Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Sense of Smell

It's remarkable how smells can be so evocative.

As we walked the garbage out to the curb this evening, our hyacinths were blooming and when I bent to smell them - bang - there I was on my grandmother's farm fifty years ago smelling them for the first time.

I'm sure this has happened to you as well. Not about my grandmother's farm, perhaps, but you know what I meant. How easily all the other senses and memories are brought out by just the right smell. I passed someone a few years ago who was wearing English Leather cologne for heaven's sake.

Where did he get it? Do they still make that stuff or has he kept it in his drawer under his socks for fifty years and brought it out for a special occasion? Whatever it was, it took me right back to my senior year of high school when my friends and I would put on a sport jacket and tie and go down to the upscale hotels like the Eden Roc and Fontainebleau on Miami Beach and scout out the young ladies who had been dragged down there by their parents. We were more than happy to serve as their entertainment directors and we had to at least smell like we bathed regularly, hence the English Leather.

The first few warm days of Spring warm up the earth and you get that earthy smell that makes you want to go stick your hands in it and plant something and get dirt under your nails and kneel down in it and I would, too, if I still had knees. And speaking of my grandmother's farm - actually it was my grandfather's farm, too. Hmm, I wonder why we say that? "I'm going to my grandmother's farm." "I'll be over at my mom's house." What? The men are chopped liver?

OK, at my grandparent's farm, they had a dairy barn - that's it up there on the left - that had a smell I had never experienced growing up in Miami. It was cow manure and hay and milk and cows and dirt and feral cats and chickens all mixed together and it was great. It was like life itself in one smell. I would recognize it instantly if I could smell it again, and believe me, I would drive a long way for the privilege.

Smell also contributes a lot to taste and I carry the burden of being a supertaster. Oh, haven't heard of that one, huh? Well, a supertaster has more than their share of tastebuds. And it is a burden. People have looked at me funny all my life because I'm such a 'picky' eater. It turns out I'm picky because I taste things differently than most people. By differently, I mean overpowering, overly bitter or just plain bad.

An example would be hot peppers that people use to 'bring out the flavor of the food'. All that stuff does for me is mask any real food flavor because all I taste is the hot pepper. Nowadays, I please myself, you guys don't know what I'm tasting.

Which brings out the universal sense question. How do we know the color blue looks the same to everyone (for example). We know some people are color blind and that proven variation demonstrates the possibility that there may be ranges of 'blue' for different people just as there are ranges of taste for different people. We're all different or as the poster says "We are all unique, just like everyone else."

So, don't get upset if your child is a 'picky' eater. You don't know what they're tasting. And furthermore, you don't know how you appear to them either. What do you think of that?

But I bet my grandparent's farm looked good to everyone.


Dave said...

The farm looks great to me!

Leah Kleylein said...

plus maybe the food they are eating is spoiled, like for instance, oh I don't know, a milkshake made with spoiled milk????

Your grandma's farm looks so wonderful. I know that barn smell and love it too - there was a ghost of it in the barns at Hegins where I used to play

debbie said...

I love the way farms smell.

Leah will never let us forget the spoiled milkshake!!! lol