No, I don’t mean the soft-ganache-surrounded-by-a-shell-of-dark-chocolate truffle. I mean the original truffle. The one that grows in the ground.
The following arises out of a series of earlier conversations with my spouse.
“I read your blog post! Do you love Huey more than you love me?”
“No, it just sounds like I do. Sorry about that.”
“I’m reading your blog post about Huey’s jacket. It’s hilarious!”
“Oh!” “What part of that is hilarious?”
“Huh? Did Huey’s jacket really cost 600 dollars?”
“No. That is 600 denier. It is a measure of the mass of fibers making up a piece of cloth. The new jacket should be stronger.”
“How was Huey this morning?”
“He was awesome! Super cute! The hole in his jacket has grown.”
“Is that OK?”
“I don’t know.”
“Honey! We need to go to the barn right now!”
“Right now? But it’s a quarter of 6 and we’re supposed to be meeting people in Amherst at 6!”
“Huey’s new jacket just arrived! I need to take it out and put it on him right now so that he doesn’t get sent into the turnout tomorrow morning in the pouring rain wearing the jacket with the hole on his back and get soaking wet, freezing cold, and die of Horse Pneumonia! If I don’t go right now, I will have to go out myself in the pouring rain to bring him in and change his clothes, and he’s already be wet, and I will too, and we will both die of Horse Pneumonia!”
“Ah, OK, then.”
Conversation 5 takes place after we truck out to the barn, I do a quick change of old coat for new coat in a dimly lit stall while Huey is determinedly chomping on his flakes of hay like he’s worried they’re going to be extinct in the next 30 minutes, I bring the old (torn) coat back to the car, throw it in the trunk, drive to Amherst, have a beer with friends, and return home, after having forgotten in the course of lively conversation about the earlier events. We have pulled the car into our pitch-dark parking spot behind the house.
“Do you have an umbrella?”
“It’s raining. Pop the trunk so I can see if there is one back there.”
“What the heck is this?”
“I don’t know, but it stinks like hell.”
“Huh. Is it a tent? It handles a lot like a horse blanket.”
“I really don’t know, but I can’t believe how much it smells.”
“What do you mean? It smells…OH! It smells just like Huey! Yeah! It’s his horse blanket!”
No, I was not kidding. I think Huey smells WONDERFUL. Oooh. Like fresh hay, and spicy horse skin, and some leather, and a lot of indefinable something-or-other, but it’s intoxicating. That’s when the penny dropped. He’s like truffles.
I love truffles. I don’t have much of a sniffer, thanks to decades of chronic, low-level damage from hay fever, but I never have even the slightest difficult in determining – instantly – that truffles or truffle oil is being deployed in the kitchen of any restaurant I visit. How can you mistake it? I walk in the door, and even if the cook has opened a bottle of truffle oil two hours ago to dot on some piece of pate as a garnish, I know. I can only think, at those times, of Toucan Sam, the Froot Loop bird: Follow my nose! It always knows! oranges…lemons…cherries…truffles.
I will always order whatever it is that they’re cooking with truffles.
And when it comes out, I plant my nose over it and inhale, like someone who’s just been plucked into an airlock from the surface of the moon. The scent of truffles gets up my nose and tickles the front of my brain. It doesn’t exactly provide a buzz but it’s closer to being a buzz than anything else. The smell locks on to some receptor in my brain and hijacks all of my thought processes.
I eat them, too, but eating them doesn’t hold a candle to smelling them. The smell is mesmerizing. It is hypnotic. It is primitive. Calgon? Please. Truffle scented bubble bath, that’s the way to really experience an Escape. I don’t even know where I am escaping to – just that it is some place where I don’t think…think…uh…did you say something?
The thing is, the small part of my brain that is not completely enslaved to the Aroma of Truffle understands that truffles actually smell like dirty gym socks. Or used jock straps. And things equally…inviting. The bigger part of my brain does not give a damn, because who ever knew that dirty gym socks smelled so…so…so…uh, what was I saying?
Another thing about truffles. You need like 1 part per 1,000,000,000 trillion air particles, and after 10 seconds, all 1,000,000,000 trillion air particles will smell…exactly like truffles. They’re…contagious. Pervasive. Pungent. Aromatic. And did I mention, intoxcat…intoxi…intox…uh, where was I?
So. How is Huey like a truffle?
There is no amount of him that is Enough, let alone Too Much.
His personal aroma is earthy, spicy, intoxicating.
It also has a supernatural ability to perfume anything with which it comes into contact. Fabrics, other skin, people, internal furnishings, appliances, and large volumes of air molecules.
The question at the front of my mind is this: do all horses smell the same? Does Huey smell great to all other horse people, or does he just smell great to me because he is mine? Is that why he is mine, because he smelled so good to me? (don’t laugh – people have picked spouses on this basis before) Do I smell as good to him as he does to me, is that why he likes me so much?
In a less philosophical mode, the blanket is presently perfuming our three-season porch. I confess to an academic curiosity over whether the adjoining kitchen and dining room will also smell like Huey by the time I come down tomorrow. I also wonder how long my porch will hold onto this wild, wonderful, earthy aroma. And whether the neighbors will eventually notice it.
My husband is desperately hoping that the trunk will miraculously no longer smell like Huey by the time he picks up his mom at the train station tomorrow. I am pretty sure I know the answer to that one. Good thing his mom is a horse person.