Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


What did childhood summers smell like?

1. The smell of new paper in the Puffin paperbacks I was given for Christmas. I think I read every Puffin printed.

2. The smell of pine needles on a hundred-degree day. We had fahrenheit when I was a kid.

3. The smell of the rubber tyres on toy tin cars on Christmas morning.

4. The smell of sunburn cream rubbed on my sister's red shoulder.

5. The smell of cigarette butts in the sand at the beach. (Dad's, not mine. And no, I don't know if he subsequently 'disposed of them thoughtfully'.)

6. The smell of rain, before it arrived.

7. The smell inside my grandfather's new two-tone Vanguard Spacemaster, complete with clear plastic-covered red leatherette seats with cream piping. It took us on Sunday picnics to Gisborne.


jo said...

Ooooo, I'd never heard of a Vanguard Spacemaster before.
Cute little vehicle, very retro.
Have they become a collectible or have they died off into obscurity?

kitchen hand said...

Both collectible and obscure, Jo. Very rare now. My grandfather traded his Vanguard in 1975 on a little canary yellow Holden Gemini, which was odd because he was 6'4". Whe he drove it, he looked like he was pedalling a toy car.

lucette said...

What is that smell before the rain--I love it. I think I read somewhere that it's ozone?
I'd add to the list, from my own childhoods, the almost caramelized smell of the cut grass as summer goes on, an August smell.

Sarah said...

For me, sunburn cream and chlorine swimming pools are the smells of summer. This made it extra odd when I was working in the northern hemisphere and wearing sunburn cream in July, and using bleach in a laboratory, and I had visions of summer holidays dancing in my head, and Christmas 6 months away!

Sue said...

Childhood smells like monsoon rain, takeaway chicken rice wrapped tightly in plastic and then newspaper, screwpine leaves steeped in sugary water and squished ants.

mary g said...

Also, just remembered, the smell of crayons, Crayola crayons, which, frankly, I still find intoxicating.

kitchne hand said...

All great memories.

And for me, Mary, it was Guitar or Craypas brand pastels - the oilier kind of crayons - which I think no longer exist. I think of those and I'm six again.

Ian T. said...

Those Puffins were great! Armada Lions weren't too shabby either.

I'm trying to think of the smells, but it came back to me yesterday that the tune "The Happy Wanderer" brings back memories of hearing the icecream truck from my grandparents' porch in Blacktown a lot of Summers in my childhood.