My Scent Tattoo: The Smell of Freshly Cut Garlic on my Fingers

A few weeks ago, Frauke of FALK Aromatherapy and I went on a Zoom meeting for my interview to share my scent memory. She’s building this cool aromatherapy passion project where she is marking different “scent tattoos” from all over the world. I thought it was such a thoughtful initiative and a wonderful avenue for people to get to know each other, from all walks of life, through scent memories.

She has beautifully transcribed mine and I couldn’t wait to share an excerpt of it with you:

As a child growing up in Manila, Philippines I lived with my parents. But they were away working a lot, so my sisters and I spent most of the time under the care of my grandparents, especially my grandmother. I loved spending time with my grandmother and was always her shadow, following her around wherever she went.

I remember, one time, when I was around 9-10 years old, my grandmother was preparing to cook and chopping garlic, so I asked if I could help. Not everyone would want to do that, including my sisters, because they didn’t like the smell of garlic. The two of us would sit at the small kitchen table where she did all of her chopping. She’d get everything prepared around 11am before she went to the dirty kitchen to cook lunch, the main meal of the day.

One day, my grandmother said I could help her peel and chop the garlic for the first time. In the Filipino culture we use a lot of garlic, so it’s in every food. Of course, the juices from the garlic got all over my fingers and it smelled a lot, but I really enjoyed smelling it on my fingers. In fact, the next day the skin of my fingers actually peeled because the garlic was so strong. I remember my grandmother poking fun at me saying “You’re such a princess. You have onion skin that peels.”

For the full story, please check out Frauke’s Scent Tattoo website here.


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