The English verb SMELL, meaning “emit or perceive an odor,” comes from an unspecified Old English word. However, some sources say it possibly comes from either Middle Dutch (*smolen) or Low German (*smelen). Source:

What can our nose tell us about food?

At TASIS, science students have offered a number of answers to this question and their answers have been converted to a series of questions for use in smell-dependent food investigations…

  1. Identification: What is it? (e.g., It is a durian fruit.)
  2. What flavour(s) are present? (e.g., peppery, sweet, perfumey, fruity, soapy, spicy, sharp, pungent, Earthy, rich, etc.)
  3. What is the quality/condition of the food? (e.g., fresh, musty, rancid, rotten, etc.)
  4. What is quality/condition of the eating environment? (e.g., clean, dirty, fresh, stinky, etc.)
  5. What memory does the smell evoke for you?
  6. What emotion does the smell evoke in you? (e.g., sadness, happiness, nostalgia, etc.)
  7. What physical effect does this smell have on you? (e.g., Does it make your eyes water? Does it make you sneeze?)
  8. What can the smell (or lack thereof!) tell us about you? (e.g., Do you have a cold? Are you ill? Are you ‘stuffy’?)

Can you think of other food-related questions that can be answered by smell?

Some ‘smelly’ resources for students…

Last updated: September 2019