Posted by: thehungryrunner | June 10, 2009

A side pleasure of running: Smelling cooked food!

Hey, this IS “The Hungry Runner” after all. 🙂

Went for an 8-mile run around the neighborhood yesterday afternoon, and was reminded of one of the many “non running” pleasures of running: smelling the cornucopia of fragrances of cooked food along my route!  It stirs my appetite, yes, which I love because I get to enjoy my dinner even more, but it also provokes my imagination and, oddly, boosts my sense of connection to my community.

Imagination-wise, I get to visualize what it is I’m smelling, where it’s coming from, who is cooking, who is eating. Often, for some reason, I seem to smell toast. As in, toasted bread. I picture sandwiches or accompanying garlic toast to some lovely spread of salad and pasta. Other times, it’s some undecipherable comingling of spices or herbs, sauteed aromatics, and other cooked vegetables. With this I picture either a local restaurant or family busy at work on preparing the international cuisine of their heritage, be it Italian, Indian, Thai or some hybrid of several cultures. Often lately it’s that unmistakable waft from someone’s outdoor grill, either chicken or hamburgers or even hot dogs. I don’t normally like hot dogs, but my nose doesn’t know that! I picture a plate of a savory hamburger, barbecue sauce, crunchy dill pickles and of course some summer fruit like watermelon or juicy peaches. And yes, I even notice the “junk” food; yesterday my route took me past a Burger King and KFC within close proximity of each other, and although it’s been years since I’ve eaten any food from either location (in fact the jury is still out on whether I’ve ever had KFC…don’t remember), for that one moment I’m not ashamed to say I found the “mysterious fried something or other” a beguiling smell in its own right.  Major “whew” that at least the smell of fast food remains calorie-free! 

Community-wise, although I may not be consuming what it is I’m smelling, remaining attuned and fully beholding these aromas enables me to partake on some level.  It pulls me out of “my” microscopic world and enables me to, momentarily, be just one more bee in the beehive.

It all helps to bring me back to opening up my senses and enjoying those sensual encounters that are all around me and add such a richness to my day!


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