The pleasure of nostalgia is never without its companion, loneliness. ~Isuna Hasekura
The scent of the sherry cake permeated the air as I opened the oven door. I closed my eyes and breathed in deeply, taking in the delightful smell of sherry and nutmeg: I was instantly reminded of my Mom.
My Mom was not fond of baking; the only one item she enjoyed making was her Sherry Bundt Cake. I remember coming home from school and walking into the kitchen, my nose quickly picking up on the heavenly scent of Sherry Bundt cake as it cooled on the counter; my Mom would bake one for my Dad’s Birthday, for Father’s Day, for bake sales or just to make our home warm and cozy. She used a special “Mini” Bundt pan she purchased in 1963; it formed a perfectly sized cake that she would place under an old-fashioned cake dome.
As I pulled my cake out of the oven, the aroma of sherry, nutmeg, lemon, and vanilla brought immediate comfort, connection, and joy as I thought about my Mom.
It is interesting how the olfactory bulb is so closely associated with memory and feeling, and that smell can bring back memories almost instantaneously. I appreciated this phenomenon after my Mom died. For many days and months after her death, I would step into her closet and inhale her lingering scent – a mixture of Yardley’s English Lavender soap, L’occitane Lavender spray and Angel by Thierry Mugler. Now, nearly two years later, her scent in the closet and around the house is absent.
I always spray L’occitane Lavender on my pillow before I go to bed, and my husband and my boys have used Yardley’ Lavender soap most of their lives. I imagine these scents are scents that remind them of me, and while they connect those scents with me, I am rewarded with the gentle reminder of my Mom.
I know how much my Dad misses my Mom and how lonely the evenings are without her. His home has taken on a different scent and the light trace of lavender, and Angel perfume has been replaced with more masculine aromas of almond and musk – whether intentional or not, I do not know; I do know, however, that he still loves Sherry Bundt cake.
As I tip the cake out of my Mom’s Mini Bundt pan (she had always promised to pass it along to me) I know that the sight, the texture, the flavor, and of course the smell of my Sherry Bundt cake that I am taking to my Dad will make him less lonely and remind him of Mom.