My mother enhanced traditional American recipes with exotic ingredients when our family lived in Africa. Drilling a hole in both ends of a rock hard, alabaster ostrich egg shell, she blew out the rich contents to make Angel Food Cake. An alchemical equivalent of twenty-four chicken eggs, sugar, butter and flour would emerge from the oven in a white, airy puff of sugar-on-wings. To this day, every cell within my body trips the toggle switch to all is well with a single whiff of Angel Food Cake.
Two other things in my life have emitted this same indescribable scent. Ponderosa pine bark and Chief, our mule. Many years ago when attending a silent retreat in northern New Mexico, I impulsively wrapped my arms around a giant Ponderosa towering stately in her rusty, scaly stance. I was startled into instant recognition of the coveted odor of Angel Food Cake. The lengthy retreat was worth every penny for that one moment, transporting me instantly into the transcendental state I was trying to achieve by sitting cross-legged for days on end.