Scent Survey: Daniella Germain

Words by
Sally Wilson
| April 24, 2015

Artist, and cookbook author/illustrator of My Abuela’s Table.

You might know Melbourne-based Daniella Germain from her watercolour and ink botanical drawings that light up Sow ‘n Sow seed packages of forget-me-nots, golden wattle, wisteria and more. Or you might know her as the author-illustrator of two Mexican cookbooks: My Abuela’s Table and her latest, My Abuelo’s Mexican Feast (Hardie Grant Books). Whatever the case, her delicate, lively and ethereal hand drawings will definitely stick in your mind – along with her family recipes for langostinos a la veracruzana (Veracruz-style prawns) and watermelon gelato.

What did your childhood smell like?
Freshly cut grass. I grew up in the tropics so a lot of my childhood was spent outdoors playing in the garden, in the wading pool and having fun on the ‘Slip and Slide’. The smell of grass was always an accompaniment to this fun!

What scent has the power to stop you in your tracks and immediately transport you to a memory/moment/feeling?
It’s going to sound weird, but eucalyptus trees. I have a strong memory of camping with mum and dad when I was really young, and waking up in the morning to a really distinct smell. My parents told me it was the smell of the trees. Although I’ve only smelt that smell on a handful of occasions since, it takes me right back to that moment camping with my family.

What does your grandmother smell like?
My Mexican grandmother always smells of a very distinct perfume she always wears. I’m not sure what it’s called and I’ve never smelt it on anyone else but it’s a very familiar smell to me and reminds me of her hugs.

What does your kitchen smell like?
A lot of the time it smells like fresh coffee. My husband loves coffee (as do I!) so the coffee machine is usually on at some point.

What does happy smell like?
Popcorn and melted butter.

What does your favourite place in the world smell like?
Mexico is my favourite place, and to me it smells like freshly cooked tortillas and lime. Yum!

What is your least favourite smell?
Funnily enough another smell common in Mexico – coriander. I can’t stand the smell or taste of it!

What does love smell like?
I like baking for my husband, so I would say love smells like freshly baked cookies!