Thursday 12 January 2012

All about smell . . .

Source: via Marie on Pinterest

"Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived." ~Helen Keller

There is something really special about smells. They have the power to grasp your mind and take you back to any memory in your experience. They can make you feel really safe, or afraid . . . sometimes comfortable and sometimes sad.

My old wooden spoon has absorbed the smell of many a year, and . . . no matter how many times it has been washed and scrubbed, time's compelling odour abounds. The smell of garlic, onion and tomato paste permeate it and whisper golden memories of evenings shared with loved ones now living miles and miles apart.

The smell of molasses cookies baking always takes me back to my grandmother's ample lap and the feeling of warmth and love as I cuddled there . . . the creak of her rocking chair and the crinkling sound of her kitchen linoleum as someone walked across it.

One time when my oldest son was a baby, I opened a bottle of gripe water and was instantly transported back to a time that was long hidden in the recesses of my mind. It is very hard to describe the feeling . . . but I remembered the taste and I felt comforted and safe . . .

Occasionally when I am in a chemists, I will encounter an elusive smell that I can't pin down to anything in the shop . . . but that in my memory reminds me of being a teenage girl and getting ready for Saturday night out . . . washing my hair and then using Lady Patricia hair conditioner . . . the pink one . . . it's a smell that makes me feel excited and warm inside, and quite, quite nostalgic. I don't even know if they make Lady Patricia hair conditioner anymore.

The smell of Ma Griffe perfume always takes me back to my mother's bosom and the memory of watching her as she got gussied up to go out for a night on the tiles with my dad. There was always a feeling of excitement in the air and my mother always looked so pretty and my father so handsome. If I close my eyes, I can almost hear the rustle of her crinoline as she brushes past me . . . She would sometimes get the sitter to take a picture of them together, and when I go to visit her now, in her later years, I love to sit and look at the pictures, and remember that same air of excitment.

The top dresser drawer of the high boy dresser in the spare bedroom at my mom's still smells like a combination of leather, tobacco, cork grease and butterscotch wafers, or in other words . . . my dad. He was a consummate clarinetist and used to keep a hidden stash of butterscotch wafers in that drawer along with his cork grease and wallet. He's not been there in that room for a very long time . . . but the smell lingers on and reminds me of secret forays into the forbidden stash of buttery sweetness.

The smell of a turkey roasting carries with it the smells of 56 Thanksgivings and 56 Christmases and all the feelings to go along with them . . . some happy, some sad . . . and everything in between. The love of family and friends . . . loved ones still here and other's long gone . . .

Evening in Paris . . . burning leaves . . . a freshly sharpened pencil . . . a wood fire . . . musty moth balls . . . these smells and others all hold the keys to magical moments in time, known only to me. Little treasures and gems hidden in my mind just waiting for me to take them out and hold them in my hands again, if only for a moment . . .

This is Chris and Tess! Chris served here as a missionary not that long ago and has returned for a short visit. I took this picture when they stopped off here last evening. Chris had been going to stay with us for a few days, but the trial he was a witness at got mis-trialed or some such, in any case . . . they ended up not needing him and so he is flying back sooner, so we only got to spend a few hours with him last night. (Tess is a good friend of his since Grade School and a really nice girl. Just friends folks!) Anyways, it was soooo good to see him and to finally be able to give him a hug now that he is not an Elder anymore and to meet his friend. We enjoyed a nice chat and he sang one of his favourite songs for us by Gordon Lightfoot and it was just lovely. He was always the singing Elder and has a beautiful voice. It was such a nice visit with these great young people. Would have been nice to have him stay a few days, but that's life! I'm sure we'll see him again one day!

I have people coming for lunch today and so I must dash. I do so love having company. I'm doing meat pies and mash, with a salad and soup to start and then for dessert . . . well, you'll just have to wait and see! In the meantime here's a lovely Pavlova which I made earlier . . . a couple of years earlier actually!! Yes, it's one from the archives!

*Classic Pavlova*
Serves 6
Printable Recipe

The fruit used to top a pavlova is largely dependant on seasonal availability, although the classic pavlova is usually topped with mixed berries and some passion fruit pulp. Here I have used fresh raspberries and some raspberry coulis. Delicious! Please note that it is really important that the bowl you use to whip the egg whites up in is scrupulously clean from any grease. I always use a metal bowl as plastic absorbs grease.

4 egg whites
1 cup caster sugar (220g)
1 TBS cornflour
1 tsp white vinegar
300ml thick cream, whipped until soft peaks form (1 1/4 cup)
1 TBS of peach schnapps (Optional)
3 cups fresh raspberries
1 cup raspberry coulis

Pre-heat the oven to very slow, about 120*C/250*F. Cover a greased baking tray with a piece of parchment paper.

Place the egg whites into a small clean dry bowl. Using an electric mixer beat on high speed for about one minute, until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, one TBS at a time, beating well after each addition until the sugar is dissolved. Fold in the cornflour and the vinegar.

Spoon the resulting meringue into a round shape on the prepared baking sheet, about 20cm in diameter. Level the top of the meringue with a rubber spatula.

Bake, uncovered, in the slow oven for about 1 ½ hours or until the meringue feels firm and dry to the touch. Turn the oven off and open the oven door. Leave the oven door ajar to cool the meringue slowly in the oven.

Remove the cooled meringue from the oven. Place it top side down onto a serving plate and carefully peel off the parchment paper.

Fold the peach schnapps into the softly whipped cream and spoon it onto the top of the bottom side of the meringue. Scatter the raspberries over the top and then drizzle with about half of the raspberry coulis.

Serve immediately, cut into slices with the rest of the raspberry coulis on the side so that people may add more if they wish.

Cooking in The English Kitchen today, The Ultimate Nachos!

“Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God's love encompasses us completely. ... He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken.”
― Dieter F. Uchtdorf

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