Let's Talk with Nancy J. Cohen
Holiday Scents Group Post
Dear Friends, We’re sharing our special holiday scented memories with you. Enjoy!
POTATO LATKES. Since we celebrate Hanukkah, my favorite holiday scent is the smell of potato latkes frying in oil. When I grew up, we lit the menorah candles each night for eight nights and got a small gift as well. Potato pancakes were a staple of the holiday. With our kids, we did the eight presents—sometimes more—that we’d wrapped and place upon a cloth-covered accent table for the occasion.
Food is an essential part of every holiday, and for us that means potato latkes. I like these enough that I could eat them as a side dish at any time throughout the year. However, I’ve gotten lazy. Instead of peeling and grating fresh potatoes, now I buy the low-sodium potato latke mix at the ethnic section in our supermarket. It’s so much easier to mix it up in a bowl and then fry them in oil. Some restaurants serve applesauce and sour cream on the side, but I prefer the former choice. So my favorite holiday scent is the aroma of potato pancakes sizzling in the pan.—Nancy Cohen
CURRY-FLAVORED DRESSING. The sense of smell creates powerful memories. We don’t celebrate Christmas, so I don’t have any scent memories of that holiday. On Hanukkah, we light candles each night, and the scent of burning wax is an association with that holiday. However, Thanksgiving is a much “bigger” holiday for us, and years ago, I tried a different recipe for stuffing/dressing, which was technically designed for a goose, but who cares? That would be the first thing I’d prepare on Thanksgiving morning, and the smell of the curry powder as it released its aroma would fill the house. Anytime I made anything using curry, the kids would come in and say, “Smells like Thanksgiving.” (If you want to see the recipe, it’s here.)—Terry Odell
CINNAMON. For me, nothing signals the holidays quite like cinnamon. I walk in the grocery store and pass cinnamon scented pine cones and I know it’s almost Christmas. Wassail on the stove, pumpkin pie, Mom’s famous cinnamon dinner rolls. Candles. Spiced apple cider… mmm.—Karla Brandenburg
ANISE CAP COOKIES. I don’t bake, except for the very rare occasion of a holiday potluck that requires something homemade. When I was a kid, however, baking was my mom’s thing, especially at Christmas. A pie here, two cakes there…and then, there were the cookies! With my sister and me helping, we’d whip up armies of gingerbread men, scores of chocolate chip cookies, piles of lemon bars, sheets of sprinkle-covered press cookies. The scent of sugar and butter and spices as we baked evoked holidays like nothing else. But my favorite cookie was one my Aunt Tess made: Anise Caps.
I haven’t eaten one of those fluffy light cookies in probably fifty years (okay, I was really young the last time I had them!) but I still recall their faintly licoricey aroma and their yummy melt-in-your-mouth taste. I decided to search out that original recipe and Aunt Tess’s daughter, Francie, found the recipe in her mother’s papers! This year I’m giving those cookies a whirl to recapture that happy memory from my childhood.—Diane Stuckart
CEDAR TREES. The scents of Christmas are the fodder of so many wonderful memories. Our family went out in the woods and cut a cedar tree every year for our Christmas tree. Our home would fill with the aromas of the fragrant evergreen foliage and undertones of the cedar wood in the trunk. Remember those books of Lifesavers candies? The wintergreen, spearmint, and peppermint were my favorite flavors and you could usually sniff them through the gift wrap. And gift wrapping – even the Scotch tape held a magical scent. Our stockings often contained a navel orange, a real taste treat to a Georgia girl, and that citrus scent signaled it was finally time to open our gift and eat shared meals with family. We didn’t have much but what we had was more than enough. Good times.—Maggie Toussaint
ELMERS GLUE. For me, the season starts with the smell of Elmer’s Glue. My family starts making decorations in early December. Many years ago, as the new bride of an Airman stationed at Loring Air Force Base, Maine, I discovered the inspirational and restorative power of arts and crafts. That fall, we drove from Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, Louisiana to Loring Air Force Base in Caribou, Maine. Our ancient Chevy Impala towed the smallest trailer U-Haul rented filled with everything we owned – not much. Money was tight.
Using empty egg cartons as the base structure for the decorations, I fashioned a couple dozen unique ornaments. Only three ornaments have survived the many years since that Christmas. They are precious to me. I am overwhelmed with sentiment each year I unwrap these lovely little time capsules. They reaffirm my need for art and how it enriched even the most deprived times in my life. My favorite is pictured here.—Cheryl Hollon
Wishing you and your family all the best over this holiday season! Terry, Diane, Karla, Nancy, Cheryl, and Maggie
Posted in with Cheryl Hollon, with Diane A.S. Stuckart, with Karla Brandenburg, with Maggie Toussaint, with Nancy J. Cohen, zed: Former Authors • Tags: BLB Discussion, Cheryl Hollon, Diane Stuckart, Group post, Holiday Scents, Karla Brandenburg, Maggie Toussaint, Nancy J Cohen, Terry Odell | 6 Comments