March 2, 2012


Have you ever been to a restaurant and had trouble reading the menu because you’re too hungry, lazy, or indecisive? Not only do you have to process these words, but you then need to determine if that’s what you feel like eating. Because we are so visual, I think it’s often easier to choose by seeing the actual dish than reading a description, like the Japanese do with their plastic presentations.

But what if...instead of reading a menu, you smelled it, like a scratch n’ sniff sticker? Aroma is such a strong element in food but it’s often overshadowed, where the majority of the attention goes to visual presentation and taste. I love the smell of food, especially when it’s least expected, like smelling the neighbor’s BBQ when I open my window, or walking down the street and getting a whiff of Indian spices from a nearby restaurant. When it’s the right aroma, my mouth waters and I develop a strong craving for the food. Perhaps this experience can be applied to a menu, where you can instinctively react and decide what you feel like eating.

This study is still just a concept, but I hope that some day, we can have a dinner event where guests really do choose dishes based on smell. In today’s experiment, I decided to use food scented oils, which are typically used in candles. Why would anyone want ham & cheese sandwich scented soap? Who knows. I ordered a total of 10 samples that could fit into a brunch menu. 

Out of the ten scents, I chose the six best to go on my brunch menu. This is a little goofy, but the name comes from this equation: Look. Listen. Smell. Eat. = LLSE = Elelessi. When I was talking with my friend Yvonne about LLSE, she thought it sounded French, ha! So for now, it will be my imaginary restaurant. :)

The smell test: he obviously got bacon right.

It was kind of expected, but I learned that scented oils are a bit too artificial. While coffee, bacon, and french toast smelled like the real thing, some of the others smelled almost like a perfume. I think I will try some other variations of this concept, and figure out ways to incorporate real ingredients next time.

1 comment:

fran├žois said...

"french cooker here, sorry for my poor english"
this blog is amazing... the "smell menu"..amazing... tx a lot for that travel.
the 1/4 cake... gorgeous...