Today as I walked through downtown Bellevue with my dog Monty, we passed a hedge of rosemary bushes. I smelled them before I saw them, my nose twitching with delight much as does Monty’s when he scopes out something new. Instantly my tastebuds were hankering for warm focaccia bread dipped in olive oil and aged balsamic. I faceplanted into the shrub, inhaled deeply the glorious, woodsy, herbalicious fragrance, then exhaled a contented smiling sigh.
Food and food smells are such powerful triggers, transporting us to a dreamlike state and even evoking sentimental memories. For me, some of the most comforting food smells are rosemary, basil, smokiness, and freshly-baked bread. Best of all, though, is the aroma of trinity after sauteing it into a roux while making gumbo. The darker the roux, the better. And by the way, if you haven’t had my gumbo yet, call me. You don’t know what you’re missing. Honestly.
The list of comforting food smells could go on and on, and I’m sure you have your favorites as well. Bacon probably ranks up there, yes? Cinnamon and cloves that remind us of grandmother’s apple pie. Warm chocolate chip cookies (baking these actually helped me sell my first house).
We know eating is a sensory experience with aromas just as important as taste and looks. So next time you’re out for a stroll, take time to stop and smell the rosemary. Perhaps you’ll dream yourself over to a Tuscan cafe, dining with Giuseppe, and sopping up that last lick of olio with your focaccia. Buona mangia!