Crack Popcorn

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been married to my husband for too long.  He knows all my weak spots.

A couple of nights ago at supper, he asked if I wanted to watch an episode of Castle that evening.  I almost never watch TV, but occasionally he suggests a show he thinks I’ll like, and I’ll watch a few episodes with him.  I’ve seen quite a few episodes of Castle over the years, so I knew I’d be entertained.

But I was busy (as usual), and I just don’t enjoy watching TV that much.  So I offered a noncommittal response and retreated to my office to commune with my computer.

A couple of hours later, he employed the most potent form of persuasion in his arsenal.

He made popcorn.

There are a few scents I’m reasonably certain would raise me from my deathbed.  Popcorn is one of them.  Hell, for popcorn, I’d come back from beyond the grave.

Needless to say, we watched the show.

I don’t know what it is about popcorn.  I can’t resist it.  Even the horrible super-salted petroleum-coated crap they sell in theatres draws me like a ball-bearing to a magnet.  I know it’s so salty my mouth will feel like the Sahara Desert the next day.  I know I won’t finish even the smallest bag.  I know that bag contains an entire day’s allotment of calories and enough saturated, hydrogenated, and/or trans fat to harden every artery I own.  But I have to buy it, and the first few mouthfuls are pure greasy heaven.

There must be pheromones in it.  Or crack.  Or something.

But I’m pretty sure it’s only a Pavlovian response.  I love the smell of popcorn because I anticipate the enjoyment of eating it.  I wouldn’t want to smell it all day long.

That got me thinking about scents I find completely irresistible, and it’s a very odd list.  Here the top ten things I’d happily smell for hours, in no particular order:

  1. Moist garden soil
  2. Leather
  3. Lilacs
  4. Sun-ripened strawberries
  5. Gun oil and/or gunpowder
  6. Balsam poplar
  7. Vinegar
  8. Engine oil and warm rubber
  9. Fresh-cut cedar or pine
  10. Line-dried sheets

Any of these scents will make me halt wherever I am, inhaling until my lungs are stretched to capacity.  If nobody’s looking, I’ll creep closer and closer, sniffing like a bloodhound on uppers and trying not to drool like one.  If I could find perfume that smelled like any of these things, I’d roll in it.

So perhaps it’s not coincidence that Hubby likes to garden, wears a leather jacket, brings me lilacs and fresh strawberries from the back yard, enjoys shooting and fireworks and camping and tinkering with cars, douses his french fries with vinegar, and owns two chainsaws.

Now if he’d just do the laundry and hang the sheets outside, he’d be perfect…

What scents do you find irresistible?

* * *

I’m celebrating the release of A Spy For A Spy!  If you happen to be in the Calgary area the evening of May 9, please stop by and see me at The Owl’s Nest Books & Gifts, 815A – 49 Avenue SW, Calgary, AB, Canada, between 5:30 and 8:00 PM.  We’ll have sips and nibbles, and I’ll be doing a short reading and Q&A session at 7:00.  Hope to see you there!

46 thoughts on “Crack Popcorn

  1. Call me strange, but I used to like inhaling the scent of my cat, Willow, now dearly departed. I don’t know what it was, but she just smelled good. Of course chocolate comes a close second! Or popcorn. Or maybe cookies fresh from the oven…


    • My cat Tigger used to smell good, too – sort of a spicy smell, like cinnamon or something. Funny, though, I never noticed it with any of the others. It would be interesting to see if that’s a characteristic of a breed or just random chance with certain individuals.


  2. Lets see I love the smell of fresh cut grass, that smell you get when it rains really lightly and it smells like dust. the smell of a field right after cow shit has been spread over it. and men who wear Cologne.


    • Mmmm, yeah, I love that wet-dust smell, too – same as garden dirt. Cow shit is an unusual one, but I have to say I don’t mind it, either. Another happy-gardening smell! 🙂


  3. Hard to make a list of the top 10. Lilacs, fresh bread, new mown hay, good silage…
    I don’t mind skunk smell at a distance. Actually I like it. Not up close though.
    And the reason men love women in leather is that they smell like a new truck.


    • LOL! Thanks for my morning laugh! I knew there had to be a reason for that subliminal response to the scent of leather. And I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t mind the smell of distant skunk. 🙂


  4. You have an amazing and astute husband, clearly. I’m a bitch for popcorn. And invariably I find leftover kernels in my bra later on.

    I like pondering this subject, the subject of happy smells. A partial list:

    Christmas trees (I guess any pine trees, really)
    gasoline (my parents used to worry that I’d get brain damage from inhaling the fumes whenever we went to the gas station)
    orange blossoms


    • LOL! What are these “leftover kernels” of which you speak? If I drop any, I’ll immediately root them out from wherever they landed, with a complete disregard for propriety. Maybe that’s why Hubby likes to watch me eat popcorn… 😉


  5. Chlorine…a little twisted, but it takes me back to floating around on the air mattress in the pool, basking in the sun, drink in hand. Can’t walk past a pool in a hotel without relaxing just a little bit!


  6. All of the above – special mentions to garlic and onions sauteing gently in olive oil. You could probably add road kill and it would taste fabulous. From spring like Victoria at Chez Sizeland.


    • Oh, yummy! I think you’re right… but in a purely academic sense. If you don’t mind, I’ll pass on the roadkill ratatouille. (You two are nothing but trouble when you’re together – watch out, Victoria!) 🙂


  7. Popcorn heads my list, too. And then there is fresh bake bread, apple cider, and fresh perked coffee; although I never drink it. I like the smell of fresh cut grass and burning leaves,too.


    • That’s funny; I’m the same with coffee. I love the smell of it, but I never make it at home. Maybe once or twice a year I’ll have a cup if I’m out and everybody else is drinking coffee, but that’s it. And I do love the smell of fresh-baked bread, too. Which reminds me; I meant to bake today. Maybe tomorrow…


  8. Bacon is definitely top of my list. I used to cook it before school then my hands smell like it all day. My wife doesnt wear much in the way of perfumes but she has this one scent i think is lilacs or something. Its very faint and she rarely uses it but i love the smell of it. And an oven baked ham. I would bottle that and put it in my respirator at work if i could lol.


  9. Mmmm… I love the smell of fresh baked cookies like a number of other commenters mentioned (and fresh baked bread, too). I also love fresh pine/woodsy smells and the smell of creosote oil in the air after the rain in the desert.


  10. It is fascinating how those smells can get your attention. I love the smell of popcorn and it does draw me to where it is. I usually try to mooch a handful or more. I like the fried smells, like bacon, chicken and so on. You get a picture, in your mind, of what it looks like and you just can’t resist it. Now, on the other hand, there are smells that you can picture in your mind, but you usually aren’t drawn to them. Traveling down the road and pass where someone has run over a skunk or going into a bathroom after someone has already been there and left a very pungent smell. I think one of the worse smells that affect me is an ashtray that has not been emptied in quite a while and has permeated all through the area that it is in. A very drunk person who can’t talk to you unless his/her face is in yours. Another that tops my list in to be in an elevator with someone with terrible body odor. I agree with the fresh clean sheets. When growing up in WV, before driers were used, the smell of a sheet that had been hanging out in the sun to dry was definitely a pleasure. I really don’t know how to explain, other than that, what a clean smell is.


    • You’re right, the smell of line-dried sheets really does define “clean”, doesn’t it? Oddly enough, I don’t mind the smell of skunk unless it’s right up close and personal. Maybe it’s because when I was a kid, my grandparents had a skunk spray under their veranda, and the whole house reeked for months. Skunk at a distance doesn’t bother me at all; it actually reminds me a bit of coffee (and I love the smell of coffee). I must have some olfactory wires crossed somewhere. But I definitely agree that skunk at close range is bad!


  11. I like your list. My two favorite smells are gasoline and PVC. I think I read somewhere that liking those particular smells is a sign of a brain tumor. Or maybe habitually sniffing gasoline and PVC can cause a brain tumor. I forget. Anyway, gasoline and PVC are like crack for me. (I haven’t mixed the two, that just might put me over the edge.) Worst smell would be gear oil. I smelled it once and literally panicked. I had PTSD for days afterward.


    • You’re right; there’s something about the smell of vinyl that draws me, but I only enjoy it for a few minutes before the headache sets in. And no wonder you forget if you’re sniffing gasoline and PVC. 😉

      Gear oil, though – who knew it could cause such a violent reaction? Nasty stuff.


  12. Fresh cut grass and the smell of the outdoor air on my children’s skin. Cooking garlic.

    How about smells (besides the obvious) that send you over the edge the other direction?? One of the worst smells on the planet, to me, is popcorn breath. I hate it more than anything. Even going to the theater and getting one whiff of popcorn breath (not popcorn) makes me want to hurt someone!


    • Mmmm, cooking garlic! I’m pretty sure Hubby is a vampire – he can’t stand the stuff, but I absolutely love it. If he ever goes away on business, the first thing I do is roast garlic.

      And you’re right about bad smells. One whiff of diesel fuel is enough to turn my stomach, and sweet colognes give me a headache and nausea. It almost makes me frantic when I wash my hands with somebody else’s sweet-scented soap and then can’t get the smell away from me.


  13. Once again, you are singing my song. I have two vices (well, two that I’m willing to acknowledge, anyway): chocolate and popcorn. Like you I salivate at the smell of popcorn or even the sound of it popping. I eat the healthier stuff at home (hey, there are antioxidants in the hull, not to mention that great fiber), but I succumb to a bag of movie theater popcorn almost every time I go to a movie. But at least I skip the butter. 🙂


    • Sorry about that. 😉 I just pigged out on fresh chocolate chip cookies a couple of days ago. Between Hubby and me, only about half of the cookies ever actually get a chance to cool. We just stand there beside the cooling racks munching away until we can’t eat any more.


  14. For me it is chocolate. After that in list of priority is chocolate, chocolate and chocolate. In addition I like chocolate. When I don’t have any chocolate I eat chocolate instead. I always eat chocolate on holidays which are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Sometime I do change and eat chocolate now and then. Now let me tell you about pizza…


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