I asked my daughter Claire to share her most vivid memories of scent - whether pleasant or unpleasant, and this is what she has written below that has enabled me to vividly recall the little country house that we had as a young family in St. Nom La Breteche and Beynes, France -- both suburbs of Paris. Our houses were modest, but our gardens were a splendid joy of vibrant colors and beautiful smells of nature!:
"I remember while as a small child around 4 or 5, I picked up the aroma of raspberry, blueberry, cherry, peach and apricot crepes drifting upstairs from the kitchen. During the late winter and early spring when the flowers were beginning to blossom in the family garden where the scents of pink, red and yellow roses, tulips, rhododendrons, sunflowers, daisies, lilac and lavender complemented the air.
I also recall the abundant aromatic smell of freshly brewed coffee, an aroma so potent it streamed itself through one story up the entire house. I remember picking up a diverse array of French Vanilla, hazelnut and mocha flavors most vividly mingled with the aroma of scrambled eggs, melted cheese and pan fried bacon."
It was in these two homes that I danced to the music of the Glen Miller Orchestra holding little Claire in my arms. It's where my husband would come home from the bakery with the Galette des Rois on the French Epiphany Day for which all of us, big and small, would dig into the slices of galette to see who would find the little charm inside and be claimed "king" or "queen" and wear the crown. That tradition would bring most of us to when we were all young diving into our boxes of Cracker Jacks to find the prize before gobbling up the goodies. During both of these joyful rituals, the caramel popcorn, and scent of almonds, butter, and puff pastry was wafting up into our olfactory bulb and stored in our long term memory.
As I write this blog today sharing Claire's scent memories with you-- I am taken back to those homes in France that housed so many wonderful memories.
This is why I believe that scent creates memories, and memories foster conversation. Conversations develop connections, and connections create fun!