Last summer, one of the neighbor girls had to use my bathroom while playing over here with my sons. Her mom went with her and I heard some giggling and when the mom came out, she told me what her daughter had told her (her daughter was too shy to tell me). She said, "She just loves your house. It always smell so good in here."
I asked her what my house smelled like (I was thinking oh no! Did I forget to clean up the pee misses near the toilet? If you raise boys, you know how that goes ...). The little girl smiled beneath her bangs and said, "Like cookies."
I hadn't baked cookies then for a few days. But I had been baking chocolate zucchini muffins then and I probably had just made a dinner or home-made bread. I am usually making something three/four/five times a week and yes, my house smells. When one come in the hallway from the garage, just before stepping into the kitchen, you will smell my dinner cooking in the crock pot or in the oven. Not only that, the smells will linger for days. I love sauteing onions and mushrooms and peppers and that smell will linger for days throughout the entire house. My spaghetti sauce with fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic, Italian sausages and spices all bubbling in the crock pot for an afternoon in anticipation of dinner at night lingers long after the supper dishes were washed and dried. Even the juicy aromas of homemade jam lingers, prompting the kids to look at the jars lined up on the counter top with glee when they get home from school.
Fortunately for my kids, I do not cook fish. I have never tried to cook fish except once and that was because we were eating the halibut that Mike's dad had caught while on vacation in Alaska. Mike enjoyed it but I didn't and the kids didn't. I have a theory that fish should not be frozen and transported for thousands of miles, thawed out and everyone expect it to taste good ... when all I taste is the metallic aftertaste? No. When I eat fish, I go to expensive restaurants where they fly in the catch of the day ... and serve it without it having it touch ice once and getting freezer burn. I am landlocked, so we don't travel to very many restaurants that serve fresh seafood/fish. (I have delicious memories of eating crabs, lobsters, scallops and shrimp down at the Outer Banks years and years ago ... now that's really good cookin'!)
There is nothing like smelling the bread rising or the smell of bread baking. I have been woken up by the smell of fresh apples and cinnamon when Mike is up making coffee cakes. Two weeks ago, I had made Mike's favorite chocolate cake with Creme De Menthe frosting ... and the entire house smelled like chocolate. Right now, the smell of our grilled cheese sandwiches are lingering in the air. It is the essence of our house ... the meals that I fix lingers long after it has been digested and leftovers put away. Tonight, we plan to make pizza dough from scratch and have pizzas, the boys and I.
There are certain smells that will transport me right back to my childhood. One of them is my mom's linguine dinner or her blueberry pancakes with blueberry syrups. There is the feeling of being well-cared for ... knowing that my mom is baking something wonderful for us to eat and knowing that no matter what happens in the world, my mom will always love me.
I barely remember the taste of my grandma's cookies, but I do remember going to her house on a warm spring day and smelling the sugar cookies she had just pulled from the oven, or the sugar cream pie or even the strawberry pie from the oven ... and her kitchen would smell so sugary sweet, just like her. When she died, I mourned the loss of her kitchen smells almost as much as I mourned the loss of her presence in my life. I just remember the kitchen was the central hub of activity in her house ... even now, as I am typing this, I am remembering her washing the dishes by hand while the pie is in the oven ... and we would talk and laugh.Now that I have my own kitchen and hopefully, my sons will have their own memories of my kitchen smells. Whether it would be blueberry-zucchini breads or chocolate chip cookies or the meals I have cooked ... and hopefully, it will bring the same sense of security to their lives as my mom and grandma's cookings did. I wonder if they'll go into someone's house and decide that they like the smell of that kitchen too ...