When I was in elementary school I spent a lot of quality time with James Bond. On many a Sunday afternoon, my father and I cocooned ourselves in the sun dappled basement TV room with Dr. No, Live and Let Die, or my personal favorite, Goldfinger. Along with Tuesday night ice cream (soft serve chocolate dipped in chocolate) to be eaten while watching the adult softball league game nearby, Sundays with James Bond was a father-daughter ritual that I loved. Each afternoon I would curl up on the couch with my Dad and drape an old crochet blanket all the way over my head. Through its woven holes I could see the TV while simultaneously felt protected by its bulk. I loved the small jolts of fear the scary scenes inspired in the back of my throat. Yet I always felt overwhelmingly safe. The soundtrack in my mind to those lazy afternoons contains a methodical crunch and the rustling of a plastic chip bag: Agent 007 was always accompanied with tortilla chips and chunky red salsa. Ever since then the smell of salsa has immediately conjured up an image of a young Sean Connery, a Roger Moore, and a happy young girl with her dad.
Today, salsa does not bring any scent oriented memories to mind. In my largely odorless world, the muted taste and more important texture is what ties me to what I eat. The soft creaminess and delicate sweetness of my mom’s freshly made fall applesauce transports me to afternoons in the kitchen of my childhood. The warm crust of bread right out of the oven sends me to the bleary eyed 5am shift at the bakery I worked in before going to college. The crunch of almond biscotti feels like an afternoon in
Not surprisingly, however, I overwhelming miss being able to taste fully. Without smell, my palette is extremely muted. Each bite is in a quiet fog; it is difficult to tell herbs, spices, subtleties apart. Sometimes I just want to feel something in my mouth without thinking about it. I want nothing more than to have a full taste sensation. This is where salsa comes back into my life, minus its smell related memories. These days I like it hot, spicy, and on everything. I put generous shakes of
Beyond my unmistakable new love of salsa doctored with