Sunday, October 08, 2006

Smells I like

I just started dinner a few minutes ago. I'm making a pasta recipe that I haven't made in a few years, and as I started cooking I was overwhelmed with a very pleasant smell memory. The recipe starts with olive oil and chopped onions; after the onions softened I added chopped smoked bacon and garlic. It was heavenly, and the instant I caught the aroma I wondered why I hadn't cooked it in so long. I popped open a couple of beers for me and Miz Bubs (who did a splendid job preparing the front garden and decorating for Halloween) and started thinking about my favorite smells. Smells that make me feel really good, or instantly transport me to another time or place. Tonight's smell of olive oil, onions garlic and bacon is one; a smell that holds the promise of rich meals in a warm home as the days get shorter and the nights get colder. A bunch of my favorite smells are kitchens smells.

Probably my favorite kitchen smell of all is the smell of a roux cooking--the combination of flour and oil browning in a stockpot, right at the moment when you add in chopped onions, peppers and celery. It's a perfect smell, and anyone who's ever been to New Orleans would recognize it.

Nothing beats the smell of strong coffee in the morning, or fresh bread out of the oven. Those are gimmes. Here's some of my other favorite smells:

Inis cologne, the way it smells on the small of Miz Bubs' neck.


The way our upstairs hallway smells after Miz Bubs gets out of the shower.

The smell of the air in the country when you first get out of your tent in the morning.

Swanky casino smell--the smell of upscale joints like the Wynn, Mandalay Bay or the Mirage. It's a wonderful combination of scented air (usually in some vaguely tropical scent redolent of coconut and vanilla) combined with cigarette smoke and hundreds of visitor's colognes and perfumes.

The French Quarter. A riot of the best cooking smells in the world, with a nagging undertone of stale booze and garbage.

Hickory-smoked pork barbecue.

The smell from the Blommer Chocolate plant in Chicago, at least before the pencil necks at the EPA started picking on them. You could smell the cocoa for blocks around in the River North neighborhood.

The smell of an outdoor shooting range.

Peat fires. Especially the smell of a peat fire in an Irish pub.

That's it for now.


Coaster Punchman said...

So Bubs, did you know that the sense of smell has the longest memory of the five senses? That's why one whiff of something from your childhood will whisk you back 20-30 years in a heartbeat.

Bubs said...

No kidding? That makes sense, although I don't feel quite as special now.

lulu said...

My BFF coined a phrase for these, she calls them "smemories" They are powerful, aren't they?

Melinda June said...

I love the smell of fresh rain on pavement. And grass. I really love the smell of grass.

Bubs said...

Oh yeah, I forgot those, they're both favorites too: not just rain in general, but especially the smell in the air just before a thunderstorm hits.

Bubs said...

I just thought of a follow-up: smells I don't like. That could get grisly.