Smells and memory. They are forever connected. And here is why: there is a part of our brains called the Amygdala (uh-MIG-duh-luh). It’s a little funny shaped thing that helps us process emotions. Our Olfactory bulb, which is responsible for detecting smells, has specific access to the Amygdala, thus linking smells with certain memories. In essence, that is why you are flooded with memories when you walk into your grandmother’s house, or when you smell the perfume your favorite aunt always wore, or when you smell your favorite cake that your mom made for your birthday every year. All these smells can tie into a flood of memories and emotions. Freshly cut grass, the smell of chlorine, the smell of the desert after rain….the list is personal and extensive. For me, it’s the smell of……..charred meat. Seriously, charred meat. The meat of Char. Meat searing on the grill. The lingering smell of burning fat. It gets me every time. What does that say about me? Don’t answer that. That question is for a therapist to answer at a later date, perhaps.
In reality though, the smell of meat on a grill brings back some good childhood memories. Living in Ohio part of the time growing up, there were only so many sunny, summer days. So when the grill was firing up, it usually meant friends and family getting together. It meant fourth of July or Labor day. It meant long days outside and not coming in until the sun would set, around 9 pm. It meant fun. So to me, the grill brings back some good times, and still plays a central role in fun and family today.
We went to a slider party last weekend and it was a blast. Each couple had to bring their own original slider recipe for the rest to try. There were some really creative and yummy entries. I loved it, but most of all, it was just another fun time around the grill with family and friends. I wanted to bring something that was inspired by the Southwest, so below is my recipe for my Bacon-wrapped Green Chili Burgers with Chipotle aoili.
Bacon-wrapped Green Chili Burgers
1 lb. lean ground beef or ground turkey
1 package center cut bacon
1 can whole green chilies, sliced into slivers
1 package pepper jack or cheddar cheese slices
1 package of slider buns
Worcestershire, salt, pepper, and garlic salt to taste.
Pre-heat your grill. Empty ground beef in a bowl. Add spices and Worcestershire and let sit to marinate for a bit. Roll into individual balls, a bit bigger than a golf ball. Cut a strip of bacon that is equal to the circumference of the burger. Wrap around, flatten burger, and secure with a toothpick. Set on grill and let cook until ready to turn. Remove toothpick and turn burgers until desired doneness. (Burgers can also be in oven on a broiler pan at 400 degrees).
1/4 cup low fat mayo
1 chipotle chili in adobo and 1 tsp. of sauce
juice of one lime
salt to taste
Chop chipotle and seed if desired. Mix with rest of ingredients.
To assemble burgers:
Toast buns if desired, top with a slider, sliced green chilies and oili and serve. Enjoy.
What about you? What smells remind you of special people or a certain experience in your life?