How do we know what “food” smells like?

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I’m not talking about remembering smells. Like how you smell food that you don’t recognize but somehow you *know* it’s food. Do all living things have a specific basic scent that we can smell, like some carbon-based fragrance that is emitted? And is this shared by all animals, or are there many “living thing” scents.

In: Biology

Most food you can smell from a distance is cooked. It often includes spices that your brain can recognize from previous encounters or the chemicals in meat that tell you the meat is safe to eat.

Part of it is hardwired into our brains as humans and part of it is remembering smells in your subconscious. Children often smell food and think it’s disgusting and then like it as adults. Take coffee for example, children don’t know based on smell it’s a safe drink for humans. Only until they try it do they understand that.