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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Smells Like Love to Me

I have some lotion at work. It’s a lavender/geranium-scented blend of love, a smell that normally implies a massage or facial is imminent.

That person, by the way, the one that should be holding that bottle in her hand and asking me if I’d rather hear the lilting sounds of the Celtic fog or the dulcet tones of piano concertos has so far failed to appear at my desk.

But a girl can hope, yes?

They say that the sense of smell is a powerful memory-nudger. OK, that’s not actually what they say, I’m sure, but it’s how I remember it. I like the idea of something nudging me to remember. Not a big push, just a quiet little “hey, you remember that time…”

A friend of mine recently made me lunch, a lasagna, a delicious layering of all things good with just the right amount of oregano.

Now there’s an herb that brings me back.

Oregano is a sneaky little thing, and was once purchased in the belief that it was marijuana.

Not by me, of course, but by someone close to me. At my request. With my money.

We’ll talk of this another time.

The smell of oregano – in food, not smoked in a bong – has always reminded me of my father.

My father, master salesman, teller of jokes both clean and corny, is quite a good cook; and I spent many afternoons, as a child, under his tutelage.

His meatballs haunt me still.

“Go ahead, take your rings off,” he’d say. “We’re gonna get in there and squish all these ingredients together. And don’t bother washing your hands. It’s a secret ingredient.”

Have you spent much time with your hands in a meatball mixture? It’s a cold, greasy affair.

My dad says strange little things, things like your unwashed hands being a secret ingredient, primarily to see whether you’re paying attention or if you’re among the walking daft, little things that he doesn’t necessarily mean to be taken at face value. He even writes them down; and I have recipes in his handwriting that say things like “add a mouthful of warm water” or “add 12 to 14 peas”.

He was kidding, by the way, about the hand-washing; although now that I think of it, I don’t recall if he washed his hands or not…

It’s Sunday, it’s a beautiful day, and I’m off to make lasagna.

And, no. That’s not code for something else.

25 comments:

darsden said...

LOL me think thou dose protest too much...rotflmao just kidding.. smells do trigger very fond memories for me too..

Beth said...

Don't forget the oregano. Lots of oregano.

It sounds like your dad was a funny one. You had to get it from someone.

a mouthy irish woman? ridiculous! said...

yeah, my dad and mom used to "make meatballs" too. and then my sister was born. :)

a mouthy irish woman? ridiculous! said...

yeah, my dad and mom used to "make meatballs" too. and then my sister was born. :)

a mouthy irish woman? ridiculous! said...

yeah, my dad and mom used to "make meatballs" too. and then my sister was born. :)

mapstew said...

Herself above IS mouthy today!

Lasagne...mmmmmmm

Can I come over? They've all gone to the coast for a christening and left me all alone! It's too quiet.

And basil, do you put basil in your lasagne?

I'm so hungry now!

xxx

Joanie M said...

I remember once asking my mother for her recipe for bread pudding. She said, "Oh, it's a handful of this a few handfuls of that." Needless to say, none of us got her recipe because it's different than any other bread pudding we've ever had. You can hold it in your hand like you would a brownie. Damn, that was good stuff too.

Joanie M said...

Is there an echo in here?

Lynn said...

A mouthful of warm water!
VERY funny.
Hi. I'm Lynn.
pleasedtameetcha

Douglas said...

Are you still whining about that bag of oregano? I'll pay you back, I promise.

Ann's Rants said...

I made veggie lasagna last week. Delish, but not the same. Just not quite as good as the meaty version.

Obiously I'm too tired for pithy comments today. ;)

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Lovely post. I, too, like a lotof oregano in my meatballs.

And lovel lavendar. I have lavendar shampoo.

Warty Mammal said...

LOL at the oregano story.

Green-Eyed Momster said...

You made me hungry for lasagna before 11:00 a.m. here.
I love basil. Oregano is miracle stuff though.
I have a very wicked and sensitive sense of smell.
I love most of the Bath and Body Works lotions.
My pot smoking days and my oregano selling days are over. I'm so boring now!

Hugs!!

@eloh said...

Oh I laughed, this post reminds me of so much.

Love the mouthful of warm water.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

Love this meandering post! Especially your dad with the 14 peas. That made me laugh. I have very strong sense memories when it comes to smell.

Not The Rockefellers said...

Oh Pearl..I am a girl who appreciates a good smell :)

And your Sunday sounds heavenly..
I'm off to take a hit of vanilla,
dill, and tarragon

Maybe later I'll do some Gain dryer sheets

Peace - Rene

Joanna Jenkins said...

Yum! What time is dinner?
:-)
xo

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

You're right; smells are powerful memory reminders.
My mom is big on cooking with the hands. We get down and dirty making meatloaf and stuffing around here; I think I'd really like your dad.

Joanie M said...

It's impossible to make meatloaf or meatballs with getting your hands in it.

Pearl said...

HA! I've stolen computer time from a friend who was silly enough to leave the room!

Mwa ha ha haaaa!

I feel devious.

It's 5:23 right now. Dinner will be done at 6:30. It smells fabulous. Basil, thyme, a dash of red pepper flakes, a mouthful of red wine, and we all matched on the oregano.

:-)

And yes, my dad is funny. I come from the kind of family that laughs until we have tears running down our cheeks, whereupon we become weak-kneed and weak-spined and fall over/off of things. Then we laugh some more. I don't know if that's normal or not...

Cooking with one's hands is the only way to go...

And Joanie, my grandma did the same thing with her recipes, passed by us with "oh, it's a handful of that a pinch of this..." If only I'd written it down. So much is gone forever, and she was one down-home farmer's wife, I tell you. That woman could surely cook.

I've a massive three-ring binder full of my best recipes, stained and chock-full of comments. My delightful son asked me if he could have it when I die. Little does he know that I made the book for him in the first place.

And Douglas? You keep promising, but I'm still waiting!

xoxo

Irish Gumbo said...

Guess I'll stop using my mouth as a measuring cup...

"in food, not smoked in a bong" - priceless.

But what else would you smoke oregano in? :)

darsden said...

Pearl, you sounded fantastic on Eskimo Bob's radio show..cool beans!

SweetPeaSurry said...

Ugh ... I need the tones of Celtic fog and a pair of good strong hands that have been trained in the fine art of massage therapy ... yes yes I do.

*sighs*

bettyl said...

Great post! Had me giggling!