I well remember a conversation that I enjoyed, one of many, with Jim Howard, DVM, about Abraham, the patriarch of the Johnson Labrador Retreiver dynasty, in regard to Abe’s propensity to roll in disgusting stuff. Given a dog’s demonstrated superior olfactory senses, one would wonder why in the devil they would enjoy a dead, ripe critter to wallow in just before coming inside to mingle with the folks in our home. No, I am not sitting on a rock, posed in some deep reflective posture, contemplating life…….a skunk, on a casual stroll past our condo has prompted this not so deep reflection.
A phrase that I often employ when faced with the prospect of consuming something that is a little odiferous for my tastes, suggests the item in question is so objectionable that a cat wouldn’t eat it. That is serious smell bad for the folks out there not familiar with a cat’s lack of discrimination when considering something it is about to eat. Open a can of of kitty’s favorite delicacy and take a deep whiff…….it just might knock your hat off. It will, in all likelihood, kill your inclination to eat anything from that food group. The Master, when he created man, carefully linked the senses of smell and taste, and it is what separates us from the critters out there that will ingest stuff that would make a rendering truck driver blush. We being of superior intellect, know that we have to get it past our nose before we can enjoy the savory flavor of what it is we are about to consume. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. One that comes to mind is a can of Kippered Herring, a cute little tin of the ocean’s bounty that can be found in any responsible grocery store. I encountered this delicacy for the first time on Fire Support Base Gary Owen in scenic Vietnam. A fellow soldier had received a can our two of this stuff from home and I won the tin in a poker game! We were living on the wild side in RVN, for those who might not know, and I was up to the challenge of eating my winnings. I opened the tin and reeled backwards in terror……the odor made a LRRP look like quail under glass, and rendered the slit trench sanitation system odor rather pleasant by comparison. Try it he said, it is better than it smells…….I was absolutely confident that would be the case as the smell was awful. I held my breath and dug in. To my surprise the salty, fishy and firm texture of what can only be described as bait in a can, was good. I have consumed several tins since then, admittedly while sitting on the porch, as Sharon will not let me open it in the house. It is good stuff if you like it, terrible if you don’t!
In the final analysis, my recommendation is to go with your nose. There are just too many things out there, the odor of which will induce terminal salivation, that are as good as they smell. Why take a chance on something that dilates your pupils and induces a deep gag reflex. I like cats and love dogs….but there is a reason why we dine on a different plane than they do and wear expensive odiferous concoctions to ward off evil spirits even as they attract other interested human beings. It is good that our Lab prefers a nice fresh cow patty for his cover scent as opposed to Sharon’s bubble bath and outrageously priced cologne. Be prepared for the hell on earth when you overrule your nose……the reaction can, literally, be dangerous to your health.
The nose knows……..