Friday 11 June 2010

The gift of smell . . .

Apparently we each have our onw distinct smell, which is as unique to ue as our DNA. Our own personal bouquet of scent, which is comprised of our diet, hygiene, health and of course our hormones. My mother always smelled like Ma Griffe perfume when I was growing up. And I can remember as a young girl, tiptoeing into my parent's bedroom just to open my father's top dresser drawer to have a smell inside . . . it always smelled of him . . . the faint scent of leather, tobacco, cork grease (he plays the clarinet) and butterscoth wafers reminding me and making me feel close to him immediately. My Todd has his own scent, and when I pass my hands through his shirts which hang in our wardrobe, I can smell him, even if he is miles away. It is a comforting thing, something which can immediately help me to feel his love across space and time. He is right there with me in an instant.

People's houses have unique smells as well. Some smell like homemade bread and apple pies . . . still others smell of furniture polish, ripening fruit and damp dogs. I can imagine that ours smells like a combination of sugar and spice . . . but I don't really know . . .

We are so used to our own smells, that we can rarely smell them. My grandmother's house always smelled like spice to me when I was small, along with a kind of musty smell that was, in all likelihood, a combination of wood smoke from the stove and the smell of the old oil cloth lino floor.

It's funny how a smell can instantly transport you through time to another place and age. My father's top dresser drawer still smells of him, even though it hasn't been his dresser for many years now, and every once in a while when I am walking through the chemists I will catch the scent of something that reminds me of the hair conditioner I used to use when I was a teenager, and I am instantly taken back to Saturday nights when I was growing up . . . hair washing nights . . . and the basement sink in my parent's home where I would always wash my hair.

On the days my mother baked bread, the smell would assail your senses as soon as you hit the back door stoop, and maybe even a little before. You know that as soon as you opened the door, a nice hot slice would be waiting for you inside, spread with nice cold butter and a tasty smear of peanut butter. Oh what a delicious treat that used to be. The smell of fresh baked bread makes me think of home more than any other scent, and actually I have heard it said that if you want to sell your house quickly . . . just bake bread on the days you have prospective buyers coming in to have a look!!!

I always loved to visit my Aunt Freda during pickling season. Her house always smelled of vinegar and spice at that time. It was a wonderful smell . . . a comforting smell, a homey smell. I was much like her when I had a growing family. I used to make up jars and jars of pickles and jams, starting in the late summer, every year. I can imagine my home smelled much the same in those days. I rarely make pickles or jams anymore . . . with there only being the two of us it would never get eaten . . .

I often stop whatever I am doing during the day, just to smell the air around me . . . the scent of newly cut grass, or the scent of the earth in the garden as I am digging. When I go out to cut herbs for cooking, I like to run my fingers through them first and breathe in their heady scent. Our lavender in the front garden here is just about to burst into bloom any day now. Yesterday I stood by it, running my fingers through it and allowing it's sweet scent to waft up around me . .. just lovely.

I love the smell of pavement just after a rain in the summertime . . . at once hot, and yet still yheilding the smell of the rain. The scent of a newborn babe as it rests it's soft head against your shoulder . . . to bury your face in the neck of a small child and breathe it all in, is heaven on earth to me . . . all milky and baby powdery. I used to love the smell of my son's little sweaty heads when the would come in for their baths on hot summer evenings . . . they smelled of heat, and sand, sweat . . . and . . . little boys . . .

I think we should give ourselves a little gift each day and stop to smell the things around us . . . the sweetness of spring, the smell of a nearby woodland, garden smells, the aroma of toast toasting in our toaster, the smell of our dinner cooking . . . It is a simple pleasure that awaits only us and indulges us with a personal delight . . . food for the heart and the soul . . . mood building and unique only to us. What a gift from above and to think . . . it's ours alone, free for the taking!

Here's a delicious sandwich that smells pretty good when you are making it and the taste . . . well, it's just wonderful!! Low in fat and high on flavour. My favourite combination!!

*Chicken Caesar Sandwich*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

This is a wonderful way to gift yourself with the wonderful taste of a Caesar Salad, wihtout having all the calories of that rich creamy dressing. You can have this on a toasted roll or ciabatta, or like me, tucked into a whole wheat pita bread. You'll love it any and every way!

4 boneless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
cooking spray
6 TBS fresh lemon juice
4 cloves of garlic, minced
4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 healthy dash of Tabasco sauce
2 TBS chopped walnuts
4 tsp grated Parmesan cheese
4 crisp leaves of Romaine lettuce
4 sandwich buns, or rolls or pita breads

Season the chicken pieces well with the black pepper. Heat a dry skillet and then lightly toast the walnuts in it until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove them to a small plate to cool. Spray the skillet with some cooking spray and put back onto the heat.

Once hot, add the chicken and quickly brown it on all sides. Combine the lemon juice, garlic, Worcestershire and hot pepper sauces. Pour this over the chicken in the pan. It will bubble up. Reduce the heat and cover, cooking on low heat for a few minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink inside.

Split your buns, rolls or pita breads in half. (If you like you can toast them.) Place the lettuce leaves on half and top with the cooked chicken. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and toasted walnuts and serve. Delicious!

Perhaps you would rather have a salad today? If so, there is a delicious Turkey Cobb Salad on offer today over on The English Kitchen.


  1. Ah Marie the smells of life. Some are so sweet and others well better left alone. Without smell we cannot taste so this gift is a true treasure.

    I wish you and Todd a wonderful day and I hope that spring flowers brighten your day.

  2. Marie you have a great sniffer. i agree... I think everything has a specific smell...or there are smells that triggers memories. I can smell in my mind my Great Grandmothers perfume...she wore White Shoulders, my Grandpa's Cherry tobacco from his pipe, the musty smell of an old trunk, etc... I enjoyed this post immensely. thanks for sharing your thoughts.Mica

  3. What a delightful post! I especially love the first picture, and the recipe will definitely have to be tried out.

  4. I can only imagine that your house smells of yummy goodness!
    Mine is currently filled with that "new puppy" smell. :)

  5. I'm a "smeller" too, Marie...I'm always stopping and sniffing! Scent fascinated me and how it plays such a big role in our lives and well-being. Scent and taste are so interconnected especially, so it would be hart to imagine life without these wondrous sensual abilities. Wonderful ways with chicken & turkey today... I remember the scent of your place in Kent. I hope to get so smell your new place in Chester on day! :o) Very much looking forward to talking to you this weekend... Hope you & Todd have a great on. My hubby has to work a few hours both day, but hoping there'll be time for some fun. Oh, I'm celebrating my blogiversary this weekend with a little gift giveaway--stop by if you can. :o)
    LOVE YOU HEAPS, dear friend! ((BIG HUGS))

  6. I am grateful for each of the five senses, and smell is right up there amongst my favorites. I ahve been told mine is acute for discovering scents others cannot smell. What a beautifully writtena dn thoughtful post!
    I loved the pictures and yummy recipes too.
    May you have a perfectly wonderfull day filled with all kinds of pleasures. Mine would be a visit to your home for lovely smells of sugar and spice!~♥

  7. Oh yes, the new puppy smell - beautiful! Blind as a bat without my specs, deaf as a post sans hearing aids but I have a wizard sense of smell. I can even smell if tea or coffee has sugar in it. Thank you Lord!

  8. Beautiful post Marie, I love smell always, coffe, hierbs,chocolate, babies, rain, etc,etc. lovely post, my dear tomorrow we are going take some tests to Esperanza, please pray specially for her, I know you make. Hugsss amd kisses, Love ya! gloria

  9. Hello dear,
    I too am sensitive to smells. They take me back in time also. I'll get a sniff of this or that and away I go in my past memories. I really don't remember much of anything about my grandmother. I saw her last when I was 7. I remember that she was kind but not much else.... but a while ago I got a sniff of some kind of soap while I was in a store and immediately it took me back to sitting in the bathtub in my grandmother's house. I was truly amazed because I didn't even remember taking a bath at my grandmother's until I smelled that soap. funny how that works

    I am sorry that you are still having disturbing dreams about work. I understand. I still have bad dreams about school. Not happy about that.... oh well... I am glad that we are both away from our stressful jobs.

    I send love, Lura

  10. the smell of freshly baked bread is the best! just imagining the smell makes me want to go bake some! i probably won't. but i want to:)


Your comments mean the world to me, and while I may not be able to address each one individually, each one is important to me and each one counts. Thanks so much!