Sniffing Gas and Getting High
I complain a lot about our old house on this blog, but there’s one feature I really love about it. We have a white gas stove/oven combination in our kitchen, and the smell of it reminds me of my Mamaw.
(And, no, I do not stick my head in the oven or smell the gas fumes for too many minutes in succession.)
My Mamaw had a white gas stove/oven combination in her kitchen, too. I don’t know how many years it had been there, but it was long enough for the whole room to smell like gas. Even without being turned on, the fumes permeated everything, mingling with the sulfuric scent of the rust-colored well water that lived in her pipes.
I don’t remember my Mamaw cooking many things on that stove. When we visited, my Mom took over cooking duties much of the time. But, Mamaw did make me grilled cheese sandwiches: white bread, Kraft singles, lots of butter, tinged with the scent of gas from the stove.
That smell only lives in my mind now. Her house burned to the ground before she died, and I will never be able to go back. I like the scent of our own gas stove because it makes me think of her. To bring her close to me again, I tried to recreate her gas/sulfur combo without success. Rotten eggs are not popular features in any kitchen. Somehow, opening the window to let the scent of pluff mud waft in at just the right moment has never worked. Our house is too far from a marsh.
But, I still have my ‘eau de gas stove’ smell. Most days, you can find me making popcorn. Alone. Eyes closed, transporting myself back in time to another kitchen in another place when I was another version of myself.