Lyn E. Ayre © 2019
Today, I’m grateful for my sense of smell. To that end, I’ve written a short article with a sniffing exercise.
Allow an hour for this exercise. Write down how you’re feeling right now.
You’re going on a scent journey through your own kitchen cupboards. You don’t need to have essential oils in order to enjoy the aromas around you.
Gather up your ingredients: tsp coffee, tsp cocoa, ½ tsp vanilla, a few crushed nuts, any extracts you may have ie: almond, coconut, lemon, and lime; or the lemon and lime squeeze bottles from your refrigerator, or lemon or lime zest. Add a small piece of any fruits you have on hand, OXO cubes or gel packs of umami aroma, and butter. Perhaps you have fragrant flowers or plants close by. Add a sprig of lavender, some rose petals, potted herbs sprigs, and a flowering jasmine vine. You get the idea.
Sniff one at a time, and jot down any ideas or memories that come to you. Hold two of them together, and do the same.
How you feel now? Are you inspired by any of these scents? Do you have some seashells or driftwood fresh from the beach? How do they blend with the aroma of the other ingredients that you’re smelling, when you add them to the mix? Add some pine cones, crushed leaves, or twigs from the surrounding forest. In what way do these items transform the blend of aromas? Add a few bits of moss from a lake or nearby river.
This is all that natural perfumery seeks to do… blend the aromas of the natural world, which evokes emotion and memories, into something natural that someone would want to wear.
From this exercise, you can see how closely perfuming and cooking are related. When I cook, I approach it as an olfactory journey. As a matter of fact, dining is truly a journey of the senses – the aroma, the sizzling sounds, the colours, the taste, and how the food is plated (seeing), and the textures presented (touching, feeling it in your mouth). Last night, on my plate were: apple, rutabaga, carrot, ginger; pineapple, onion, pork chop; and red potato. An orchestra played in my mouth; an artist painted.
When we walk in the door at night, the first thing we notice is the smell of our home. Does the dog need a bath, or the trash need to go out? Has some housework happened (cleaning smells – pine/lemon)? What’s cooking for supper? Is my partner in an amorous mood (perfume or aftershave)?
I’m writing this article as I am acutely aware of scent and in my daily round, I find all kinds of people who are not. There is such a cacophony of scent around us, so I suppose some have gone temporarily anosmic as a way of ducking out of the bombardment. But, there are times when this seldom-regarded sense can give us such joy, peace, and feelings of fulfillment. Ever wonder why, for the most part, the bakery or flower shop is at the front of the store?
At what you consider to be the end of this experiment, write down how you’re feeling now. Did you get re-acquainted with your neighbourhood? Watch the sunset on the beach? Make a stew? Bake a batch of cookies? Go on an outing with your grandchildren to collect the stuff of life? I’d be very interested to hear what your sense (scents) of this topic is.