Food Scent-sation

Cucumber melon, white peaches and creme, pear with green tea, Hawaiian ginger, peppermint, and nectarine with sweet honeysuckle. If you are wondering what those are, you may think they are flavors of a fruit punch, or yogurt, or perhaps frozen dessert. But they are not. They are variety of soap, handwash, bodywash or shampoo scents that I found lying around in our kitchen sink, toilet wash basins and bathrooms.

I don’t understand this obsession of putting food flavors and scents in our soaps and washes. Do we really like to smell like a fruit stall or a fruit salad? I agree they are sweet-smelling, but sometimes I have to control myself of not eating or drinking them for their aroma is so good.

And while we are at it, why not develop a fragrance more appealing to men, like cheeseburger and bacon, or wood-grilled steak, or pork-barrel barbecue. By the way, when I checked on this, there is now a cologne with a barbecue scent! Really.

This practice is not just here in the US, but everywhere else. Back in my home country there are soap fragrances with calamansi, green papaya, fresh coconut, and pandan scents. I wonder if they will develop a “Halo-halo” flavor complete with ube and leche flan. Or if they want to be really exotic, why not develop a durian scent! For people not familiar with durian, it is a tropical fruit that tastes good and its scent you can smell a block away. But its odor is far from sweet-smelling but rather putrid, like rotting flesh. That will certainly get your attention.

When I was growing up, folks from our province always talks about the “Dalagang Pilipina” (Filipina dame) as “amoy pinipig” (smell-like pinipig), which country folks equate with sweet-smelling. If you don’t know what pinipig is, it has nothing to do with pin or pig. It is actually toasted glutinous rice flakes. Maybe even in the olden days, the native ladies do mix pinipig in their water when they are bathing. But the only place I want pinipig is in my ice cream – like the Magnolia Pinipig Crunch.

The first account of soap were in Sumerian clay tablet dating back 2500 B.C.. Egyptians bathed regularly and they use animal and vegetable oils combined with alkaline salts to create a soap-like substance for washing. Cleopatra was known for bathing in milk, and perhaps the pioneer in this trend of using food in washing. Ancient Rome gave soap its familiar name and they were well-known for their public bath.

Back to today’s fruit scented soaps and bodywashes, this is such a big business. There are numerous shops and stores that cater just to these products. I see them everywhere in almost every mall. It is hard to escape them. These products are not cheap either. Maybe you can save if you concoct your own fragrance from produce you can buy from the farmer’s market.

Lastly, these soaps and bodywash have interesting names too. Like Gentle Rain, Summer’s Eve, Morning Glory, and Butterfly Kisses. My favorite is a facial soap with the catchy name “Kiss my Face.” There is also a feminine wash. Its name is not what you think, you silly head.