Experienced real estate agents know that every culture has its own odor that reminds us of home.
In America, home sellers are told to stew apples before potential buyers arrive; in Italy, braising onions has the same effect. These are the scents that take us back to our childhood and help create our sense of comfort, safety and belonging. They are some of the most basic aspects of cultural identity.
In trying to understand any ethnicity, our olfactory senses have great importance…and yet they are invariably ignored by the tools used to represent culture: photos, video, recording, text and art. As foreign entrants, how can we identify and capture this most essential genome in the cultural DNA?