Petrichor

Archived | March 27, 2015 | By

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I’d just gotten in from a rather turbulent plane ride from Ft. Lauderdale, and my head was spinning as I waited for my bag to come ‘round the carousel. Once I had it, I made my way outside where Mr. S and our youngest were waiting to pick me up. And how glorious it was, to climb into the car where there were snacks for me, and warmth, and the voices of people I love, and no turbulence at all. We headed north, and I cracked my window a bit and breathed in fresh Minnesota air, and it was good.

I love the air in the Caribbean, too. It is different, though. There is salt in it, and sometimes it smells of seaweed, and other times has a fishy smell.  Not a bad fishy smell, but fresh and marine-ish and clean. You can know things by the air you breathe in, and what I know for sure as I open the windows for an hour or so to air out the house today, is that this air smells like home to me. Minnesota air — full of pine, oak, prairie smells.  I smell wood smoke, and the clean of snow melting, and damp grass, and mud. It’s spring here, and I smell it, and I can’t wait for the lilacs and the lily-of-the-valley to join in. And then the scent of sun on tar, and the air coming through the forest as the trees leaf out, and hot summer lake air, and barbecue.

There’s a word for one of my favorite spring smells. It’s “petrichor”, and it describes the smell of rain on dry earth. Comes from Greek words “petra”, meaning “stone” and “ichor”, said to be the fluid that flows in the veins of Greek gods. Back in 1964, some Australian researchers found that the smell was created by an oil released by certain plants during dry periods. Rain releases the oil into the air, and the smell of Spring rises up. It’s a green smell. Rich and musky.

I like that there’s a word for the smell of spring rain. Though spring is not at the top of my season list, it’s here, and it’s good. And rain is always welcome. Especially the kind with roiling clouds and rolling thunder. What’s the word? A good ol’ fashioned storm. You know the kind.

Here’s a recipe a friend shared a while back. One of those things where you think, “Hmm….” but you give it a try and darn if it’s not one of the best things. This one goes well with fish or burgers or as a snack during the movie.

Smashed Hot Potatoes
(They call ‘em Crash Hot Potatoes in Australia)

Boil some baby potatoes until fork tender.
Red are my favorite.
Drizzle some olive oil on a baking sheet.
Set the potatoes on a baking sheet and using a potato masher, gently gently smash each potato down.
Rotate masher both ways, so the potato looks like a thick cookie.
Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt/pepper and
sprinkle with cut fresh herbs and garlic.
Top with grated Parmesan cheese.
Bake at 450 for 20 minutes.

Enjoy!