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NP QUARTERLY

December 2019

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Cover Story

Nostalgic Smells and Tastes - Savoring the Scents and Flavors of Nature

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Heart-Warming Flavors

The taste of home is which that can evoke the deepest emotions from just a sniff, and awakes the warmest memory from just a taste. For the people who live on this land of Taiwan, what is the taste of home like? It is in the flowing air, the mist vaporing from the land after a rain, the fragrance of the brushing leaves, and the nutrients that nourish every mouth. In winter, the native Formosan Bleak Bear uses its instinct imprinted in its gene and the habit accumulated decades from its species group, to collect in the cold wind the abundant fruits grew from absorbing the essence of nature over the past year. The Black-faced Spoonbill from far away north has found shelter and ample food in Taiwan, and this home away from home has become its second home base to maintain its lifeline. The most moving part is that the people in Taijiang have turned their determination to coexist with the migratory birds into action, and integrated it in their local customs of four hundred years.

The briny smell of sea breeze and the salty taste of the sea are the flavors of the ocean in our memories./ Chuing-Neng Chen
The briny smell of sea breeze and the salty taste of the sea are the flavors of the ocean in our memories./ Chuing-Neng Chen

Savoring the Scents and Flavors of Nature

Nostalgic Smells and Tastes

Interviewees /Chiong-Yao Lin (Kenting National Park Headquarters, Interpretation and Education Section)Mao-Yao Lin (Taroko National Park Headquarters, Interpretation and Education Section)Ya-Wen Chang (Yangmingshan National Park Headquarters, Interpretation and Education SectionArticle / Ru-Ling Yu

Perhaps most people had such a similar experience: they are suddenly touched by a sense of familiar aroma wafting through their nose or in their taste buds. Their emotions are instantly aroused and detailed memories surfaced one at a time. In psychologist Rachel Herz’s book, she stated that the emotional clarity and intensity of memories evoked by smells are the reason why smells are regarded as the "best" memory clues, for they have the immense power to summon emotions. When we scent special smells in nature, we may feel a sense of familiarity and be brought back somewhere to a distant time and space, which is the most poignant experience of smell and taste can offer.

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