Unlike sound, which we can tune out or block out, taste and smell are a constant in life for most of us and are very much interconnected. In fact, if our sense of smell is diminished in any way, by say an illness, injury or the like, than the negative impact to your sense of taste is not too far behind.
There are so many different tastes and smells out in the world for us to enjoy in our creative life. In the case of food, every day we encounter savory, spicy, and sweet foods and drinks each with its own distinct aroma and taste triggers. Other aromatics include perfumes, flowers, herbs and more. Some descriptions used to describe these scents include:
- Citrus (orange, lemon)
- Ethereal (pears, crisp, fresh)
- Fruity (apples, berries)
- Floral (roses)
- Minty (peppermint)
- Musk (spicy and woodsy)
- Resinous (camphor)
- Spicy (cloves, ginger, cinnamon)
And of course, the not-so-nice smells like…
- Foul (rotten eggs)
- Acrid (vinegar)
With the exception of the last two, some of these smells are yummy enough to enjoy as food or to cook in combination with other foods, while other aromas are only meant to be enjoyed through your wonderful sense of smell.
Before beginning the exercises below, please take a few minutes to unwind from the day’s activities and clear your sense of taste and smell a bit. To do this, gently steam your nose/face for a minute or so with plain hot water than afterwards, take a sip of cool clean water, swish it around in your mouth for a minute and spit the water into a sink. Caution: when steaming, be sure to keep your face a good distance from the hot water to avoid burning yourself.
Like yesterday’s exercises, the exercises for “smell and taste” involve a small amount of writing. Even if the creativity you want to cultivate is not writing-related, the process of getting thoughts out of your head and on to paper can unleash all sorts of creative ideas.
Supplies you’ll need to get started:
- A variety of food items (see below)
- Notebook or paper pad
- Egg Timer or watch with timer
- Glass of cool water
Exercise 1: General Scents
Step 1: Where you are right now, and with your notebook and pen ready, stop what you are doing and describe what you smell. Be as detailed as you can.
Step 2: Avoid using the descriptors mentioned above. Write your own description in your notebook.
Step 3: Now explore your surroundings with your nose, yup, like a puppy dog. Breathe in the smell your computer emits, smell your chair, pick up various items on top of your desk and smell them.
Step 4: Set your timer for 5 minutes and begin writing, in your notebook, about your experience with the various smells.
Step 5: Write your answers to the following questions in your notebook.
- What scents (non-food items) do you enjoy that enhance your creative time?
- Of all the things you smelled in Step 3, did you smell any of the scents you enjoy? If yes, which ones.
- If your answer was No to the previous question, quickly grab a few items with the smells you enjoy and place them near your computer. One cannot live by computer and desk smells alone.
Exercise 2: Yummy Aromas
Step 1: Throughout your day, seek out unusual or intense aromas. If at the grocery store, linger in the different food aisles and inhale the aromas. At home, pull out a bunch of herbs and spices and one at a time, inhale their aromas.
Step 2: As you take in the different smells during your day, write your answers to the following questions in your notebook:
- How does the smell affect your mood?
- What memories did it trigger?
Exercise 3: Tastes
Step 1: Go to a gourmet grocery store where you can sample various foods (or purchase the items below).
Step 2: Stop at the cheese counter, ask to taste (or buy) three different types of cheeses: a bleu cheese variety, a goat variety, and a cheddar variety.
Step 3: Smell each different cheese for about 30 seconds. In your notebook, write your answer to the following.
- Describe the aromas for each cheese.
Step 4: Now taste each piece of cheese – one at a time in the following manner:
- Take a bite and chew slowly to savor the taste; take your time to experience the flavor.
- Take a sip of water to clear your palate.
- Continue to do the same with the other two pieces of cheese.
Step 5: In your notebook, write your answers to the following:
- Describe the difference in aroma and taste for each piece of cheese.
- What color or image came to mind while you were savoring the cheese.
- What memory did it invoke?
Step 6: Follow Steps 1 through 5 for the following:
- Three different types of chocolate
- Three different types of mushrooms
- Three different types of apples
- Three different types of vanilla ice cream
Step 7: When you have completed Steps 1 through 5 for the additional food items in Step 6, write your answer, in your notebook, to the following question.
- How have these exercises inspired you to be more creative in your life?
Now eat what’s left of your food items and enjoy!
Go to the next post in my series: Day 24: Creative Brainpower