Sunday, July 24, 2011

Perfume: Daydreaming

The perfume moratorium ends on August 2.

So does, quite possibly, the United States financial system, but let's focus on priorities here: I'll be able to buy perfume.


Image: By Fillette. Wikimedia Commons.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Smell Series: Honeysuckle

I can't store the memory of the scent of honeysuckle. I can remember the smell of roses, and jasmine, and daffodils, but honeysuckle is a fresh surprise every time I pass a vine. A wonderful surprise--I recently passed the vine that's trying to eat the garden shed, and realized that honeysuckle is my favorite of all flower smells. I've described Sushi Imperiale as being a happy tap-dancing scent; honeysuckle has no similarity in scent, but it has exactly the same mood. While Sushi Imperiale is tapdancing on a gleaming marble floor in an evening dress or tie and tails, honeysuckle is dancing barefoot in the grass.

And, of course, honeysuckle offers taste as well as smell--that drop of nectar at the base of the flower always seemed like a magical bonus to me when I was a child. Food from a plant! Who'd've thought? (Yes, we did buy all our vegetables from the grocery.)

And the vines grew wild, in unauthorized places. Few people gardened the unbroken-green-grass yards in our suburb; my primary experience of flowers was honeysuckle and dandelions and other weed flowers. (And the magical field of daffodils that we mistakenly thought were growing wild, but that's a different post. Whoever planted those bulbs, I do apologize for the number of flowers that I stole.) Leaving the daffodils aside, honeysuckle was by far the grandest flower of my childhood.

In memory, I can see the trees and brush around the sinkhole at the high school across from our house, hear the cicadas, feel the heat, and smell--no, I can't smell the honeysuckle, I can only remember the pleasure of it. There's a safety fence around the sinkhole now, no doubt a sensible measure, but I think it's a sad thing. Are the old stories, of lost cows perpetually mooing for rescue from the bottom of the hole, also lost? For that matter, are children now warned not to eat the honeysuckle nectar? Too much safety does seem to take the flavor out of childhood.

Image: By Eurico Zimbres. Wikimedia Commons.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Smell Series: Pork

We just made the neighborhood smell like bacon. I say "we"--Himself did all the brain work and most of the work work, but I'm sure that I could be charged as an accessory. The result was those four glorious chunks of smoked pork that you see on the left. We admired them, shredded them, put the results into zippy bags and stashed them, gloating, in the fridge. We'll be serving (some) of the result at our annual 4th of July party tomorrow (well, today by the time I post this post), and eating the rest ourselves in greasy gluttony.

Yum. Also guilt. Also yum. Did I mention the guilt?

Pigs are supposed to be some of the most intelligent animals--social, friendly, smarter than dogs. I feel bad that they're raised as food animals. If someone proposed a law making it illegal to kill pigs, I'd vote for it. In other words, my moral system is sieve-full of holes. Because there are few smells that I love more than the smell of bacon. And the smell of pulled pork is one of those few. And I don't just smell, I eat. Eagerly.

As a minor effort to reconcile this conflict, I have been looking for sources of humanely raised pork. If I'm going to eat bacon, I'd prefer that the bacon got some enjoyment out of life, and didn't see what was coming. We recently heard a farmer speak about his oak forest and his roaming acorn-eating heritage-breed pigs. That sounds like the right, if probably alarmingly expensive, pork to be eating.

I've always wondered what motivates the people who draw those signs with the happy dancing pigs for barbecue restaurants in the American South. (Or not just the American South - I just saw a photo of discoing pigs at a restaurant in Blackpool.) Is it whistling-in-the-graveyard guilt? It's not as if steak restaurants show happy cows in tie and tails, and chicken restaurants rarely picture poultry that seem happy about the process. Do we feel guiltier about eating pork, and is that what drives us to make dark jokes about happy pigs?

Barbecue. Bacon. Guilt. Was Eve really tempted by an apple, or was it a crisply charred bit of pig?

Image: By Himself.