Dr. Tanya of Salted Caramel challenges us to share about food aromas we enjoy. I decided to list two sweet and three savory aromas. It can be hard to narrow them down — especially when you enjoy so many foods — but here are a few favorites.
Vanilla may often be accused of being “plain vanilla,” but it is really a great flavor and has a wonderful aroma when baking. Even a bottle of vanilla extract has an aroma so enticing that, as a child, I begged my mother for a taste. Of course, I was disappointed that, unsweetened, it was so bitter. It’s so interesting that two of our favorite flavors for sweets, vanilla and chocolate, start out bitter.
As nice as vanilla is, if given a choice between vanilla and chocolate or almost any other sweet flavor and chocolate, I’ll always opt for chocolate. Baking chocolate goodies have a wonderful, rich aroma. I wonder if workers in the Hershey factory ever tire of the fragrance? I used to pass a Nabisco factory in Hawthorne, New Jersey and smell Oreos and other goodies baking as I drove past. Sadly, this location will no longer be making cookies.
And on to the savory …
A good friend of mine once shared me how he was bothered by the scent of basil. How? I love the aroma of basil in cooking or directly from this plant and fragrant herb. Cuisine-wise, I don’t think you can get more of a concentrated basil taste or aroma than in pesto, one of my favorite things. I’m so happy when I snip fresh basil from the herb garden, toss it in the food processor with some pine nuts, parmesan, salt and olive oil … bingo, pesto!
Garlic may seem like a strange one to list as it’s considered a stinky scent when referring to someone’s breath. Perhaps, we don’t like it to linger on a person’s breath, but when you’re a fan of garlic, the aroma of garlic in cooking is really tempting and wonderful. Garlic is in so many recipes for cuisine of different ethnic heritage. It’s no wonder. It add so much flavor. After the exodus of the Jews from Egypt, garlic was one of the foods the Hebrews longed to have again.
Rosemary is another herbal scent I love. I adore it on some roasted potatoes or a pan of roasted veggies. Aside from salt and pepper, it may be the only other seasoning needed to add a boost in flavor.
I know there are so many other aromas I could name … like peppermint or lemon, but I was limited to five. Do you agree with my choices? What are your favorites?