I was standing in front of the bakery in Roche Brothers downtown. The pistachio donut looked really tempting. What the heck, I thought, it’s the holidays, and I’ll indulge. I grabbed a piece of waxed paper and reach for one when I realized that it was cold and that it had no smell. The temptation to indulge was instantly thwarted.
I pulled my hand out and relaxed my pinched fingers from the waxed paper. I sniffed the air. How odd, I thought, I’m at a bakery counter but there are no aromas. In fact, there were no food smells at all – not from the prepared food counter or from the cooked foods bar.
I mention Roche Brothers, but the same is true of other supermarkets. Food looks good but there are no accompanying aromas unless you’re at a sub shop where pizza is being baked or something is being fried.
Recently, I’ve eaten out more than usual because I’ve had very long days that have me leaving house and out all day to a succession of meetings, interviews, and events all over town. I find myself, going for quick bites and often feeling dissatisfied because there’s no aroma.I realize that I mostly smell food when I’ve cooked it. I long for the smell of food.
This being Christmas time, I found myself feeling more nostalgic than usual. (I miss my family this Christmas.) A memory came back of the scented air that surrounded the bakeries and bakery outlets we frequented when I grew up. My mouth began salivating as I remembered the hot yeast rolls my Mom baked for many Sunday and holiday dinners. What I would give to taste those rolls again! Mom’s lost her recipe. None of the bakeries I’ve visited locally had hot rolls. (Please share if you know places that sell them.)
Commercial places must now have superior ventilation systems that eliminate the aromas of what’s being prepared and, for me, something is lacking as a result.
When I cook and bake, the aromas of the foods linger in the air. There’s something too antiseptic, sterile, about many of the foods sold by food purveyors. It’s actually reduced the amount of pastry that I eat – a good thing I guess – because it’s easy to avoid something that is cold and, other than visual appeal, doesn’t make my mouth water.
I wish there were full-service bakeries in Roxbury and Dorchester and downtown Boston – places I frequent more than JP or Somerville which have an abundance of such bakeries I beleive Do the bakeries in those places still have aromas? What’s the time of day to catch items coming freshly from the oven?
Recently, I had an olfactory orgasm, after putting lemon glaze on a lemon pound cake I made for the Friends of the Dudley Library scholarship bake sale. There’s absolute nothing like the aroma of goods fresh from the oven, made with wholesome ingredients. I had to lock down that cake to keep my husband from sampling it.
Sigh. I did break out my apron and bake another lemon cake for a friend’s birthday and an apple pie for my husband. (I tend not to bake too much at home because I will keep returning to sweets until their gone). Still, I am craving some freshly baked yeast rolls. I guess I’ll have to try to make some soon. Please share your recipes. Thank you in advance.
(2nd photo of sour cream poundcake and pumpkin pie, made by author, and apple pie, made by Leanne, my future daughter-in-law, for Thanksgiving 2014.)