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Smelly Smells and the Smellers Who Smell Them

December 9, 2008

This morning I read a decent piece in the NY Times about a woman who moved to NY after an accident where she pretty much lost her sense of smell. She slowly regained her sense of smell one NY odor at a time. She was lucky to not begin her second odorific journey with the smell of the sewer or a crowded subway car, but with a freshly sliced cucumber one day and garlic the next. She finally arrived in the odorificiousness that is NY at a bagel shop.

The article ended rather abruptly, but overall it was a decent read. I didn’t think much of it until one of my cube neighbors opened her daily bag of microwave popcorn. It might be my least favorite smell in the entire world, and there are two women in my area that cook a bag every flipping day. Seriously, a bag every day? Have they never heard of popcorn lung? It’s not just for factory workers anymore – there is even a law firm devoted to popcorn lung cases!

Smells are closely linked to memory and play a large role in how we taste things. There’s a Pillsbury crescent roll commercial where people click their heels together 3 times, close their eyes, and breath in slowly through their noses. The final image is of a batch of freshly baked crescent rolls, so the reference becomes clear. There’s no place like home – especially when crescent rolls are involved. Fair enough.

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