What is the Strength of This Odor?
Pungent Smells. The second major defining quality of an odor is in its strength. The proper word for this is the term “pungency.” Something that is very pungent has a high strength of odor. Something that has low pungency has a very weak strength of odor. Pungency has absolutely nothing to do with quality or character of a smell. It is neither positive nor negative. Pungency simply defines the quantity of smell.
Example with a Low Pungent Smell
Roses have an extremely weak and delicate scent. When you walk into a room with roses you may not even notice their scent, because other smells can mask the roses very easily. This is because roses have a low pungency.
Example with a High Pungent Smell
Rotting fish is an extremely pungent smell. The smell of rotting fish will overpower any other local smells. This smell is so pungent that you may not even have to be in the same room (or same building) as the rotting fish to know that it is there.
Pungent smells are extremely important to consider when cooking for cancer patients. Most people, especially those in chemo, have difficulty with overly pungent scents. Many times these very strong smells can overpower the cancer patient’s appetite. At best, pungent smells can diminish the appetite. And at worst, it can induce a full on nausea attack. When Cooking for Chemo, unless your loved one is only having success with pungent scents, try to avoid pungent scents.
Examples of pungent foods: broccoli, cauliflower, eggs, kimchi, pickles, canned fish
As I had encouraged you earlier, you really do need to begin to smell everything possible. Your sense of smell is where you create nuanced flavors and find your true mastery of food. Go out and sniff things until your friends and family stare at you like a weirdo. This really is the only way to build your sense of smell database and learn your palate.