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Tasty stalks

Science has validated what every grandmother knows: Celery makes chicken soup taste better. Tasting the stringy vegetable isn't necessary to enjoy its flavor-enhancing attributes. Tasteless compounds that are captured by the nose actually boost the broth's flavor, Japanese scientists report.

The researchers had previously dissected celery's odor, zeroing in on the compounds that give the vegetable its characteristic smell. In the new study, the scientists selected four of these compounds, known as phthalides, to determine which ones intensified the complex flavor of chicken broth.

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