Wednesday, April 2, 2008

1. Potpourri

Long before scented oils and candles became the rage, white people fought home odor with dried leaves, twigs and other overly-perfumed detrius, often times housed in small decorative bowls or tiny, sheer fabric bags. Nothing said "we're white and we like to smell good" in the late 1980s to mid 1990s quite like Potpourri.

The word potpourri comes from the French word "pot-pourri," which was the French name for a Spanish stew with a wide variety of ingredients called olla podrida. In English, "potpourri" is often used to refer to any collection of miscellaneous or diverse items.

Now, thanks to the advent of scented oils and a diverse offering of perfumed candles, white people have moved on from potpourri as their olfactory paradigm, leaving my father — who once built the world's largest potpourri empire — destitute and partially insane.

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