memory must be in my nose, especially this time of the year. Just a
casual trip to the grocery store, which is starting to resemble a
giant cornucopia, triggers nostalgic flecks of childhood
Thanksgivings and Christmases past. The fragrances are evocative of
seasonal cheer, so why on earth do I break down into sentimental
goo, tearing up when I catch an aromatic trail of rosemary bread,
tamales and cinnamon hot chocolate? Call it culinary aromatherapy,
heavy on the "therapy": I've had a breakthrough moment.
Ebenezer Scrooge didn't need the three Ghosts of Christmas to
get into the spirit of things; he just needed a whiff or two of
nutmeg and vanilla. Chocolate mint would've tamed him in minutes,
and fresh outdoorsy pine would've made him über-jolly.
Supposedly, there's scientific evidence that links memory to
scent, particularly in the most rudimentary parts of our brain -
which, in my case, certainly explains a lot: The family dog and I
both seem to go to the same happy place psychologically when the
holiday turkey's almost done. (Too bad I don't have a tail to
This year for the holiday season, it's my goal to have something
baking or simmering whenever people stop by. Ideally, I suspect
that my house will have the lingering scents of mulled apple cider
or savory seasonings, perhaps a little of both. Either way, if you
see a tail wagging, you'll know you're at the right place.
May your holidays be smelly and bright!