Food, life

The Scent Factor (200-word Tuesday)

Have you ever felt like you entered a time machine when you hear a song that transports you to another age and place?

Scents are also a powerful flashback inducer.

There is a short story in my memoir anthology titled, Hope Lies in Meatballs. It begins with my Grandma and I taking a trip to the Italian store in the city.

The other day, I went to a grocery store where I don’t shop regularly. It’s a little farther away from where I live, so I only stop there when I’m in that neighborhood. It’s a regular grocery store with an added Italian flare. The moment I stepped inside, the aromas of garlic, oils, and seasonings transported me back to that Italian store with Grandma.

In the story Hope Lies in Meatballs, as a little girl inside that Italian store, I got my first taste of briny olives and was hooked.

Cold cut-sausages used to hang over the deli counter.

Along with plenty of cheeses.

Our house and Grandma’s always had a jug similar to this for Papa to have with his meal.

Flashbacks like these almost brings tears to my eyes.

What scent transports you … and to where?


28 thoughts on “The Scent Factor (200-word Tuesday)”

  1. First, Lori, I hope you agree that Jewish and Italian families are eerily similar, along with Jewish and Italian delis, though I’d say the smells in each are quite different. I’ve started writing about my own “Bubbie”, including the fact that a lot of what she cooked was nearly flavorless and thus probably scentless as well,

    In that vignette, though, I know I wrote how she would rinse my dark hair with vinegar, which was supposed to make it shine. I challenge you to find any other potential pleasant memory associated with the smell of vinegar!

    I’ve also surprised myself in my current state of aging by noticing more the smells I encounter along with the musical backgrounds of various movie scenes. I generally overlooked these details in the hustle and bustle of my younger years. Who says an old dog can’t learn some new tricks?

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    1. I do agree that Jewish and Italians are eerily similar.

      I’ve not heard of rinsing hair in vinegar, but we use vinegar with foods a lot, which can also bring back some memories.

      Vinegar is a strong smell that I’m sure is a powerful flashback inducer.

      Thanks you for sharing your time machine experience.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. There is a particular smell when rain falls on warm asphalt and it transports me back to when I was five or six and I was standing outside of the cottage in North Devon that my mum had been evacuated to during the war. Over fifty years ago now.

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    1. Oh yes, I know that rain smell you speak of. So, it sounds like you were evacuated with your mum. That must be a powerful flashback when it happens. Thank you for sharing it.

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  3. I have a nostalgia for the vague smell of sewage on a really hot day… reminds me of my first foreign holiday as a teenager when I went to Venice for the day! Also perfumes can floor me: L’Air du Temps that my dead mum wore years ago when I was a kid; certain soaps that I got in my stocking as a child. Like time-travelling indeed.

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    1. I have a short story in my memoir anthology about the smell in Venice when I visited as a teenager. I know just what you mean. Those smells that remind us of family can really bowl us over and bring tears to our eyes on occasion. Thanks for “transporting” me with you DS.

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  4. Lori, a lovely post and you’re right about the power of scents, their lifelong memory that seem to tap into the central core of our being. Fresh yeast takes me straight back to my grandmother and her baking at the table, the yeast added to warm water just before being mixed with the dough is a heavy pungent smell … then I can see her, her stance, clothes and her smile as she looks up to greet me. Thank you for allowing me to reminisce a bit. Xx popping over to read your short story …. and what a fascinating and original idea to write a memoir anthology!

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  5. The smell of barnacles transports me back to a boatyard in Fort Lauderdale where my husband and I hauled out our first boat to paint the bottom.

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    1. Transported back to school days as a child. I haven’t had one of those (flashback of school) in a long time. Thanks for sharing your “transport” experience, Anneli.

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  6. I just had a similar experience with a newly discovered store during the break. There were all kinds of products from Europe. I felt very nostalgic as I used to shop at stores like that when I lived in Germany. Great post. πŸ™‚

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    1. Seems like it is the stores that have the time machines. πŸ™‚

      I can’t get over how closely your life mirrors my blogger friend, Anneli. You’ve had different careers, but lived in the same areas, Germany being one of them.

      Thanks for sharing your “transport” experience.


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