but next time I'll check!!