At home, a little Internet research cranked my anxiety—apparently, smelling like sugar is a red flag for a dangerous metabolic disorder, but that was mostly for persons under the age of three. My sugar consumption was normal, if not a little shallow, and no sticky stack of pancakes or French toast were suspects. At work, when I was reaching up to a high shelf to grab a tray, a coworker meandered by. To me and to those close, it was almost overwhelming. "I kind of liked it initially but it's starting to make me ill," my boyfriend admitted three days later, like a sick child who stuffed himself with too much toffee ice cream.
Sweat—which contains various trace elements, minerals, and pheromones—is almost completely odorless to humans; most bodily smells are created by the growth of bacteria after perspiration. Nevertheless, the way we smell is influenced by a multitude of factors including gender, health, and genetics. And what we eat can manipulate our particular smells from day to day. The mole enchiladas you ate for lunch rarely translates directly into a smell, but bodily smells can be redolent of foods—I've smelled friends who mimic vinegary sautéing onions or musty cumin-laced meat. During digestion, certain foods can cause unique aromas to arise. After a garlic-heavy meal, some eaters leak pungent sweat, as their bodies metabolize sulfurous compounds. Garlic is rich in allyl methyl sulfide, which can be exuded through pores the following day. And most of us are familiar with the acrid greenish smell that comes shortly after consuming asparagus, a result of the methyl mercaptan that is released in urine.
My own maple aroma got me thinking about another smelly mystery. New Yorkers may recall a sweet bouquet that has wafted through Manhattan on occasion for the past five years. Early last year, the Office of Emergency Management was bombarded by complaints of a caramel-esque scent, prompting the Bloomberg administration to launch an investigation. The scent was traced across the river to New Jersey, to a North Bergen flavor plant, Frutaron. The company's facility, among a handful of others, was processing fenugreek, a spice most often used in Indian cooking that also happens to be the principal flavoring component in imitation maple syrup. Fenugreek contains an extremely potent aromatic compound called solotone. Also present in lovage, some aged rums, and molasses, solotone passes through the body, and when consumed in heavy amounts, can prompt a sweet maple-y odor in sweat and urine. Fenugreek is widely used as a milk stimulator for lactating mothers; the Journal of Pediatrics and Child Health has documented incidents of sugary smells in newborn children from mothers who consumed fenugreek prior to labor. I had not eaten Indian food for weeks and the only fenugreek in my apartment was in a dust-covered tube aging in the back of a kitchen cabinet. When I Googled fenugreek images, the mystery was solved. Fenugreek is a small spindly plant with short roots and green teardrop-shaped leaves whose beige pellet seeds are most often used as a spice, adding a savory depth to curries and rice dishes. However, the leguminous plant—leaves, stems, and all—is an important green in Indian, Yemeni, and Ethiopian cuisines. Rich in protein, methi , as it is known in Hindi, is often sautéed like spinach. The week prior, a friend had given me a bunch of grass-colored, crisp greens that I thought was a variety of Indian watercress. I made them into a peppery salad with radish and scallion, in effect turning my body into a sweet smell-emanating factory. Since digestion takes several hours, and the release of solotone several hours more, the effect of raw fenugreek on my pores lasted for days. To prove my estimations true, last week I hopped a train to Jackson Heights and picked up a bunch of fresh fenugreek leaves in an Indian grocery. I ate them raw in another salad, and I can already smell the haunting aroma returning. Now I'm starting to crave a short stack of fluffy buttermilk pancakes, artificial syrup pooling. A few readers let us know that they smelled the sickly sweet smell of a maple syrup-like substance last evening. Now, this brings back a flood of memories from 2005, when a maple syrup smell blanketed much of Manhattan. The smell, which has made return visits in early December 2005 aJanuary 2006, March 2006 and November 2006, leading us to believe this is a cold weather phenomena. One reader noted that it was detected around Columbia University, but not around West 72nd Street, while another agreed it was on the Upper West Side but felt it actually smelled more like anti-freeze "which, if you ever spilled while adding to your radiator, has a nasty maple syrup smell." Did you smell it?
And earlier this year, it smelled like mercaptan, a chemical used to make natural gas smell like, well, what we think of as natural gas. Update, January 5, 2009 : It's back in 2009—more details. But sometimes, this effect can become diminished or not feel as potent. Here are our 7 tips for boosting the intensity of your high. You got your weed, you had your favourite snacks and fresh water standing by. You had your comfy clothes in your comfy place to sit, ready to revisit your favourite music, movie, or YouTube channel. But when you light up, you don't feel the high you were hoping for.
This is more mellow and diminished than you expected. Whether the quality of your stash is subpar or your tolerance is through the roof, here are 7 ways to boost the intensity of your high. Hopefully, you really do have a good source for your weed. This will of course be easier if it's legal through a dispensary or cannabis club where you live. If you live somewhere where your choices are limited, it may still be possible to at least know the name of the strain you're offered.