Tuesday 12 December 2017

David Robbins: Searching for the perfect smell? Look no further than a slice of toast

David Robbins

What, I wonder, does the past smell like? Is it that leathery, perfumey smell of the inside of Auntie Vera's handbag? Or is it the dry, clean smell of my father's shaving cream?

Smell and memory are powerfully linked. The waft of a scent from across the room, the drift of something agricultural in the car window, the yeasty warmth of a fresh loaf, all these can trigger powerful memories.

Sure didn't our old friend Marcel Proust get a whole seven-volume novel out of what happened when his narrator first smelled and then tasted a freshly baked madeleine cake?

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