A scent journey by Artist Devon Baur



“The spice reminds me of the beginning of the pandemic where I tried to make some food for my family. It's a neutral memory of cooking, but I used a lot of cumin so that is probably why I thought of it.” June 2020
“Paprika reminds me of a dish I used to make with my siblings. It had cucumbers, lemon, and a chili powder that my mom stopped buying one day. From then we used tajin but it wasn't the same. Paprika smells how the chili powder used to taste. It makes me happy because I used to spend quality time with my siblings when we made this. One small detail I can remember is racing to eat as many slices of cucumber as I could. I was about 8.” 2011
“I smelt cumin which instantly reminded me of persian food. I am pretty sure my mom uses this spice in all the dishes she makes at home. It reminds me of my childhood because she cooked every night when I lived there and now that I'm no longer living at home it brings a sense of sorrow.” Childhood
“I’m remembering another time in my kitchen, from college, where I was cooking tacos and I used too much cumin. They were terrible, but I remember my roommate eating them anyway with some extra sour cream to balance it out. It’s a happy-ish memory though because I felt very loved in that moment.” Date Unknown
“I was making chicken vindaloo, out of a prepackaged bag. (Very classy, I know. But I was very very excited to have found that bag. I love vindaloo and have no place to eat it, nor can I ever find it pre-made).” Few months ago
“This reminds me of my mom making me deviled eggs with paprika sprinkled on top as breakfast before I would go to school. It's associated with happiness and warmth. I was about eleven years old.” It's about five years ago.
“I can remember making cinnamon sugar toast when I was a kid. It’s associated with a feeling of excitement being it was a treat. The memory is pretty vivid and I was probably 9 or 10 years old.” 2012
“I can't quite place why, but it reminds me of my maternal grandmother's house while growing up. I suppose it has something to do with cinnamon reminding me of Christmas. We would always join her for Christmas dinner. It brings happy memories, but also some sad nostalgia because I miss her dearly.” 2003/2004
“The smell of cinnamon reminds me of the winter and fall time as it is heavily used in a lot of pies and festive foods so I associate the spice with Thanksgiving and Christmas.” Date Unknown 
“I remember going out to dinner at this restaurant in my hometown called India House. We knew the owners well, so they would always bring us a plate of vegetable pakoras. They were so tasty when dipped into tamarind sauce. They would always sit with us and have a pakora with us while we caught up on what was going on in our lives since the last time we met. The owner would always have his hand over my shoulder and half hugging me. I felt so happy every time he did it and it was always such a wholesome, sweet experience.” June of 2014
“I vividly remember the time I first cooked a crab pot by myself. I remember using the paprika for the sauce that would be used for the crab and shrimp. It was delicious.” 06/2021
“I remember trying to cook for my mom but it failed in the end, because I put too much paprika. I still ate it all to prove a point. I was about 13 and I was really stubborn.” Date Unknown 
“I thought of cooking with my sisters for fun in the beginning of the pandemic. It was a fun feeling.” March 2020
“My little brother and I once tried this spicy pepper and had to put sugar on our tongues for like 20 mins. We tried everything from milk to sugar and we were still dying. I was probably 13. It’s a very vivid memory and I specifically remember my older brother trying to convince us to drive juice or something acidic as a prank.” 2017
“I've only recently discovered a treasure that is Trader Joe’s. During the beginning of the pandemic, I was purchasing the Trader Joe's Frozen Chickpea Curry very often. This time in my life felt very structured because I would work from home. I would go downstairs and heat up a curry, eat it at my desk, and then resume to work. I associate the idea of simplicity with this scent, but I'm not sure if that is an emotion.” 2020


Smemory Theater is a short film that offers an abstraction of the survey results melded with personal experience. The narrative explores the gaps in memory that emerge from anosmia.