Take a Trip to the Museum of Smells

A nostalgic experience for the senses.

By Melissa Kirsch

Welcome. If your regular Thanksgiving plans have been put on hold this year, might I suggest watching Melissa Clark make an entire holiday meal for three using just one pot, one pan and one oven set to 400 degrees (in under three hours)? Her make-ahead gravy alone makes the prospect of cooking a small, low-key Thanksgiving dinner seem not only manageable but a welcome respite from massive dirty-every-dish productions.

Once you’re suitably inspired (or exhausted) by Melissa’s feat, the editors of The New York Times Book Review have selected their 100 notable books of 2020. Imagine yourself reading any of them nestled in this irresistible pig chair whose journey from thesis project to internet curiosity is just delightful.

And to further your quest for delight, be sure to stop by the Museum of Smells, which joins the Pandemic Logs and Quarantine Soundscapes in our series of projects exploring life at home during the pandemic. Readers of At Home told us about the singular smells that evoke memories for them: the Play-Doh scent of elementary school, the “citrus-like astringency” of a loved one’s skin, the aroma of peppermint tea that evokes a semester studying in Switzerland. We’ve illustrated these smells with photos in an exhibition that is well worth a visit this weekend. And, of course, let us know what you think.

I’ll leave you with this description of the power of scent that Sam Sifton shared with me from Patrick O’Brian’s novel, “Post Captain,” which perfectly captures, I think, why the smell museum is so intriguing:

“Smell is of all senses by far the most evocative: perhaps because we have no vocabulary for it — nothing but a few poverty-stricken approximations to describe the whole vast complexity of odour — and therefore the scent, unnamed and unnamable, remains pure of association; it cannot be called upon again and again, and blunted, by the use of a word; and so it strikes afresh every time, bringing with it all the circumstances of its first perception.”

Tell us.

We’re collecting your responses to the traditional Thanksgiving question: what are you thankful for this year? Write and tell us: [email protected] We’re At Home. We’ll read every letter sent.

Times subscribers: Be sure to tune in on Monday, Nov. 23 at 9:30 a.m. E.T. as editors of the Book Review announce year’s 10 Best Books live, with a special welcome from Mindy Kaling. R.S.V.P. here.

And, as always, more diversions for the senses — all of them — appear below. See you next week.

How to pass the time.

Escape from reality with the hottest quarantine pastime, scrolling through real estate listings on Zillow.

Check out an illustrated story of how a third-generation farm in New York has hit its stride during the pandemic.

And don’t miss our list of the best video games to get lost in this holiday season.

What to watch.

A.O. Scott recommends you stream “Mangrove,” the first episode of Steve McQueen’s “Small Axe” anthology, this weekend.

Get an up-close look at director David Fincher’s filmmaking process as he put the finishing touches on “Mank,” his new film about the making of “Citizen Kane.”

And check out a new documentary about the comedian John Belushi, “an intimate portrait of Belushi as a fully fleshed-out man while emphasizing his oh-so-vivid life over his terrible death.”

How to deal.

With coronavirus cases on the rise across the U.S., we’ll help you stay safe while grocery shopping.

Wondering if you’re taking the correct precautions for the holidays? See what 635 epidemiologists are doing for Thanksgiving.

And learn about a popular class at Smith College that aims to combat cancel culture.

Like what you see?

Sign up to receive the At Home newsletter. You can always find much more to read, watch and do every day on At Home. And let us know what you think!

Site Index

Site Information Navigation

Source: Read Full Article