The authors investigate regional variations in culinary culture by constructing a flavor network of food ingredients, based on shared flavor compounds, and comparing this network to recipe data. They show that Western and Eastern cuisines differ in their compound sharing patterns. The findings show, in particular, that only Western cuisines support the hypothesis that foods sharing flavor compounds are more likely to taste well together. Using additional data the authors investigate the validity of this hypothesis further and suggest a new, more specific version of the hypothesis, which holds for a particular subset of compounds.

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