The power of the nose and the sensation of smell. They all pass by us from odious odours to appealing aromas. Today’s post focuses on the latter, those memory triggering whiffs of warmth and whimsy.
When I was a kid, my mother cooked. Mothers did that a lot more in those days – they seemed to be less harried than now, but then again I was probably just oblivious to the frantic paddling of feet going on under my mother’s lake. You know that whole gliding swan phenomenon, looks all smooth and in control on top of the lake with the hard work taking place below the glassy surface. I know it’s a different species, but “just keep on swimming….” seemed to be my working mother’s motto. One of my strongest childhood memories is of my mother frying onions. Most European dishes seem to start with the frying of onions. Every time I smell them, I conjure up memories of home, warmth and family. I love the smell of frying onions which together with the sweet sizzling sound envelop me in their promise.
Here’s a list of my other top sensory whiffs and what they conjure for me:
Baking things – is there anything like it? Baking bread is particularly high on the list – so powerful it can sell real estate. Cake and biscuit (cookie) baking also rate highly. These smells are too good just to be contained in the kitchen! Thankfully, there are no calories in odours, so I can indulge until I’m giddy from inhaling. These smells are full of warmth and whimsy and conjure up images of a jolly, robust bakerwoman in a red and white checkered apron.
Coffee beans – Arabica, Kona, Robusta, I’m not fussy as to type, I’ll take any freshly ground coffee bean. Aromatically sensual and warm this smell says friendship and relaxation like no other.
Frangipani – not only a ten in the smelling stakes, but also right up in there in the best dressed flower category. For those of you hungry for facts, frangipani was the name of an Italian perfume used to scent gloves in the 16th century and named after its creator, the Marquis Frangipani. When the frangipani flower was discovered its natural perfume reminded people of the scented gloves, and so the flower was called frangipani. Conjuring up images of Hawaii, hula girls (and boys!), holidays and summer days, the frangipani odour is sweet and whimsical. I can never go past a perfectly formed frangipani fallen on the ground without picking it up. They are hardy trees too. We once had a frangipani growing in a pot which survived the death plunge off our second story balcony and lived to flower the tale.
Fresh Strawberries – if you have ever picked your own strawberries, you’ll know that I mean. When I was young, my family used to travel to the country and pick strawberries from strawberry farms. The smell is sweet but subtle and oh so seductive and brings a promise of sticky juice, sinfully small seeds and yes, whimsy. As a child it was hard to resist not popping the fruit directly into my mouth rather than the picking bucket. Also, being fresh and ripe, no sugar was required. Occasionally I can find that smell in store-bought strawberries, but it’s hit and miss.
As you can tell, I’m a big fan of whimsy….
What smells float your nasal boat?