The other day I made a key lime pie. I was grating the zest from a half dozen limes, when suddenly, my mind wandered to a family vacation in the Florida Keys. We were eating conch fritters, sipping on margaritas, the warm sea breeze against our sun-soaked skins. All it took was the whiff of fresh limes—and it whisked me back to a time and place.
Smells have that effect on us. The way humans work, the signals your nose sends to your brain go through the parts where emotions and memories get made. It’s why a whiff of cotton candy might make you feel nostalgic for childhood.
On this week’s episode of Proof, we bring you an amazing story of two Palestinian women who’ve never lived in their homeland, who met and bonded on Instagram because of a specific smell: za’atar.