The Science Of Leftovers: Why They Taste SO Good

Something really weird happens between the time you put your dinner in the fridge and the time you heat it up the next day. Once heavenly fried chicken deflates into a soggy mess; perfect salad wilts; even basic pasta turns into dense sludge…

Well, foods that do improve have an important commonality; they include a multitude of ingredients each one with distinct aromatic properties – such as onion, garlic, peppers, herbs. Basically, these are anything that adds flavor to a dish. During the cooking process, there are a certain number of reactions that take place concurrently in a very complex setting. Aromatic ingredients tend to undergo a larger number of reactions that produce flavor and aroma compounds which in turn react with the proteins and the starches. In general, as the food cools and is left to sit in the fridge, and then re-heated, some of these reactions continue to take place resulting in improved flavor. For example, a plain omelet refrigerated and then reheated will likely taste no different from a fresh plain omelet, but, an omelet cooked with onions, garlic, pepper and broccoli will have a distinctly different and more flavorful taste.

Source: The Science Of Leftovers: Why They Taste SO Good