The basement is where it began. Soap batch number one. French Clay. A curious aroma filled our house. It came from the kitchen. I worried about the onion I managed to burn. The recipe said caramalize the onion for the curry base. I’m pretty sure I burnt it. I worried about the smell. The guests were to arrive in the evening, and my husband was busily working at his own recipe like a soap chemist without the lab coat. Well, he doesn’t wear one outside his professional field of chemical engineering.
I’m diverting. The smell was strong. I thought maybe bake a cake to deal with it. Baked goods smell so welcoming! Right, but I was out of eggs and milk. Alright then, I was just going to accept it- smelly house to welcome guest. I better make up for it with good food. I got to work with another batch of onion till I got the curry recipe right. It was late. I called my husband, and we sat together for some homemade chai tea. He excitedly told me about his latest soap discoveries. He was going to add one the most sought after ingredients- Turmeric and Neem- both known for their curative properties and used in Eastern traditional medicine since ages. I told him I couldn’t wait to try it. And I also told him I couldn’t wait for him to get ready. The guests were to arrive any minute.
He rubbed his fragrant oily hands together, “Well, I’m ready. Can’t you smell it?”
“Very funny,” I responded. “Nobody will smell it with this overpowering burnt onion filling the house!”
“Ah, we’ll see,” my husband said with a twinkle in his eye and off he went to change into a clean T-shirt and khakis.
The bell rang. I opened the door with a smile, but I was still conscious of the curry smell. The guests sat comfortably on our red fabric couch. After some warm apple cider and roasted nuts, they gravitated to the kitchen. A painting of red rocks caught their attention midway.
“That’s Sedona,” I said, hoping to keep them away from the kitchen because of the smell.
“I smell lavender,” said one of the guests.
“You do?” I was surprised.
“Oh yes,” my husband glowed with delight. “That would be our soap factory downstairs.”
He went on enthusiastically telling them about the wonders of handmade soaps, and they too listened quite attentively. He even took them on a tour of the soaps.
I was relieved. I thought about that twinkle in his eye, and I bet he was telling me, “You think these soaps don’t carry enough weight to overpower your curry?”
I’m so glad they do! I guess there’s an advantage to having a soap factory in the house. The basement may be where it all began, but it certainly isn’t where it’s all contained. Perhaps our next guests may be treated to a hint of rose or musk fragrance. How welcoming! I wonder what magic he might be working up next…