15 May 2008

Place smells

Today when I was getting out of the taxi at the Richmond Airport, I said "It smells like waffles."

The cab driver told me that the Nabisco plant wasn't far away, so I was probably smelling cookies baking by the thousands.

Mmmm arrowroot.

When I lived in my first apartment down by the beach in Ventura at 1160 Pittsfield Lane, the evening air was often scented by lemons being boiled down into lemonade concentrate. It was like a room freshener, but it was a whole neighborhood freshener.

The best smell of all was in Chicago near the Milk Dud factory. Boiling caramel and chocolate all together - I think that must be what heaven smells like.

Do you have experience with ambient smells?

37 comments:

RubiaLala said...

I went to my great grandma's house in Nebraska when I was in middle school and the house was so cool. Her husband had built it and it was two stories with a finished attic and a basement so four stories. My brother and cousins and I would go play in the attic and that's where she kept a bunch of stuff and it smelled like mothballs. I think of that whenever I smell mothballs. I had this old lady for a boss when I was nineteen and she smelled like mothballs and I always thought she was the best smelling boss I had ever had!

Suzanne said...

Where is there a Milk Dud factory in Chicago? I am going to visit my folks soon, and I'd like to hang out there. (And now you've given me a great idea for a book: places to go if you want to smell really yummy things.)

madgetastic said...

Driving to my grandparents' in Westchester County, NY we would pass the Stella D'oro factory. You could smell the stuff (which actually smelled better than it tasted) for a mile before you could see the building.

Mmmm. Thanks for the memories!

SUEB0B said...

Suzanne - apparently the plant moved to Robinson Ill in 1992. A great loss for Chicago!

Lawyerish said...

I grew up in rural Georgia, and whenever we drove to Atlanta, I knew we were getting close to the city when a certain earthy, bacony smell overtook the car. It was the Purina dog food plant.

Somehow not as pleasing as a lemonade plant or Milk Duds plant.

Lawyerish said...

I grew up in rural Georgia, and whenever we drove to Atlanta, I knew we were getting close to the city when a certain earthy, bacony smell overtook the car. It was the Purina dog food plant.

Somehow not as pleasing as a lemonade plant or Milk Duds plant.

Mir said...

I used to work in south San Jose, which is on the way to Gilroy. You know---Gilroy, CA? The garlic capital of the WORLD? In the spring the smell was OVERWHELMING. (And then you could go to the Gilroy Garlic Festival, and have garlic ice cream!)

claire said...

When you drive down Fifth Avenue in Brentwood (Long Island, NY) you smell the sweet, sweet smell of the Entenmann's plant. Mmmm... Coffee Crumb cake...

Melissa said...

I live in a suburb of Fort Worth and not far from downtown are the Coors and Mrs Bairds factories. Even if you are asleep on the way home from a road trip you know you are getting close when you smell beer and cupcakes.

Average Jane said...

Downtown Kansas City has a Folgers plant that makes the air smell like coffee for blocks and blocks. Sometimes you can even figure out what flavor they're making.

Not far from my house, there's a factory that makes popcorn and caramel corn. I can smell it sometimes when I drive by on the highway.

mandajuice said...

When I was pregnant with my daughter, we lived in an apartment two blocks from an In 'n Out Burger. Every night I would walk the dog around 11PM before going to bed and that was the time they cleaned their deep fryers. I fell asleep every night hungry for french fries and I woke up every morning hungry for donuts because right next to the In 'n Out was a Krispy Kreme.

My ass is REALLY glad we don't live there anymore.

lizgwiz said...

I used to live near a bread factory. Thursday night was when they baked the onion rolls. I currently live right down the road from a biscotti factory. Almond...yummy.

Karen said...

When I went to Australia right after high school, I remember my "guide" telling me "you'll always remember how this place smells" and for one reason or another, Australia really DOES smell different than anywhere else I've ever been. And you know? Sometimes, like this morning, I get a random whiff of something in the air that reminds me of it. So strange. I miss that place.

Lumpyheadsmom said...

Um, I do, but I grew up in farm country so. . .

I'm betting "milk dud" is a whole lot better than "hog setup."

Piece of Work said...

I used to work in Potrero Hill in San Francisco, not far from the Anchor Steam brewery. The smell of hops filled the air most days.

minnie said...

I live two blocks away from a cereal factory and some morning I walk outside and it smells like brownies. mmmmm, brownies!

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

If you are driving on 1-4 in Orlando near Kaley St. open your car windows. There is a Merita bread factory there. The small is to die for.

Not as good, but there was a woman in my old office that always smelled like syrup. I suspect she may have been diabetic and not known it.

cadiz12 said...

i caught a whiff of the chocolate factory as i left my office in downtown Chicago last night. What a great way to end the day!

Alex Elliot said...

I had no idea about the Milk Dud factory and I grew up outside of Chicago. Guess you really do learn something every day!

super des said...

I was going to mention the Gilroy Garlic, but really just driving down highway 99 between Fresno and Sacramento is a wonderment of smells... not all of them good.

Mignon said...

Downtown Portland, OR used to be the home of Henry Weinhardt's brewery, and the whole place smelled of hops. When I was younger I always thought it was a giant green beans plant - cooking hops smell a lot like green beans.

redstaplernation said...

Living near the Anheuser Busch brewery... smell the hops, smells like home.

Major Bedhead said...

My parents drove me to school every day, to the next city over. Every morning, we'd pass the J.J. Nissen factory, where they made bread. It smelled delicious.

Later on, I moved to that same city's version of Little Italy. Most afternoons, starting around 3 p.m., the air would start to get fragranced with scent of tomatoes and garlic, culminating in a crescendo around 6 p.m.. It was fantastic.

meno said...

ambient, no, but do you remember those colorful erasers that were popular in jr high that smelled so sweet and distictive?

Pinkbirdlady said...

I used to work in South San Francisco and had to drive by, the Wonder Bread Factory, The Salami factory and then the coffee plant. Breakfast and Lunch all at 7am.
In Burlingame, Ca. I worked at Earnest and Julio, talk about smells. Nothing worse than spilled spoiled wine.
Elvie

Mim said...

I used to catch the train every morning to Sydney University and the line passed right by the Arnotts biscuit factory so I know just the smell you describe. I was very disappointed when they replaced the old trains, with windows that opened, with sealed airconditioned carriages, no more yummy smells :(

Adrienne said...

I used to drive past a wonder bread factory in Detroit everyday, that was great. Then when I moved here to Glendale, lo and behold a wonder bread factory just down the street....sweet. Alas they closed last year, very sad. No one is eating white bread anymore.

crunchycarpets said...

I remember the brewery smell near where I lived.

I remember the smell of the ocean....

cold icy oceans...rolling inland.

Velma said...

Oooooh - the Necco factory in Cambridgre, MA was a few blocks from my boyfriend's fraternity. Yum.

Also, strong chlorine sends me straight back to the 70's and mid-winter visits to Florida and my grandparent's pool.

Angela said...

I used to work next to a soda factory, and Thursday was orange soda day. It was amazing. (Root beer day wasn't quite as pleasant.)

mar said...

in college there was a sugar beet plant just north of town. not always pleasant.
now when the wind is just right, we've got the quaker oats factory one town over. nutrigrain bar day smells good. :)

g said...

Velma beat me to it with the Necco factory in Boston!

Here where I live in the mountains of Santa Monica, on hot sunny days you get a whiff of the sage and chaparral.

Count Mockula said...

We have a bread factory in town that smells fantastic. I currently live near a Burger King. Not so much, although I do occasionally crave fries.

Incidentally, I currently smell like maple syrup since I am taking fenugreek as a nutritional supplement (long story). It's an unusual side effect. I kind of like it.

karen said...

I used to live in midtown Memphis not too far from the Wonder bread factory. When they were baking it smelled wonderful. Hope you enjoyed Richmond!

Christina said...

In downtown Columbus, we have the Wonder Bread factory. Anytime you drive past or have to be downtown, it smells like fresh baked bread or donuts. Yum.

It's no wonder this city can't lose weight.

Sister Wolf said...

I have no smell memories, but just for the record, I'm having an intense feeling of deja vu as I type this.

My mom reeked of Youth Dew. Does this count?

daysgoby said...

I remember going to Hersey, Penn - the air smelt like chocolate for miles before you came into town - it was like Willy Wonka's Smell-O-Vision.

When I lived in Holland (Michigan) part of the town smelled like pickles and ketchup (from the Heinz plant) and the other half smelled like dutch stroopwafels and syrup. When the wind would suddenly change direction, you could go from sweet to salty cravings in a heartbeat.
In Kentucky the whole place smells like sun-baked clay. It's intoxicating. And where I live now (Nova Scotia) you can always smell the sea.

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