This weekend I cooked up a lot of andouille sausage, and later when I was settling down for the night, I took a deep breath and a memory flashed into my head of a tiny crêperie in the 16th arr. of Paris from a visit probably more than 10 years ago but suddenly as clear as day --
I can picture the sunlight slanting through the windows on a chilly day, where a narrow counter ran along the walls for customers standing or on barstools and a few tables held pink-cheeked patrons, all the surfaces in a green formica, and the air above the flat circular grills shimmered a little bit with the heat inbetween the action of the batter being ladled and prepped fillings, (including andouille that looked like the leftovers from a construction-paper scissors decoration project) being spread.
This was fast food Parisian style, with quick turnover and mostly disposable tableware and plates, yet the conviviality at the tables was warming, as the heads-of-household distributed forks and napkins with jolly smiles. The counterperson was careful to ask if I wanted mine folded or on a plate, and my poor French couldn't grasp what he was saying right off, so he quickly switched to English, "To go or for here?" The scent of that quick snack apparently made a bigger impression than you might imagine.
What aromas bring back a distant memory from your travels?
Do you ever navigate by smell rather than by sight? Sound?