Wednesday, 25 June 2014

WordPress Daily Prompt: Seasonal Scents

S’mores, salty ocean breezes, veggie burgers on the grill, sweaty people on the bus — what’s the smell you associate the most with summer?


I live in an area where more than half the inhabitants have a grill thing in summer. Do not get me wrong; there is nothing better than a piece of meat fresh from the charcoal, wood or gas, or whatever is used to grill the meat, still sizzling and releasing the aroma to tease the palette. Ok, I do not have a grill. We had a grill once. We had moved into our apartment, ground floor, and discovered there was a porch bordering on the garden. What could be better for a grilled lunch. The empty porch with its space was calling for one,  so we bought a grill. We are not experts. We chose a simple electric execution. Plug it in, let the heating elements glow bright red and you are ready to go. There was a compartment to fill with water below the elements for some reason. We never did find out why, but probably to ensure that the meat remained moist and did not resemble the carcass of an animal left in the desert to its fate.

So there we were, all ready to go, Mr. Swiss and Mrs. Angloswiss. Generally in a fully professional family, you see the man of the family wearing a sturdy apron, printed with  “Super grillman” or something like that. As our grill was perhaps on the smaller side with enough room for four steaks or four sausages, there was only room for one cook. As I am the cook at home, we found no reason to change things.

Sunday lunchtime arrived and the four steaks were sizzling. Now and again I prodded them with a grilling fork and turned them to ensure that each side had the same colour. Mr. Swiss stood at my side, in case an accident occurred. The fat was splashing and spitting and it could have been that it splashed onto a finger, or in the worst case, into an eye. Everything went well; the air was filled with the aromas of spicy grilled meat. In the meanwhile the accompaniments to the meal were cooking in the kitchen – we had no room for baking potatoes or veg simultaneous to the meat preparation.

It was an enjoyable meal, the meat was a success, tender and crispy on the outside, we were happy. After the meal it was time to clean the grill. That is a small disadvantage with filling the surrounding air with the bar-b-que similar scents. Of course you can just cover the grill and reheat the next time it is needed. Unfortunately in the meanwhile it could be that the fat adhering to the elements could become rancid, begin to smell and perhaps a home for lost insects to lay their eggs.

I soon discovered that this was also a woman’s work. It was not a pleasant occupation, scraping the burnt fat remainders from the metal, it was a dirty, greasy job. Of course Mr. Swiss helped, but he also was not full of enthusiasm. We carried out this experiment now and again throughout the summer. When Autumn arrived our grill was sent to exile in the cellar and was last seen in the annual metal collection, being taking to the happy grill hunting grounds. No, this was not for family Swiss.

The summer days are still filled with the appetising aromas of grilled meat, but not ours. One of our neighbours also tried this experiment. We shared this experience, the clear view being blocked by a smoke screen which hung in the air for a an hour afterwards. The poor lady never did get the hang of it, and once a year she invites guests and tries again.

Otherwise on a non-grilling day the smells of summer flowers are quite strong in the air. Sometimes the farmer decides to cut the grass and wheat or whatever and then then it is all overpowered with a strong gas smell from the fuel, but it is all part of nature I suppose. He also spreads manure on the fields to ensure a good crop now and again. That is when we generally close the windows, as we have no wish to share the benefits of well fertilised agricultural land.

We have a new table outside on the porch which is bigger than the old table. The old table was one of those plastic, everbody-has-one tables combined with the everybody-has-one plastic chairs. It served its purpose, but after almost twenty years we decided to do it in style as we no longer wanted to have something everyone had. After a long debate between Mr. Swiss and myself, we chose a wooden table with matching chairs. The plastic never smelt, but the wood does. It is a pleasant smell and reminds me of a Swiss chalet in the mountains, memories of holidays past returning.

The wind is now freshening, the sky is somewhat overcast, so there will be no grilling this evening. We will all share the smell of fresh rain and perhaps even some lightening and thunder in the air.

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  1. I love grilling! We just have a very small bbq that can only hold 4 hamburgers but it's so nice to sit out on our patio and enjoy the smells of summer!

    1. Ours was really a small grill, but we realised it was not fun for us, too much work.

  2. I do love a good BBQ, although I haven't been to one in quite a while. There's nowhere for me to do one myself where I live at the moment. Swedes love a BBQ in summer, so I learned how to do the outdoor grilling while I was living there (believe it or not i had never done outdoor grilling prior to that!!). Thrre isn't one smell I associate with summer....there are many. However, if there's one sound i associate with's tractors!! They are busily to-ing and fro-ing at the moment between the local farms

    I'm pleased to see that my 'reading list' has been restored to normal operation today!!

    1. We are just not the BBQ types, too much bother and work. I just let the neighbours get on with it.