This round of Let’s Blog Off, the topic is “What smell takes you back?” My mind instantly went to food, but I think that is only part of the story. What really takes me back is the smell of a campfire. There’s something about the aroma of hardwood slowly burning that is intoxicating.
Sitting around a campfire is the perfect time and place to reminisce. The crackle of the fire and the flames dancing put me into a bit of a trance where I can remember any number of things — previous camping trips, time spent with family and friends, a general feeling of warmth.
I think campfires are one of the reasons for my interest in outdoor cooking. There’s something primal about food being in direct contact with the heat source. Think about it — outdoor cooking allows a person to play with knives, play with fire, and fill an empty stomach. It is also a way to be in touch with those who came before us. Many types of outdoor cooking were regular cooking at some point in the past. Classic Welsh Rarebit is cooked in a cast iron pot on the hearth of a fireplace.
Along the same lines, one of my smokers is known as a “stick-burner” which means it’s designed to use hardwood logs as it’s source of heat and smoke. This is the classic way to prepare barbeque.
I’m lucky to live in a very diverse neighborhood where, on any given day, you can stick your nose in the air and smell something delicious. I’m amazed at all the different ways people from different cultures use a live fire to build community and to feed one another.
Finally, when my house was built, in 1900, it didn’t have electricity (or indoor plumbing). There was no natural gas line. My home was heated with a wood stove that would have been in my living room. This stove would have also been where all the food was prepared, in the winter anyway. Now that stove is long gone. My house has 2 chimneys and no fireplaces. Kinda sad… Just think of all the memories created around that old stove a century ago.