The curry stains the spatula, a pervasive seasoning that invades my nose ... and my mind. Smiling, I remember a game my kid sister and I played. During long days or slow nights, we wander to the kitchen to explore our mother's spice rack. One stands, eyes squeezed shut, while the other riffles through the cabinet. Seizing upon a bottle, the chooser unscrews the lid, holding it out to the sniffer. We can't touch it and our eyes must stay closed, but we can take our time dwelling on the mystery smell.
With eyes clenched tight, we breath deep, hoping that the aroma will spark a memory - a dish our mother might have prepared recently. If we were lucky, we'd helped with that dinner and maybe, just maybe, we'd had the job of seasoning. Suddenly the name springs to mind and we exclaim, "Cumin!"
As the curry dances above my pot, tears prick my eyes and this time it isn't the onions. My head swirls with memories of that childhood kitchen: the slanting floor and the crooked door jam leaning to the right; the upper oven that never worked and the little shelf above the sink holding an army of penguins because my mom commented one time on their cuteness; the louvered pantry door stuffed with Christmas cards. I learned how to bone a chicken in that kitchen and I watched my mother roll out tortillas. She made both look easy.
The timer beeps and I'm jarred back to the present. Aaron saunters up, putting one arm around my shoulders. "What's that smell?"
"Can I help?"
The tradition of "Name that Spice" and "Help Mom in the Kitchen" continues for another generation.
Linking up with Trifecta: 33-333 words inspired by the single word dwell (to keep the attention directed.)
Linking up with Write at the Merge this week - inspired by the sense of smell.