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Sarah Brown once said she had a theory that for every single person on the planet, there’s a sentence that if it were said to them by the right person or at the right time with the right words, everything in their life would right itself from that point forward. (If I remember correctly, my sentence was “Wow, you don’t dance like a white girl at ALL.”)

But, being the food-obsessed type that I am, I wonder if that sentence could be a taste, or that taste a smell. I believe that there are sensory experiences that get tucked places we forget about, and we wander around looking for things to lure them back into the present. We just want it back — for even a split second — because things in the moments that follow seem to fall more smoothly into place.

For me, it’s this: the damp spot on top of a ripe tomato when you twist the vine off. It smells like summer to me, back when tomatoes came free from our backyard and not at surprising sums from Holland; it smells like basil, like lawn, and it’s the first thing I stick my nose in when I get the tomatoes home from the store.

What’s yours?

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