Sunday, August 05, 2012

Familiar Fragrances

Here it is -3 a.m. and I'm still up and awake! I should be sleeping, that's for sure but I sort of dozed off earlier this evening in the comfort of the recliner and now, I'm not yet sleepy again!

But, there's something else too that is keeping me awake -besides that unscheduled little naptime I had this evening.

I'm cooking something -in the crockpot -for our Sunday dinner and the aroma is wafting over me, making me hungry for one thing and to my olfactory nerve, the smell emanating from the kitchen is one I really love too!

So what it is that's cooking here?

A great big crockpot full of pork and sauerkraut!

Yes indeedy folks, the fragrance of sauerkraut cooking is one that I really relish! I know a lot of folks don't like the taste or the smell of this substance, but not me! I love it!

Actually, when it comes to foods and the aromas put out by many things as they cook or bake, is something I really do enjoy. Nothing better either than the scent of bread baking in the oven, is there?

When I was a kid, my Grandmother always baked homemade breads -several different kinds as a matter of fact and my nose was very well-trained back then too in that as soon as I would walk in the door I could tell if she was in the process of baking bread on any given day simply by the scent of the bread dough rising! Not just in the oven baking, but rather still in the bowl, still rising up till it was ready then for her to put it into pans and then into the oven to get the rest of the smells of fresh bread going then.

As a matter of fact you see, I loved to swipe a blob of that fresh bread dough and pop it into my mouth -something that would send my Grandma into minor hissy fits as she would grumble that she wouldn't have any dough left to bake if I didn't leave it alone! Another line she often used on me too -in a misguided effort to keep me out of the bread dough was to tell me that if I kept eating raw bread dough like that, it was going to cause my stomach to get all clogged up with that stuff in it! Well, 60 years later, I'm living proof I guess, that eating raw bread dough doesn't harm one's digestive system!

As I think about foods, the flavors,the fragrances and such though, there is one dish that comes to mind that I really didn't care for the smell although I did very much like the finished product and that was the traditional dish of Lutfisk that my Grandma always fixed for our Christmas Eve Supper!

Now that stuff does stink -for sure -and big time too! Phew! It's dried,salted codfish and to fix it, one has to soak the fish for a period of time in a pan of water containing, of all things, lye! Can you imagine cooking something that has been soaked in a liquid that is poisonous? Well, to cook Lutfisk, that's exactly what one has to do! And it would make the whole house -not just the back porch where Grandma would put the fish to soak but yes, the entire house would stink to the high heavens from this preparation. And that smell, I wasn't keen on except that I knew as soon as I got the first whiff of it permeating the place that come Christmas Eve when Grandma would cook the fish up -boiling it -fixing plain boiled potatoes and a side dish of creamed peas to serve with that -the objective being that for Christmas Eve supper, one was to have a very bland meal -at least in appearance and lutfisk in a white cream gravy, boiled potatoes and creamed peas sure was very bland, very uncolorful, in appearance but to my tastebuds, it was far from being bland in flavor as I loved that meal too!

Isn't it funny though how certain foods do have quite the distinctive smells and just talking about those things can trip a trigger in your mind, remembering how they taste then too?

Just a little memory jogging about foods tonight and all because I'm smelling the house up with the makings for what will be a big meal for us here for our Sunday Dinner!

Wishing it were time to dig in and eat it already now!

1 comment:

terri said...

I think food aromas trigger fond memories for so many of us. My mom loves pork and sauerkraut, but that's not an aroma I enjoy. Her sweet and sour cabbage though? Smells fabulous and brings back memories of all the family Thanksgiving holidays.

And the smell of anything baking brings back memories of my grandma. She loved to bake bread, fry donuts, make pies and bars and cakes and biscuits. Oh... and stewed chicken. We always had stewed chicken at Grandma's house. We'd visit every other Sunday and she would put on such a fabulous spread. We loved her foods!