Greenpoint, October, 2015

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Beware of Greeks Bearing Dogs?

Lower Manhattan, 1962 (David Hurn)

Yesterday, as I was crossing the Gowanus Canal on the BQUEST (see previous post), I picked up the unmistakeable smell of hot dogs cooking--boiled, I'd say. It lasted for a quarter mile or less and didn't exactly whet my appetite for a dog--I prefer grilled. It did remind me of the mystery of the "nice smell" that haunted New York a few years ago.
I first encountered the nice smell on the BQE two years ago. It was entirely unexpected and unique. A little like cinnamon but somehow maltier. It stayed with me for a mile or so through South Brooklyn, and made me feel... How to put it? Well, better. I've encountered it once or twice since, generally on clear days with light wind, and it's always welcome.

The mystery was solved in 2009. After an investigation by the City, among other reasons to rule out "bioterrism cloaked in a pleasant aroma," it was determined the probable source was the Fruitarom plant in North Bergen, New Jersey (yes, New Jersey!), which processes fenugreek seeds to produce fragrances. Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum), literally "Greek weed," is an herb long prized for its culinary and medicinal properties.

Why not take advantage of its olfactory ones too? We could easily set up mini-processing stations and, periodically, infuse the nice smell throughout the city. The BQE is the ideal delivery vehicle. While I work on this, I hope someone is developing a fenugreek relish for my next curry dog.

No comments:

Post a Comment