Saturday, December 14, 2013

Lemon Ginger Sunshine Cake


Bright flavors not only please the palate, they bring cheer to the spirit and delight to the senses. Lemon and ginger complement each other beautifully, especially when food grade essential oil of ginger is used in place of grated or candied ginger. Flavor is distributed evenly and synergies are seamless. One bite of Ginger Lemon Sunshine Cake and taste buds cannot tell where lemon ends and ginger begins.

Lemon Ginger Sunshine Cake
Recipe by Michelle Krell Kydd
(Serves 9-12)

Ingredients:
·      2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
·      ½ cup organic evaporated cane juice
·      1 ½ teaspoons baking powder (non-aluminum)
·      ¼ teaspoon baking soda
·      ½ teaspoon sea salt (non-iodized)
·      3 ½ ounces organic Hunza raisins (available in health food stores)
·      1 cup low-fat, low sodium buttermilk (room temperature)
·      3-4 drops Aftelier Fresh Ginger Chef's Essence 
·      2 teaspoons Mexican vanilla extract 
·      2 large eggs (slightly beaten, room temperature)
·      zest of one small organic lemon
·      ⅓ cup sweet unsalted butter (melted and cooled)
*Hunza raisins are golden raisins that are processed without sulphur. You can substitute regular golden raisins if you like. 

Instructions:
·      Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
·      Grease one 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan (or three 5.75 x 3 inch loaf pans) with cooking spray.
·      In a large bowl sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt.
·      In a medium-size bowl, mix eggs, melted butter, vanilla extract, lemon zest, food grade essential oil of Ginger and vanilla extract. Add buttermilk and raisins to the wet mixture and incorporate.
·      Make a well in the center of the bowl with the dry ingredients and add wet ones. Combine wet and dry ingredients together, folding gently with a silicone spatula. Be careful not to over mix.
·      Pour batter into prepared pans and spread evenly. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes (30 to 35 minutes for smaller loads), or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
·      Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and place on a wire rack to continue cooling.
·      Refrigerate or freeze for future use. The large loaf yields 10 to 12 slices, the smaller loaf yields 5 to 6 slices.

Notes:
Feel free to add dried blueberries to Glass Petal Smoke's Lemon Ginger Sunshine Cake, in place of Hunza raisins. The fruity floral essence of blueberry works well with lemon, ginger, and vanilla.

Click here for an in-depth look at using food grade essential oils in baking.The post is a favorite with readers of Glass Petal Smoke.

Images of lemons (André Karwath) and vanilla (Nlian) via Creative Commons.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sofrito: A Savory Recipe for Fabulous Flavor



















Sofrito is the mirepoix of Latin cooking. Daughters learn how to make this savory flavor base by spending time with family matriarchs in the kitchen and listening to their stories. During my childhood in the Bronx I learned that there wasn't a difference between a nonna and an abuela when it came to keeping recipes secret. This was especially true if the creation in question was the culinary signature of a good cook in the culture.

The Puerto Rican abuelas and Italian nonnas I knew as a child had a healthy respect for memory because that is where they kept most of their recipes. If you asked nonna for a tomato sauce recipe or abuela for a sofrito recipe the answer was the same, "a little of this and a little of that" or "my English is no so good." The language barrier always puzzled me as these women seemed to understand more than they led on. You could see it in their eyes when they listened to conversations at the dinner table; you couldn't hide anything from them.

Grandmothers who cooked regularly didn't have to write recipes down because instinct took over when they prepared their signature dishes and sauces. They read their creations as they cooked like one reads words in the pages of a book. They'd smell, taste and make adjustments with preternatural finesse. As a child I had a deep sense of curiosity about the work of their hands. The perfect balance of flavors in their food made you feel like you were floating on air as you sat at the dinner table. The more you ate the more you felt like all was right in the world, and that you were loved unconditionally. That is what eating a good home-cooked meal does and it's what motivates the busiest of people to continue doing it today.

Figuring out how to make a delicious tomato sauce is possible if you have access to a variety of Italian cookbooks and the patience for squeezing San Marzano tomatoes by hand. Finding a good recipe for sofrito is an all together different affair. I became obsessed with procuring a genuine recipe for sofrito in 2008, after I tasted Puerto Rican Sweet Plantain Lasagna. When the cook yielded her recipe, it came without handwriting. Josephine Nieves gave me a salad dressing carafe filled with her boricua sofrito and told me, "It has a bunch of culantro, a head or more of garlic, sweet red bell pepper and extra virgin olive oil. Make it and taste it. You'll know when it's right." I listened closely to my friend Josephine, beloved abuelita of Jacob.

The perfume of sofrito is sublime. Its flavor supports many dishes as it melds with meat, dairy, fish, poultry and vegetables. I used my sense of smell and taste to configure the exact proportion of ingredients used in Josephine's sofrito and created my first few batches of sofrito using culantro, an herb that can be found in neighborhoods where Puerto Rican culture thrives. Glass Petal Smoke's recipe for sofrito makes use of cilantro in place of culantro (sanctioned by Josephine) as the flavor profiles are similar and cilantro is more readily available, (culantro is stronger and earthier than cilantro and is sold in small bags at market). This sofrito recipe in this post includes annatto and oregano which add earthy qualities that cilantro lacks when compared to culantro. You can leave these two ingredients out if you prefer.

After you make Glass Petal Smoke's sofrito try it in an omelet to see how beautifully the ingredients meld together, (1 teaspoon for up to three eggs). You can also add sofrito to chicken stock (1 tablespoon for each quart of stock) and make soup using chicken, vegetables and pasta. If you use your imagination there is little that will not taste good with sofrito; including spaghetti sauce.

Sofrito
Recipe by Michelle Krell Kydd
Yield: 1 to 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients:
  • 1 bunch of cilantro (rinsed, stems removed)
  • 12 cloves of garlic (up to 15 if you love garlic)
  • 1 1/2 medium-sized red bell peppers (two are fine if you prefer)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground annatto seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Mexican oregano (ground distributes flavor evenly)
  • 1/2 cup and 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (fruity type)
Directions: 
  • Peel garlic cloves and slice vertically so the pieces look like small discs, (see first image in the Sofrito Flavor Cube that accompanies this post). Allow the garlic to rest for 15 minutes, as you continue prepping the sofrito ingredients. This will increase flavor and allicin content.
  • Rinse cilantro in cold water to remove residual soil. Separate leaves and discard stems (the later will make your sofrito stringy and watery, even if you use a food processor).
  • Rinse, seed and slice red bell peppers in preparation for use in a food processor.
  • Pour olive oil into a small measuring cup.
  • Measure dry spices into a small bowl.
  • Layer ingredients in a 3-4 cup food processor, with the exception of the olive oil.
  • Add olive oil to the layered herbs, vegetables and spices.
  • Alternate between the chop and grind setting on your food processor until you have a paste. The cilantro should be thoroughly macerated.
  • Store in a glass jar or freeze for future use.
Notes:
The flavor cube photo includes four ingredients used in the sofrito recipe. They are (clockwise, from top left to bottom right): garlic, annatto, red bell peppers and cilantro leaves. Design by Michelle Krell Kydd.

Cilantro is sold by the bunch in supermarkets. It is usually two hand spans wide at the top.

Annatto adds flavor and color. It has a sweet, woody and earthy profile.

Mexican oregano is more floral and less medicinal tasting than the Turkish variety. You can substitute marjoram if Mexican oregano is not available.

If you have access to culantro use 1 and 1/2 bunches in place of cilantro in this recipe, (two bunches if you amp up the garlic).

Visit The Posh Latin Cook and follow Elena Carlo as she takes you a flavorful journey regarding all types of sofrito. Es muy sabroso!

When Celia Cruz sings "Yo Le Pongo Sazón" (translation, "I use seasoning/flavor") she means it. It's no coincidence that half of the video for the song, which includes Celia's recipe for an enduring marriage, is filmed in a kitchen. Cruz and husband Pedro Knight Caraballo were married for 41 years, so it's worth taking a cue from Celia and adding a little sazón to your life using sofrito. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Using Food Grade Essential Oils in Baking



















When it comes to baking with food grade essential oils there is little in the way of guidance for the uninitiated. Food grade essential oils are highly concentrated. Though used sparingly they are capable of producing deeply nuanced effects that are as memorable as they are delicious. Food grade absolutes are also available to bakers, but these are even more concentrated than food grade essential oils. Confused? Glass Petal Smoke will clear things up so you can expand your flavor horizons in time for the holidays.

Food grade essential oils are not new to the market. Boyajian and LorAnn meet traditional flavor needs, which include nature-identical flavors. Williams Sonoma offers a curated selection of Mandy Aftel's "Chef's Essences" which include; nutmeg, basil, black pepper, ginger, and yuzu food grade essential oils. Aftel, who single-handedly started the trend in natural perfumery, was selling food grade essential oils to chefs before flavor materials were available for purchase on Aftelier.com. Once she added these flavor materials to her palette of offerings molecular gastronomists and mixologists couldn't resist using them. The effect on consumers familiar with these types of flavorants was no different.

Food grade essential oils and absolutes are highly concentrated. If they aren't properly diluted they can erode the lining of the esophagus and damage tooth enamel. Understanding how to use them in a recipe is both an exercise in flavor creation and safety. How can something safely used in dilution be problematic at full strength? Concentrated essential oils are capable of behaving as solvents—which is why perfume and flavor extracts are diluted in alcohol or food grade glycerin. Want a more tangible example? Consider orange oil cleaners sold in supermarkets and health food stores. They don't cut through grease because they are "natural"; concentrated essential oil of orange cuts through grease because solvents break things down. This is not meant to engender fear of using food grade essential oils; it is meant to inform a common sense approach to proper dosing of flavorants while instilling a healthy respect for chemistry

If you are going to add "food grade" essential oils to your recipes use them in the same dilution as store bought flavor extracts, which are dosed between one and three percent. A one percent dilution is one drop of "food grade" essential oil to 100 drops of grain alcohol. A three percent dilution is three drops of "food grade" essential oil to 100 drops of grain alcohol. Once you prepare a diluted form of the food grade essential oil you can use it in your recipe as you would any store bought extract; by the teaspoonful. Be patient with yourself and your recipes as you will be learning to add flavor in a whole new way.

Food grade essential oils can also be directly added to fats in a recipe. This method can be applied once you have a handle on working with food grade essential oils diluted in alcohol. Butter is an ideal medium for food grade essential oils as creaming butter allows for the even distribution of flavor. A good range for adding food grade essential oils to butter is 1-3 drops of food grade essential oil to recipes calling for one quarter to one cup of butter (4 tablespoons - 2 sticks). Some essential oils, like lime and bergamot, can be used with a heavier hand (4 - 8 drops) because they are more volatile, (which is why they are categorized as top notes in perfumery). Anything more than these prescribed amounts and you might wind up with pastry that tastes like air freshener.

Notice the repeated specification of "food grade" essential oils in this post? Essential oils that are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA (section 582.20 of the FDA code) are not essential oils sold in health food stores for aromatherapy and scenting the skin, (even if they are labeled as "natural"). If you are going to use "food grade" essential oils check the FDA list regularly and make sure that the food grade essential oil you plan on purchasing is on the GRAS list. Organic "food grade" essential oils are highly recommended. Concentrated absolutes (stronger than essential oils) sold as essences for flavor application may contain trace amounts of hexane, a solvent used in the aroma extraction process that is a known neurotoxin. CO2 extracted absolutes (made using Supercritical carbon dioxide) are a better choice for flavor application as the extraction process allows the character of the raw material to come though in all its subtleties. Supercritical carbon dioxide is safe and kind to the environment so your purchasing choice respects the planet and palates of those who eat your pastry.

Feel like expanding your flavor horizons using food grade essential oils? Glass Petal Smoke has three cookie recipes that are perfect for the holiday season; Frankincense Shortbread, Orange Blossom Crumiri, and Bergamot Crumiri. The dough base in all of these cookie recipes can be tweaked to accommodate flavors that inspire your imagination. All you have to do is make adjustments where existing citrus zest, extracts and food grade essential oils are used. P.S. If you prefer to go gluten-free you can use the pastry base in Glass Petal Smoke's Persian Shortbread recipe and tweak for flavor.

Notes:
When you work with food grade essential oils make sure to purchase disposable plastic pipettes. Bottles with built-in droppers can get clogged and don't allow you to measure with precision. Some food grade essential oils don't come in dropper bottles so you'll need disposable pipettes. Glass droppers can be used if they are dedicated to a single flavor material only and are cleaned thoroughly after use. 

Visit Aftelier.com for exclusive Chef's Essences that aren't available on the Williams Sonoma website. 

Aroma: The Magic of Essential Oils, a cookbook by Mandy Aftel and Daniel Patterson, is out of print. The book contains sweet and savory recipes that include food grade essential oils. Glass Petal Smoke recommends buying a used copy for reference as it is co-authored by a perfumer and a chef.

Painting of Laboratorio by Remedios Varo

Creating tinctures is another way to add flavor to food. Herbalists have used this type of essence creation for centuries as alcohol extracts the aromatic and medicinal aspects of tinctured material. If you've made vanilla extract you have dabbled in tincturing. Want to know more about tincturing? Stay tuned. That's a future flavor post on Glass Petal Smoke

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Taste of Tarragon: Heaven in an Herb Paste



















The aroma of tarragon is not limited to the verdant lexicon typically associated with herbs. Tarragon isn't pungent, resinous, or redolent of citrus or floral notes. Tarragon is woodsy and anise-like, with an undercurrent of vanilla; not what you would expect of the herb if you relied on sight alone.

Tarragon is wonderful in chicken, vegetable, and fruit dishes. The herb imparts a refreshing quality due to the presence of estragole, a molecule that adds a quality of freshness that works well in sweet and savory applications. Flavor caveat; tarragon sings when combined with eggs, cheese and mushrooms. Finish the omelet with a touch of mustard and Imam Bayildi has competition in the category of  "food so good you could swoon."

Tarragon is best used fresh versus dried, (this is true for most herbs, but it is especially true of tarragon which develops a dusty, minty quality when parched). Glass Petal Smoke's recipe for Tarragon Herb Paste can be stored in the refrigerator for a week or frozen and used as needed. The addition of orange peel adds a subtle finish similar to the complementary twist of lemon peel in a martini. Organic tangerine or mandarin can also be used in place of Valencia orange in this recipe as each has an underripe green quality that complements tarragon.

Tarragon Herb Paste
Recipe by Michelle Krell Kydd
Yield: 1/2 cup

Ingredients:
  • 12 medium-sized sprigs fresh tarragon (removed from stem)
  • 4 medium-sized shallots
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds (non-roasted, with nut skin attached)
  • 2 teaspoons zest from an organic orange (Valencia is best)
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (fruity type)
Directions:
  • Rinse tarragon under cool water and pat dry. Gently press your thumb and forefinger against the tarragon stem, pinching it as your fingers slide down to detach the tarragon leaves. Remove unsightly leaves.
  • Peel shallot bulbs and slice horizontally in quarter inch slices.
  • Measure slivered raw almonds.
  • Rinse and dry an organic orange. Zest the peel using a Microplane Zester. Use a measuring spoon to dole out two teaspoons of zest.
  • Measure the extra virgin olive oil.
  • Layer non-liquid ingredients in a food processor (a 3-4 cup food processor will do).
  • Add the olive oil.
  • Make a paste in the food processor, alternating between the grind and chop settings until a paste is formed and the tarragon is well incorporated.
Notes:
Tarragon Herb Paste can be added to Greek-style yogurt and used as a dip or sandwich dressing.

Tarkhun is a tarragon soda popular in Russia. Food Perestroika has a recipe for tarragon syrup which can be used to make homemade tarragon soda. Tarragon syrup is the perfect addition to the adventurous mixologist's shelf.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Jean Carles Method: Olfactory Training Charts Revealed















In May 2007 "Exposing the Perfumer" was published in Perfumer and Flavorist. The article contained olfactory training charts created by perfumer Jean Carles of Givaudan. It was the first and only time olfactory training charts used to train professional perfumers were made available to the public by a trade publication. Perfumer & Flavorist has allowed the author, Michelle Krell Kydd, to share the article for educational purposes at no charge, effective September 5, 2013. The Jean Carles Method is explained on page 41. The charts are on pages 42 and 43. Fragrance houses have custom made aroma kits for use with the Jean Carles Method; one such kit is featured in the photograph above.

The brilliance of the Jean Carles Method is its two-step approach. A perfumer first smells individual raw materials by similarity to get acquainted with themes and nuances. The perfumer then smells ingredients by contrast which expands their capacity to memorize aromas while revealing unexpected complements. This process of evaluation allows perfumers to study the relationship between aromas and increases olfactory vocabulary. There are two charts; one for natural materials and one for aroma molecules. The method is practiced regularly by perfumers across flavor and fragrance companies, and is used by artisan perfumers outside the industry who craft their own perfumes.


















The Jean Carles Method and associated olfactory training charts provide an indispensable tool for those with an interest in the sense of smell, gastronomy and/or mixology. Steffen Arctander's Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin supports the Jean Carles Method, providing detailed information on ingredients. Glass Petal Smoke hopes that universities will consider using the Jean Carles Method for transdisciplinary, arts-infused curriculum as the possibilities are limitless. Perfumery is an art and a science, and thus has a place in STEM initiatives from K-12. The sense of smell is memory's handmaiden. To deny students the opportunity to explore olfaction from a creative perspective would be more than shortsighted; it would truly stink.

Notes and Resources:
Thanks go out to Jeb Gleason-Allured (Perfumer and Flavorist) for allowing Glass Petal Smoke to share "Exposing the Perfumer" and associated Jean Carles Method olfactory training charts.

Thanks are also extended to Kate Greene (Givaudan) who said "yes" when I asked for permission to liberate the Jean Carles Method and associated olfactory training charts so that a curious public would have access to a hidden art and science. I know this was not easy and that perfumer Jean Guichard, Director of Givaudan's Perfumery School, helped. Your collaborative "yes" now has the potential to influence olfactory curriculum and the art of perfumery in ways that truly engage the senses.

Caveat: The Jean Carles Method olfactory training charts are modified whenever regulation by the International Fragrance Association (IFRA) indicates a necessity to do so. This affects the percentage at which a raw material is diluted in alcohol and/or its outright use, depending on the outcome of scientific studies.

Jean Carles was interviewed in "The Absolute in Grasse," by Donald William Dresden. The article was published in the October 8, 1955 edition of the New Yorker (pp 161-177). Retrieving the article is a bit clunky when it comes to functionality, but worth the effort and expense.

Anyone wishing to buy essential oils so they can learn the Jean Carles Method for natural materials has several options when it comes to suppliers. Glass Petal Smoke recommends Aftelier, Enfleurage, Liberty Natural Products and White Lotus Aromatics.

The photo of the Jean Carles olfactory training kit is the editor's "naturals" kit. It was used to study perfumery with Jean Guichard at Givaudan.

The photo of a smiling gentleman with a tie is that of perfumer extraordinaire Jean Carles.

If you would like to use this blog post for educational purposes you are free to do so. Posting the article titled "Exposing the Perfumer" on other sites, for non-educational purposes, is not permitted. Please respect these terms and conditions as Perfumer and Flavorist has been most gracious in allowing Glass Petal Smoke to share this article with readers.

Monday, June 10, 2013

You are Proust: The Case for Developing Your Olfactory Mind






















The proverbial Proustian moment isn’t limited to the nostalgic reveries of a madeleine loving protagonist. Flashes of autobiographical memory inspired by taste and smell reflect a rich life-affirming aspect of human experience. These moments make for worshipful excerpts in literature because the sense of smell and its handmaiden flavor are not easy to describe. Real life encounters with Proustian moments are not only possible, they are more likely to occur if you take the time to develop your olfactory mind. We can't keep talking about Proust; he's dead, the madeleine he ate is lost to an ever-changing ecosystem, and the pastry described in In Search of Lost Time may have been a piece of dry toast

Autobiographical memory inspired by taste and smell reflects an extended pattern of experience that builds on itself. It is shares the characteristics of replicating patterns of self-similarity one finds in fractal images; parts of the whole appear the same from near or far (consider time as a continuum and you get the picture). Flashbacks inspired by taste and smell enter a person's consciousness when something in the present triggers a foundational memory. In this space, past and present merge altering time as we know it. This produces the closest approximation to time travel we can experience without pharmacopoeia or strict adherence to a spiritual lifestyle.






















Memories inspired by taste and smell are exceedingly powerful when they reference childhood experience. Dr. Maria Larsson found that children ages 8-10 form foundational olfactory impressions that last a lifetime. I've observed these types of olfactory memories being made in classroom settings at 826Michigan where I teach a series of Smell and Tell classes designed to improve expository writing skills. Discovery shapes this period of childhood development as it is a time when kids delight in self awareness, as well as differentiation from parents and younger siblings. They are less influenced by peer pressure than their tween counterparts, who are more concerned with fitting in and defining themselves by group affiliation. 

Smell is the passport to one's "self" enriched by a grounded sense of identity against the canvas of sensory experience. This is beautifully articulated by Jane Miller in the essay "Midnights." Miller focuses on the transporting effect of encountering the "new" with an emphasis on cultivating a state of presence that is integral to the transformative experience associated with travel:
"Wherever the traveler goes in a quest for beauty and knowledge, if the place responds like a peacock displaying its iridescence, we have the stuff legends are made of. Imagery explodes and creates a derangement of the senses. Those who have already gone and returned no longer remember it that way, or remember the place fondly or inexactly. But during the ritual visit itself, the unfamiliar and disoriented prevail, requiring that we notice things in their entirety, which we must do to "get anywhere" in the confrontation with the new. To see a thing entire is to see its other-worldliness, to see the stripes, fangs and the sausage-like intestines, working through the analogical possibilities to experience it ("it" is, by now, a monstrous thing).
Having given it our full attention, a meditation, what follows is often revelatory. The spirit of a place, a person, or a thing exchanges freely with the stranger's spirit..."                                                                                                 Miller, Jane. "Midnights." Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Women Writers Explore their Favorite Fairy Tales, edited by Kate Bernheimer, 236, New York, NY: Anchor Books, 2002.













Can Proustian moments be nurtured early in life? Cultivating an olfactory mind when receptivity is high provides an excellent springboard for this type of thinking. Children experience a multitude of “new” things because they are open to new experiences by virtue of their years. That feeds their sense of wonder, but there is a caveat; attachment to likes and dislikes must be surmounted to make room for an evaluative point of view that allows a person to see something in its entirety. There are no wrong answers when it comes to how a person experiences smell and taste. Evaluation is shaped by experience, culture, and emotion which are unique to each individual. The relief and "ah-ha" moment understanding provides to children and adults in a classroom setting encourages creativity and is subtly profound.

Proustian moments can be nurtured in adulthood despite the fact that smell loss is part of the aging process. Scientists have discovered that parts of the brain related to olfaction in perfumers are more highly developed; even in those who are 40+, (a time when the sense of smell starts to decline as part of the aging cycle). If you are light years from childhood there is no time like the present to exercise your olfactory mind. You may be surrounded by opportunities for a Proustian moment and not even know it. Glass Petal Smoke suggests that you follow these simple tips to get you started on your journey, with or without the mythical madeleine: 
  • Experience something new every day and keep a written list of what you discover.
  • Explore local foodways and seek out new flavors.
  • Make a conscious effort to shift environments during the day as a variety of smellscapes outside your window/cubicle shape the context of sensory experience and provide reference points for new memories.
  • Travel to places you have never visited before and indulge all of your senses.
  • Smell everything you can; flowers, fruits, the ingredients you use to cook/bake, etc.
  • Buy a good book about essential oils and curate a collection of favorites that you can smell repeatedly over time. 
  • Explore mindfulness practice in your spiritual tradition and get in touch with being present.
Notes:
The Glass Petal Smoke "Sensory Questionnaire" is a tool you can use to get inside your olfactory mind. Learn how here

Explore ways that you can define a smell on this WikiHow.

*How important is childhood when it comes to smell and autobiographical memory?  Read "Smell Your Way Back to Childhood,by Dr. Maria Larsson and find out. Dr. Johan Willander’s "Autobiographical Odor Memory" digs deep on the subject across ages.

"Memories" illustration by Greg Abbott. Used with permission. You can visit Greg Abbott's Tumblr, but be sure to stop by his online shop. Very cool stuff here. 

Rino is a little girl who eats dishes from around the world. Her parents have nurtured her olfactory mind beyond the madeleine, though the picture of her eating one is quite charming. Rino's YouTube channel was featured in a story in The Huffington Post. Image rights revert back to Rino and her family.

We lose our sense of smell as we age. It begins at age 40 and can increase dramatically once your reach 65 (50% loss between 65-80 with a whopping 75% loss at 80+). Developing your olfactory mind by practicing smell calisthenics is a good idea if you plan on enjoying your "golden" years.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Edith Frank and the Chemistry of Esters

















Edith Frank was my high school chemistry teacher at The Bronx High School of Science. A taskmaster in the classroom with a fierce passion for science, Mrs. Frank enjoyed the choreography of molecules in reaction and would quickly point out words used in chemistry that described things in ordinary life such as the concept of a catalyst. Though I enjoyed the art of chemistry, I was resistant to its mathematical aspects. I would have preferred to study the life of Dmitri Mendeleev and the stories behind each element in his Periodic Table of Elements.

Mrs. Frank was patient, worldly and clever. Some students were prone to making jokes about her appearance as she wore an impeccably coiffed wig, had perfectly penciled eyebrows, and wore a distinctive red lipstick that screamed Chanel. Edith Frank reminded me of Betty Glassman, a widow who lived in my apartment building on 191st Street in the Bronx who wore Chanel No. 5 every day and had a singing chihuahua. Betty and Edith didn't look alike, but each had the sophisticated carriage of a grande dame that never heads for the exit door in memory.

What I remember most about Edith Frank was that she turned me on to chemistry when everything in my being resisted that relationship. This transformation came when our class focused on the synthesis of fragrant esters in a lab session. Our task was to combine acetic acid and iso-Amyl Alcohol to make iso-Amyl Acetate; a banana ester used to create banana flavor in the food industry. Like Sharon Longert, my fifth grade teacher at P.S. 33 in the Bronx, Edith Frank nurtured my olfactory mind. Chemistry became magical when I could relate it to my sense of smell and taste.

If you try to google Edith Frank you'll find the mother of the acclaimed Holocaust diarist dominates the search algorithm as Anne's mother is more popular than a retired chemistry teacher from The Bronx High School of Science. The utility of the Internet as a search vehicle, outside of access to birth/death records and obituaries, is trumped by serendipity when you search for information attached to a person. I had the good fortune of locating an essay, which features Edith Frank, in the Meadowood Anthology 1905-2011: Memories in Miniature.
 

















Luise David was Edith Frank's neighbor and the two Upper West Side apartment dwellers became travel companions. David's essay, "How I Discovered Mt. Fuji One Morning", proves that Edith Frank's "worldliness" was not a byproduct of my imagination; at 16 my writer's mind was able grasp the elements of her character more quickly than those which graced the molecules in Mendeleev's table.

I never heard about a "Mr. Frank" or any Frank children when I attended the Bronx High School of Science. David's essay does not venture into Mrs. Frank's private life and so these curiosities remain a mystery. I am grateful to have had Edith Frank as a chemistry teacher and hope that serendipity leads me to more information about who she was outside the classroom.

Notes:
Luise David's essay, "How I Discovered Mt. Fuji One Morning", can be found on pages 43 and 44 of Meadowood Anthology 1905-2011: Memories in Miniature.

Esterification is a chemical process that takes place when wine undergoes aging. Some of wine's esters (up to 160 at last count) can be found on the "fruity" portion of the wine aroma wheel designed by Ann C. Noble

Monday, April 1, 2013

Sniffing Around: The Nose by Nikolai Gogol

Can character be measured by a nose? In The Nose, a short story by Nikolai Gogol, a human olfactory appendage is the protagonist. It makes its debut inside a loaf of bread at the breakfast table of a barber. The incident may not be in good taste, but the implications of a missing nose in Gogol's story is loaded with metaphor; some nuanced and some, well, let's just say you should read the satirical story in its entirety for the full effect.



Mordicai Gerstein, known for illustrating children's books, directed and designed an animated version of Gogol's short story. The film is called A Nose and was released in 1966. It continues to charm fans of animation made by hand.
















Gogol's The Nose also inspired composer Dimitri Shostakovich who wrote an opera based on the satirical short story early in his career. Glass Petal Smoke recommends the recording by the Mariinski Orchestra, conducted by Valery Gergiev, for the pleasure of your ears.














Will a perfume based on Gogol's The Nose appear in the near future? If it does it could kick-start a noseology genre in fine fragrance as there is no shortage of "nose" inspired literature. Someone could pick up where Salvador Dali and his infamous perfume left off...

Notes:
Major Kovalyov's nose returned to his face on April 7th following various escapades in Nikolai Gogol's The Nose. It made its detached appearance on March 25th.

Noseology is a literary sub-genre that appeared in Russia between 1820 and 1830. Lauren Lydic calls out the sub-genre in her essay, "'Noseological' Parody, Gender Discourse, and Yugoslav Feminisms: Following Gogol's 'Nose' to Ugrešić's 'Hot Dog on a Warm Bun'."

Salvador Dali was good friends with Elsa Schiaparelli. They collaborated on several fragrances utilizing Dali's expertise as an artist.

Google decided to play an olfactory April Fool's joke on its site today. It introduced Google Nose Beta, "promising a fragrant Google experience." The olfactory inclined will enjoy the humor which infuses the page, (it also includes a video featuring Product Manager John Wooly). Has the culture of smell has made a mark in the digital space? Stay tuned...

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Inner Vision: Transcending Olfactory Stereotypes in Autism (Part II)





























Part I of this story can be found here.

A paper fractal flower addresses scent delivery issues in an olfactory play environment that embraces autistic children. The "fractal flower" acts as a repository for a narrow fragrance blotter which can be inserted scent side up or scent side down inside a hollow stem. This aspect of customization opens olfactory play to children with a variety of olfactory capacities, allowing children and their caregivers to shape the smelling experience. Emphasis on hypersmellers and hyposmellers is prevalent in literature that focuses on the sensory life of autistic children, so the form and function of the fractal flower is a good litmus test for olfactory stereotypes.






















Constructed out of four wide tapered fragrance blotters, the fractal flower possesses the self replicating pattern of flower petals found in the natural world. When arranged in a group, fractal flowers invite curiosity, resembling a playful flower patch. Repetitive pattern is soothing to all children; whether they have autism or not. Repetition implies order, predictability and a structural narrative which is why fractals are universally appealing.

















The idea for the fractal flower is shaped by an olfactory exercise used to study ingredients in perfumery. It is common for those working with raw materials to practice smelling, recording and recalling sensory impressions while smelling ingredients on paper perfume blotters. Some materials require more study than others which is largely due to their complexity and sheer beauty. Jasmine grandiflorum is one of those ingredients.

Olfactory exercises conducted at night have a way of influencing the subconscious as memory and emotion are the first set of doors opened by scent. After smelling Jasmine grandiflorum before going to sleep my dreams included images of star jasmine floating above a lake. These images stayed with me and were the impetus for replicating the flowers in waking life.

The morning after the jasmine dream I noticed four unused perfume blotters that I'd left on my desk after studying Jasmine grandiflorum. The images from the dream animated an idea that led to a working form that could be expressed by assembling the blotters into a flower. As I folded and secured the four petaled flower I realized it was the perfect repository for a slender perfume blotter that could be inserted scent side up or scent side down. That is how the "fractal flower" was born.















At the Play Connection event, the categorization of hypersmellers and hyposmellers proved to be more stereotype than fact. The deferred position of the scented blotter was scent side up. The odorant was applied at the highest dilution (three strengths per material was available to address potential smelling issues). Only one child requested that their scented blotter be turned down which resolved the odor intensity issue.

Children who were less verbal than their Asperger counterparts began smiling as they smelled. When they recognized familiar vanilla aromas they began to speak. Their responses varied based on personality, level of shyness and the degree to which autism affected their ability to interact socially. A child who was completely non-verbal interacted with a fractal flower when it was inserted into a form of repetitive play (he was carefully filling dump trucks with beans in even amounts and allowed the flower to become part of the play ritual, albeit briefly).

The aromas smelled were; Madagascar vanilla, vanillin, Tahitian vanilla and heliotropin. The most popular scents were Madagascar vanilla and heliotropin (the later is a molecule known to have calming effects in an empirical study). When the children were asked to describe the smells the most common descriptors were; cookies, cake, and ice cream. Many of the children said that smelling vanilla made them feel hungry.


















Are autistic children strictly hypersmellers and hyposmellers? The definitions within these perceptual categories are not incorrect, but their generalized application is. Sensory processing disorders exist in children with autism, but this "condition" is best defined as a dialect of the senses. In addition, olfactory capacities vary based on genetics and medical conditions. If an autistic child is taking medication it might affect olfactory and gustatory chemoreceptors.

It wasn't long ago that synesthesia was considered a neurological aberration that deserved to be "typed" rather than explored as a superpower. This condition of cross-sensory perception has become chic in the culture because it is aligned with the arts and pursued by neuroscientists.

It is important to remember that extreme categorizations like that of hypersmellers and hyposmellers infuse a quality of predictive judgment that cages possibility. Children with autism have a lot to teach science. It would be wise to make room for the possibility of variety in their olfactory experience and be wary of stereotyping. The key to understanding autism and the senses is more openness.

Notes:
The first part of this story appeared in a March 3, 2013 post on Glass Petal Smoke.

Hypersmellers are overstimulated by smells. Hyposmellers are under-stimulated by smells. A person experiencing migraine with aura can experience temporary hypersmelling just before a headache comes on.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Gift of Jasmine






















An ounce of Jasmine grandiflorum absolute sits inside a rosewood box. Protected by a black velvet pouch, the essence rarely sees daylight. A French perfumer gave it to me as a gift before I left New York. One whiff and I instantly remember what he said when he gave it to me, "This is jasmine of Grasse from Chanel's Fields. You will never smell any other jasmine like it." A short moment of silence transpired as the perfumer migrated from reverie to speech, "Treasure it. The vintage is sublime and not so easy to get."

The cosseted lilt of his French accent was infused with the sweetness of dark honey and a hint of mischief. There could be no doubt that what he said was true; I could smell the fruity floral essence of the fragile white petals accompanied by an indolic trace that spoke of leather, musk, sweat and skin. It was written in the soft undercurrent of fragrance that followed the path of his hand as the bottle left his jacket pocket and found its way into my fingers.

No wonder there are tales in jasmine-lore about farmers who keep their young daughters out of night blooming jasmine fields for fear they might be seduced by roving lotharios. Jasmine does not impugn, but she does not ensure chastity where she breathes.


















Jasmine "absolute" has a rich amber color and contains the concentrated essence of the flower. It is typically extracted by solvent or CO2 (the latter is preferred as there are no traces of chemical solvent when this gas is used).  When combined with rose absolute a familiar olfactory pairing emerges. It is the smell of every woman who has worn a classic luxury perfume; an intimate smell that is more about presence than the boudoir. The marriage of jasmine and rose is legend in the art of perfumery as each ingredient accentuates the beauty of the other. It is said that there isn't a fragrance formula that jasmine can't befriend.

Much has been written about the rose in the English language, but far less of jasmine. Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai wrote about the flower's fragrant persistence which he shares in this poem:
The jasmine came upon us, as always, from behind
when we were drunk and vulnerable.
All evening we spoke about the armor of perfume
that will be pierced by pain, the security
candy provides, about brown
chocolate insulation,
about old disappointments that become
the hope of the young
like clothes that went out of fashion
and now are worn again.

At night I dreamed about jasmine.
And the next day jasmine penetrated
even the interpretations of the dream. 

The perfumer who gave me the jasmine knew how complex jasmine could be and planted a seed as he advised, "Even after you have learned the Jean Carles Method of perfumery, and have memorized similar and contrasting ingredients with your nose, you must continue your studies privately. You should try smelling a single raw material before you go to sleep once or twice a week. Don't analyze it. Just smell it and let it work through your senses. You will be amazed at what happens when you wake up."

I took the perfumer's advice a few times, first with bergamot, then with lavender and finally with frankincense. These essential oils are known to inspire relaxation and continue to be studied in the lab. The story of jasmine and its preciousness made me hesitate. If jasmine was capable of marrying so easily in perfumery where would it nest in my consciousness?


















For three consecutive evenings I smelled jasmine before bed. The first two nights I smelled the essence on a perfume blotter. For the third and final night I applied a small amount of jasmine in the hollow at the base of the throat (known as the suprasternal notch in classic anatomy). When applied in this manner the aroma diffuses evenly as you breathe.

All of these smelling exercises produce an effect that is similar to reading a book before you go to sleep; you remember the details of what you've experienced with incredible clarity upon awakening.

The jasmine effect was more intense when the fragrance was worn to bed and found its way into a dream. I woke up that morning and spent a good part of the day making paper flowers out of wide perfume blotters for an olfactory class I was scheduled to teach. I needed a device to support a slender fragrance blotter for smelling and the dream inspired by jasmine allowed me to create it.

As I formed each paper flower the perfumer's words echoed in my mind, "You will never smell any other jasmine like it." His words still ring true. I have smelled many varieties and vintages of jasmine absolute in my work, but never anything like the Jasmine grandiflorum absolute ensconced in a rosewood box...

Notes:
The waxy and herbaceous floral aroma of Jasmine grandiflorum includes facets of; green pear, banana, cinnamon, tea leaf, bee's wax and tobacco leaf.

Aftelier Perfumes sells a gorgeous jasmine absolute (grandiflorum) and a beautiful Turkish rose absolute. A few drops of each diluted in jojoba oil or perfumer's alcohol make a beautiful perfume. They are truly a perfect pair.

Jasmine flowers at night. It is believed that florigen, a plant hormone, builds up in the leaves when the plant is exposed to sunlight. This signaling hormone travels towards the flower buds where it causes them to bloom at night. Florigen's chemical identity is being researched via molecular genetics.

The perfume of jasmine, like many fragrant white flowers, is more noticeable at night as these flowers attract night pollinators. 

Joy by Jean Patou is a wonderful example of the alchemy of jasmine and rose. According to legend there are 10,000 jasmine blossoms and 28 dozen roses in a 30ml bottle of Joy perfume.

A la Nuit by Serge Lutens is inspired by singular aroma of jasmine. Though other ingredients are used to support the fragrance the effect is intensely jasmine. 
 
Though there are no online examples of the fragrance charts used to study the Jean Carles Method of perfumery, you can purchase an article I wrote for Perfumer and Flavorist in May 2007 which contains the Jean Carles charts. The article is called "Exposing the Perfumer". Glass Petal Smoke is of the opinion that universities would benefit greatly from teaching the Jean Carles Method of Perfumery as part of sensory curriculum in science and the arts.

It is not uncommon to find jasmine fields in Grasse that are exclusive to fragrance brands. Le Domaine de Manon's Jasmine grandiflorum fields are proprietary to Christian Dior. Diorama, a Christian Dior perfume created in 1949, is a stellar example of a beautiful execution of jasmine in perfumery by perfumer Edmond Routnitska. Like many classics it has been subject to reformulation and has lost some of its complexity. It is still a beautiful perfume and is available exclusively at Sak's Fifth Avenue stores. 

Graphics designed by Michelle Krell Kydd. All rights reserved.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Inner Vision: Transcending Olfactory Stereotypes in Autism (Part I)


















There is little research available on the sense of smell in children with autism. So when I was asked to participate in Play Connection at the Ann Arbor District Library, I said yes. I've worked with high functioning children that have Asperger's Syndrome at 826Michigan Smell and Tell workshops. I have found these children to be some of the most insightful and thoughtful human beings I have ever met. Their evaluation of aroma is creative, playful and precise. When they don't like something they always have a well-reasoned opinion which causes me to reflect on my own preferences.

In accepting the library's invitation I realized I was taking a risk. It wasn't the idea of uncharted territory that gave me pause; it was the research literature I was reading about the sense of smell in children with autism. There seemed to be a pattern of putting autistic children's olfactory sensorial life in a box, which is odd when one considers how little research has been done on odor preferences in children with autism.














The prevailing theory is that children fit into one of two olfactory categories; hypersmellers (extremely sensitive to smells) and hyposmellers (have difficulty smelling). Not much is discussed about the space in between these two extremes in Olga Bogdashina's book, Sensory Perceptual Issues in Autism and Aspberger Syndrome which was published in 2003. A study at the University of Edinburgh in 2010 suggests that reduced vasopressin levels (a hormone that regulates the perception of new and familiar smells) affects social bonding in children with autism. The focus on "dis"-ability leaves out the issue of what lies in the area between the two extremes of over-smelling and under-smelling.

If one took stock in prevailing opinion it would be easy to dismiss olfaction in a play setting with autistic children. The researchers who conducted "Emotional Responses to Odors in Children with High-Functioning Autism: Autonomic Arousal, Facial Behavior and Self-Report"  in 2011 admitted that,  "relatively few studies have dealt with responsiveness to odors in children with autism" on page four of their study. They selected odorants in their study based on "their [the odors'] potency to induce pleasant or unpleasant odor perceptions." This is explained on page five of their study and quoted here for context and edification:

"Eight odors were used in the present study: vanilla (vanillin), cheese (isovaleric acid), rose (essential oil), green grass (cis-3-hexenol), mint (menthol), chlorine, sweat (androstenone), and feces (3-methylindol). The main criterion for selecting these odors was their potency to induce pleasant or unpleasant odor perceptions. Vanilla and rose, widely used fragrances, were expected to be rated as pleasant. In the opposite, feces and cheese were predicted to be judged as unpleasant. Mint and chlorine were selected due to their property to stimulate intranasal trigeminal nerve structures (releasing sensations of freshness or irritation), and not only the main olfactory system believed to be preferentially stimulated by the other odors. Finally, the odors of green grass and sweat were added as representatives of the physical and social environment, respectively. All these odors were presented at suprathreshold concentrations. The odorous solutions and the control stimulus (distilled water) were presented in 60-ml opaque glass jars in volumes of 20 ml."

After reading the paper by Jasna Legiša, Daniel S. Messinger, Enzo, Kermol and Luc Marlier, I decided to build on their theory of familiar odors and the idea of potency from a literal standpoint. Vanilla is a universally appealing aroma and is familiar as a smell and a flavor. There are several kinds of vanilla used in flavors and fragrances, as well as isolated single molecules that have the dominant characteristics identified with the smell and taste of vanilla.

Madagascar vanilla, vanillin, Tahitian vanilla and heliotropin were chosen as odorants for the Play Connection exercise. Each was compounded in three strengths by Dream Air, which provided a variety of potencies that could be tailored to suit the olfactory needs of an autistic child. In the interest of creating a pattern the children could follow, the bottles were distinguished by a colored sticker, and potencies recorded as small, medium and large. I referred to them as "big smells and little smells" when interacting with the children.














The graphic above illustrates the aromatic properties of the different vanilla aromas that were chosen for the Play Connection program (you can click on the image for better resolution). This was prepared as a handout for parents so they could participate with their children and understand the aromatic properties of the different types of vanilla being used in olfactory play.

Vanilla is an aroma associated with security, comfort, nurture and home. There are several varieties of vanilla used for baking, but the one that is best known is Madagascar vanilla. Madagascar vanilla is sweet, woody and balsamic. Tahitian Vanilla is a more floral vanilla and is typically characterized as sweet, woody, floral, almond-like, and balsamic. Some adults associate the scent of Tahitian vanilla with pipe tobacco because it bears a resemblance to derivatives from tonka beans which are used to flavor tobacco.


















Vanillin is the dominant molecule in vanilla and has sweet, milky and creamy nuances. It is also the molecule used to make artificial vanilla (it can be isolated from vanilla beans, wood pulp and other natural sources). Heliotropin is the molecule which gives Tahitian vanilla its distinctive aroma. It is also the odorant that gives Play-Doh® its unique smell. The smell of Play-Doh® is infused with nostalgia, so much so that Demeter Fragrances released a perfume inspired by Play-Doh®. Does familiarity breed pleasant associations? The answer is yes. Heliotropin was piped into MRI machines and shown to have a calming effect on patients at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital (63% decrease in anxiety in patients undergoing MRI as part of a study published in 1994).














There was no guarantee that every child who came to Play Connection at the Ann Arbor District Library would want to read the aroma information on the handouts, and/or have the capacity to discuss it (communication is difficult for some children with autism and some of them are non-verbal). As a work around, four hangtags containing an aroma description and a colored sticker allowed children to pick a color versus asking for something by name. This approach added the element of choice and surprise, while taking into account natural shyness and neural issues with verbal communication. Having choices is an integral part of play and puts control into the hands of a child; an approach that takes social anxiety into consideration and creates a sense of safety.

Multisensory context while smelling is important as this is how associations are formed. Adults who are not on the autism spectrum have specific memories associated with vanilla. Children on and off the spectrum who are making olfactory associations may not be conscious of how they relate to smell (it is the most neglected sense in our culture and education, and is an integral part of the experience of detecting flavor). Children ages 8-10 form foundational olfactory memories that stay with them for life. This age group is highly impressionable and finds it easy to talk about good and bad smells.















The equation Smell + Taste = Flavor is an important one to remember. Hypersmellers who have a tendency to smell their food before they eat it already know this. Retronasal olfaction is the name for the convergence of smell and taste that produces flavor. Flavor wheels used to study wine, cheese and other foods help adults form a gustatory vocabulary to describe what they taste and smell. It is a skill that anyone can learn as long as they have a fully functioning chemosensory system.

Describing what we taste and smell is a challenge in all stages in life. This is true because smell is first processed in the limbic system; the part of the brain that manages emotion and memory. It then moves to the cerebral cortex where language is processed. This makes smelling more difficult for children with autism who are easily overwhelmed or aren’t verbal.

Hyposmellers have a hard time perceiving smells and actively seek strong odors. It is possible that they are overcompensating from a survival instinct as the better they smell the more they can tangibly enjoy food as well as sense danger (smoke, spoiled food, etc.). Though this has not been scientifically proven it is a premise worthy of scientific exploration.

Every child responds to smells differently; whether they are on or off the autism spectrum. This is why it is important to respect their feelings and reactions. If they like something, that's fine. If they don’t like something, that's fine too. If the context is comfortable for them it will be easy to tell whether they like something or not.






















There is an important issue to contend with regarding olfactory play that no research study has provided answers to; how to deliver aromas so that the sensory preferences of autistic children can be accommodated based on the way they perceive smells. This is a design challenge as well as a delivery challenge. You can't hand a fragrance blotter to a child and expect them to know how to smell it effectively; whether they can smell well or not.

The solution to this issue did not come to me in waking life; it came in a dream inspired by a flower that is famous for its use in perfumery. Stay tuned for Part II of "Inner Vision: Transcending Olfactory Stereotypes in Autism" and find out how the results of this discovery exceeded expectations, and can be applied by teachers and therapists who work with autistic children.
*Part two of this story can be found here.

Acknowledgements:
A big thank you goes out to Laura Raynor, the librarian at the Ann Arbor District Library who invited me to Play Connection so olfaction could be introduced to autistic children as a form of play. Dr. Richard Solomon, the founder of The Play Project, welcomed Laura's suggestion. His favorite vanilla odorant is heliotropin (he was informed of the therapeutic properties after his selection).

Thanks also go out to Dr. Temple Grandin of Colorado State University, and Dr. Leslie Vosshall (of the Vosshall Lab at Rockefeller University). Both women allowed me to interview them as part of the "Inside the Olfactory Mind" series on Glass Petal Smoke. Dr. Grandin taught me to think from the point of view of a person with autism. Dr. Vosshall encouraged me to move forward with my ideas, which gave me the courage to try something that has never been done before. The two of you are some of the most amazing women in research that I know.

DreamAir has been incredibly supportive of all of my olfactory work with children and adults, supplying me with raw materials  and scents for all of the Smell and Tell workshops I've conducted at 826Michigan and the Ann Arbor District Library. Thank you Christophe Laudamiel and Christoph Hornetz for all that you do, and for never saying no when I ask for something.

Notes:
The Bennetto Lab at the University of Rochester in New York is dedicated to researching the neurocognitive bases of autism. Their current project, "Taste, Smell, and Feeding Behavior in Autism: A Quantitative Traits Study," is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Click here to find out how to participate in studies at the Bennetto Lab. NIH-funded studies are funded by tax dollars.

Many research papers are not available to the public unless a fee is paid to access them. This type of "embargo" prevents the public from having access to medical studies that could be of interest to them. Glass Petal Smoke hopes that this changes in the future as open source culture has the potential to accelerate progress by increasing public interest, discussion and funding.

"The Case for the Connoisseurship of Smell" provides interesting information of the sense of smell and makes a case for practicing smell calisthenics; whether you have autism or not. This was reinforced in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal titled "Uncork the Nose's Secret Powers".

Image Credits:
The Scent of the Primeval is an illustration by artist Li Pei Huang. It appeared in Chuan Art Magazine, No. 2, "The Sense of Smell". Chuan Art Studio is based in Taiwan. To obtain a copy of this magazine contact chuan.art.studio [at] gmail [dot] com. Image used with permission of artist. Rights revert back to the Chuan Arts Magazine and Li Pei Huang.

Image of Geomant 60: Polysensorial Metaphoric Dimension is from the Strategic Challenge of Polysensorial Knowledge and is licensed under Creative Commons.

All other images designed by Michelle Krell Kydd.