Excersise the Senses: Smell

Smell  is the sense responsible for detecting and processing odors. It is a chemo-receptor in which the particles act as a stimulant aromatic or odoriferous detached from the volatile bodies, which enter the olfactory epithelium located in the nose, and processed by the olfactory system. The human nose distinguishes between more than 10,000 different smells. Smell is the strongest sense at birth. (Taken from Wikipedia)

Jan Brueghel (I) - The Sense of Smell - WGA3581
Image via Wikipedia

In the article A sense of smell is said: “We are constantly surrounded by smells. Our environment, objects, animals and people are an endless source of good and bad smells.

Although many underestimate the smell, it is not a crucial survival mechanism, this stands out for having an enormous sensitive capacity . One of the main features of the sense of smell is that it acts to small stimuli.

The smell can capture at a distance and in low concentrations the molecules that react with its specialized organs.

While we have no olfactory sensitivity of animals such as dogs, our sense of smell contributes to the stimulation of appetite and digestive secretions, and prevent the presence of gases harmful to our health. “

As creative beings we are fascinated with aromas. They are always around us, make those special moments of our lives unforgettable. Just as the smell of your newborn, the perfume she wore on her first date, the scent of your child’s favorite blanket, the smell of a particular spice that reminds you of your grandmother’s kitchen, or your childhood. Odors stimulate the brain, well all the senses do this function, but being the strongest it makes us transcend the parameters of time and take us to the past, or perhaps what we’ll accomplish in the future.

In 2006 I had the opportunity to see the movie “Perfume, the story of a murderer” (an adaptation of a novel), ” is the first novel by German writer Patrick Süskind, published in 1985 under the title Das Parfum, die Geschichte eines Mörders. The novel explores the sense of smell and its relationship with the emotional meaning that scents may carry. Above all this is a story of identity, communication and the morality of the human spirit. The story focuses on Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, a perfume apprentice in 18th century France who, born with no body scent himself, begins to stalk and murder virgins in search of the “perfect scent”, which he finds in a young woman named Laura, whom his acute sense of smell finds in a secluded private garden in Grasse.” (Wikipedia)

Let’s perceive our world through the sense of smell, and transform our experiences into words. To do this we must find the aromas we like, those that relax us, those we don’t like, and those that, well, go unnoticed because they are constant in our daily lives, for example, the smell of your home.

Search the smell of food, perfumes on your dresser, the soap that you wash with… Take a trip and visit the garden nursery near your home, and dive into a world of strong, subtle and distinctive aromas, such as mint, rosemary, dill, the oregano. Look for roses, orchids, Maragarita… Inhale, perceive! Stroll through the section of the spices and vegetables at your local market. Start cooking! Then take a minute and write what comes to mind, all the feelings, memories and places the scent carried  you .

Unfortunately, the internet does not yet have a device so you can smell odors from other places to explore the world without leaving your computer. Fortunately, smells surround us daily and we can experience them forever.

Share your experiences with us! What was the one aroma that took you on a journey to the past or to an unforgettable moment in your life?

Exersise the Senses: Taste

¡Para la versión en Español, haz click aquí!

When I think of this sense the only word that comes to mind is Mmmmm! Why not? Through it a number of emotions emerge from tasting food and wine. Let start for the sense of Taste will be a very interesting one and full of adventure and seduction.

The taste brings a sea of ​​possibilities. From tasting different feelings are born in our system, shared with a particular flavor and a mood.

Hugo Jesús Montenegro Ruiz in his monograph “The sense of taste” shares in conclusion:

The sense of taste, perhaps the closest of our five senses, has traditionally been considered unsuitable for analysis with a certain seriousness: too physical, too particular and personal. However, in addition to causing physical pleasure, eating and drinking are actions that harbor a symbolic and aesthetic value in the lives of people, and continually inspire writers and artists. Carolyn Korsmeyer explains how taste has come to occupy a place so low in the hierarchy of the senses and why it deserves more attention and respect.

Korsmeyer begins with the great Greek thinkers who classified taste as an inferior and merely physical sense. Then, presents a scientific view of the actual operation of taste and identifies multiple components in taste experiences. Focusing on the objects of taste, the food and drink, ‘observes the different meanings that have adopted in art and literature and in everyday life, and proposes an approach to the aesthetic value of taste to recognize the representative role and expressive of the meal. Korsmeyer’s consideration about art includes works that use the food in contexts sacred or profane, which seek to stimulate or suppress appetite. Her selection of literary passages meets macabre tales of feasting and stories of affinities arising around a table.

With its splendid illustrations and clear prose and appealing sense of taste is an appetizer for those who are curious to know the true meaning of a sensory experience as universal and deeply personal.

Let us take on the task of stimulating the taste, and start writing our experiences on paper.

“Nothing could get tired of eating and drinking if God had not made ​​a pleasure as a necessity.”-Voltaire

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Exercises for the palate and creativity

Is a delight to perform this exercises, and the thought activates my salivary glands, which reminds me of Pavlov’s dogs. We exercise the taste, while black and white catches our experiences.

  • Go to your refrigerator and sample the fruits and vegetables in it. Did you buy ham? Try them, the prosciutto, one of my favorites, is salty and reminds me of a sunny afternoon, I like to accompany it with a glass of red wine.
  • Speaking of wine, do you like it? Arrange to attend a class of wine tasting or arrange a get together with friends at home. Take notes of what others and the instructor will say about the taste of wine. You might ask your friends to take a minute and write in a note what the wines remind them of, what feelings arouse from it.  If you can, buy a bottle, usually in the back it gives a description of its taste, compare these with what you taste of it.
  • We all have a cookbook in our kitchen, right? Open it at random and get cooking. Rejoice then and if you’re not good at cooking, just follow the instructions step by step, the results are unforgettable. Write the experience down, this is a great opportunity to combine the sense of smell and taste.
  • What is your favorite flavor? What memories come to mind? Where does your soul go to when tasting this flavor?
  • Escape to a restaurant you’ve always wanted to visit. In solitude enjoy it and write.
  • Venture to try those foods and drinks you’ve never had, and sometimes ignore them in the restaurant or market.

Don’t forget to share your experiences with us here at Mink! Happy Tastings, dear writer and reader!

PS: You might also want to exercise this Senses: Hearing and Sight.