A to Z Challenge: B is for Breakfast


What could be better than to smell breakfast to start your day?

CD az challengeWell, to taste breakfast, of course. If smelling breakfast is a goal, tasting breakfast is a hat trick. In today’s A-to-Z challenge, I’m talking B, for breakfast. It’s about the smell of breakfast on a Saturday morning. It’s the aroma of pancakes and bacon, or waffles and hash browns.

The ribbon of delicious airborne goodness that slinks to upstairs bedrooms, of rising flapjacks with just enough Mexican vanilla in them to shake you from your dreams.

Last fall, my friend Jen from Jen Groeber: Mama Art blog wrote a post called The Nose, A Life in Smells.

I kept it tucked away for someday. It’s about a smeller in Jen’s family, a kid who takes life in through the nostrils. Elise was like this when she was young. She’d hug me tight around my belly, then look up at me, chin on my stomach, and tell me what I smelled like.

I held my breath every time.

You smell like …

“Cinnamon …

… Car tires …

                                … Cookies …

                                                … Outside …

                                                                … Butter …

                                                                                … The zoo, daddy!”

Life smells good – usually.

It’s the smell on a boy’s clothes after a great hug from someone he loves.


It’s the wafting cloud of heaven from the barbecue pit to my nostrils on a bright Carolina October afternoon. It’s the smell of Maguiars wax like my dad always used to shine up the 1962 Buick Skylark he and I tried to restore. And what I use on my Pontiac now.

Today would have been dad’s 64th birthday.

That’s  – incredible!

It’s because of him that I want to wear after shave – even the dollar-store variety. I want my girls to hug me and have it on their clothes so that when they’re in math class or in P.E. or waiting in pickup line, they’ll smell me on their shoulder.

Not the car tires or butter me, but the after-shave me. Like a dad.

It’s that pungent smell of dogwood trees in the Carolina spring air just before the pollen storm invades your entire respiratory system.

It’s barbecue sauce on your hands – kind of like heaven.

photo credit: Lightning Game 01 via photopin (license)
photo credit: Lightning Game 01 via photopin (license)

It’s a pair of shin guards or goalkeeper’s shirt pocked with mud and blood and sweat that tells you a battle ensued.

It’s a cedar branch on a fire pit.

The T-shirts and car stickers have it all wrong.

Life smells good, too.

What does life smell like, to you?

breakfast quote


  1. Great post Eli! I love the idea of the after shave! I still remember my grandpa’s Old Spice! I was raised by my grandparents. Nothing like the good smell of Saturday home cooked breakfast! Hugz Lisa and Bear

    1. Thanks Lisa! If a dad smells like aftershave, there’s less chance he’ll smell like the zoo. We fellas have to hope and wish we reach an age when we can wear Old Spice.

  2. so funny, i wrote about breakfast today too. i love your aftershave comment and i’m sure your dad is looking down on you today, very proud. my favs are: baby’s heads, warm rain grass smell, and fresh basil and lemon in my kitchen.

    1. Breakfast is always a good topic, isn’t it? I’d like to grill in my dad’s memory soon. i’d say if you have a day – or a week – with all four of your favorite smells, you’re living right.

  3. Right now, I have a cold and my nose is a bit stuffed, so not sure what I can and cannot smell, but still wish I could smell bacon and pancakes cooking for breakfast. You might have just given me the notion to make at least the pancakes happen as the girls have off from school for the next few days, are sleeping in right now and have Bisquick pancake mix in the house, too. So thanks for that 😉

  4. Oh wow… pancakes, cinnamon, the zoo and after shave in one post 🙂
    A friend of mine posted on FB just the other day that her toddler daughter said to her “you smell like Mommy and warmth” – does it get any better?
    Happy Birthday, Papa Pacheco ❤

  5. Such a fun post! On Saturdays I love cooking breakfast for my own kids, since that’s usually the only day I have time to do it…

    Love the Stormtroopers too, by the way… they’d make any breakfast more fun!

    1. Thanks John! Saturdays, dads and pancakes were meant for each other.

      The stormtroopers invaded this space more than a year ago and have made themselves comfortable.

  6. My strongest smell-memory associations are with my grandparents’ and their house, but I get “glimpses” of Matthew here and there though he has been gone more than a few months now.

  7. Love the Stephen Wright quote, one of the most under appreciated comics ever. Live smells pretty good at your house, it seems. Except for the smelly soccer cleats!

    1. I don’t even mind if it’s me doing the cooking, Susan. And cookies could infiltrate my kitchen (and nostrils) any day of the week. (The aroma, not the actual cookies in my nose. Probably.)

  8. I love that Steven Wright quote!
    Breakfast smells (especially when that scrumptious breakfast has been cooked FOR you) start the day off in the most wonderful way.
    My top “life smells good” examples would be the delicious scent of babies, fresh cut grass after a long winter and fresh popped popcorn.

    1. Steven Wright had it right – I could go for a breakfast burrito from the pre-Backstreet Boys days. I like to be the one in the kitchen, making sure enough brown sugar and vanilla is being added to the pancake batter.

      Can you imagine holding a clean baby while sitting on a fresh-cut lawn eating popcorn? Bliss.

  9. What an honor, to be included in your lovely post! Thank you.
    And there is something about gin, Matlboro cigarettes and the ocean that always bring my father right back to me. They may not be very lofty smells, but, ah, they were his.

  10. It’s wonderful reading through the comments at everyone’s smell-memories! Smell is such a strong reminder of things – sometimes things we’d rather forget.

    My grandad used to smell of old spice and Brylcream. Favourite smell is the beach – refreshing, re-energising, connecting, alive.

  11. I used to love Stephen Wright, I thought he was hilarious.

    I am like a bloodhound, I smell everything. All the good and all the bad. Right now my life smells like old snow and mud with just a little bit of spring. Might sound bad, but it’s not, it smells fresh and a little green and hopeful (if hopeful had a smell), I know good things are coming.

    1. Used to? Did y’all have a falling out?

      Steph the bloodhound. I worked with a girl at the Hilton who smelled the room keys before she gave them to the guests. Now that’s customer service.

      Hopeful definitely has a smell. It’s every bit the hint of spring you’re speaking of (as well as the pizza oven).

  12. well oddly enough, today was a bacon, pancakes, and maple syrup breakfast kind of smelling day. at least I assume it was for everyone else in the house, because I have a cold and thus my sniffer is out of snuffles. ???
    but what I a really waiting for is that first fresh warm whiff of Spring in the air.

    1. I thought every day was that day in Canada, Rore! Snuffles or no. Don’t tell me know and ruin the dream.

      Don’t worry about spring – it’s just three or four months away for you, right?

  13. Loved this! Odd as it sounds, the smell of leather always reminds me of my first boyfriend. He wore a black leather jacket (back when we were both young and “cool”).

    -Sally (#1310)

    And thank you for the kind words.

    1. Thanks Sally! Leather doesn’t sound at all. I associated this strawberry gum from back in the day with the first girlfriend I ever cried over.

      You’re welcome for the kind words – well deserved. I follow you now!

  14. Definitely the smell of a baby just after they’ve been bathed – such a sweet smell. You bury your nose in the crook of their neck and just breath it in. Of that delicious smell when a gentle rain has just started to fall and it settles the dust. I just love that smell.

    1. Babies rock, don’t they? When they’re 10 they don’t like being smelled so much, for some reason.

      Your smells are so poetic and vivid. I’m still thinking about pizza. And I haven’t even had breakfast yet.

      1. I wish! No, it ended up English crumpets with Vegemite and a small glass of orange juice. I was going to have baked beans, but I want a quiet weekend 😉

      2. yep, it’s an acquired taste. It makes a nice hot drink though. A bit like beef broth. Have it with a few slices of crunch bread and you have a nice mid-afternoon snack 🙂

  15. Today was bacon and pancakes here. At a diner. I love smelling like a diner for a full day after going to a diner!

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