Scent can often invoke memories. Have you ever had that moment where you had a scent with which you know you’re familiar with even though you cannot exactly remember when in the past it happened. I did, just recently on my way to the drugstore. I caught a whiff of some fried chicken but not just ANY fried chicken. It smelled like the old fried chicken I used to eat every Wednesday after class when I was in the second grade of elementary school.
How nice of the old olfactory bulb to send signals to my brain to bring up a well of emotions. As it is, the smelling bulbs are part of our brain’s limbic system and is quite acquainted with our amygdala (responsible for handling emotions) and hippocampus (responsible for associated learning). Perhaps that is why despite knowing that the larger than life humanoid chubby bee with the chef’s hat can lead us down the path of morbid obesity, we still eat what he churns out. Pleasant memories may overpower sound reasoning should we allow ourselves to be caught at a state of weakness and unpreparedness. I was.
As I took my food to a table near by, the appetite-whetting smell of too-unbelievably-crispy-and-tasty-to-be-healthy chicken brought back memories of when the first branch opened up in my home town, Dumaguete City. I was still in second grade of elementary school, pretty much oblivious to any concept of wellness. My hometown was slow paced and thus people could still afford to walk from place to place, it should be noted that everything was at least 15 minutes away.
The supermarket, market, hospital, beach, and school was pretty much 15 minutes away from the heart of the city and Jollibee erected their first branch pretty much at the heart. My brother and I would be taken to eat there after school every Wednesday by my dad. I would order the same spaghetti and chicken value meal every single time while watching my brother down his double burger steak with rice meal. Good times or times of being oblivious about preservatives, cholesterol and growth hormones which you get to know intimately in chem and bio classes, and the gym too.
Sugar and MSG make everything nice. Sure, there are loads more of things to be wary about when one eats fast foods but these two make the top of the list. Both make the food very addictive making the those who ingest them come back for more. Sugar in excess would be metabolized into fat. While on a diet against eating fat, one can still gain fat by taking too much sugar. MSG on the other hand is a whole different story. Google it and I’m sure you’ll have hits about it being a toxic flavoring chemical. It’s metabolic pathway promotes weight gain as well. Put two and two together and soon you’ll be turning into a blimp.
Despite all the knowledge coming fro different health and wellness documentaries about fast food we it eat. Not for nutritional sustenance but for the wealth of memories associated with every scent and taste. Perhaps that’s how this fast food chain, American in style yet Filipino in flavor, caters to the Filipinos all around the world. It should be known that wherever Filipinos have gone overseas to work in order to provide for their families here, there Jollibee is also. U.S., Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Hongkong, Vietnam, and Brunei have branches of Jollibee. Eating at a place where you can smell something familiar. That unique smell of Chicken Joy could be and experiential link for a father who had to leave his family to build buildings in a foreign land away from his family.
Perhaps these are great deterrents to sound reason and finally when you get it back… well here’s how mine went.