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Listen to ‘MUNCHIES: The Podcast’ with Smell Artist Sissel Tolaas, Who Is Making You a Better Eater

On the latest episode of the MUNCHIES Podcast, we talk to smell artist Sissel Tolaas, who is bottling the most unusual scents—including David Beckham’s stinky sneakers—to help you become a better eater and sensory human.
November 10, 2015, 7:30pm

When it comes to eating, 90 percent of what we perceive as taste is actually smell. So why don't we pay more attention to it?

Thankfully, smell artist Sissel Tolaas—yes, you read that correctly—wants you to get back in touch with your senses, and she's figured out how to do it.

Tolaas is known for collecting unusual smells from all over the world, from the stench of David Beckham's used sneakers to the scent of Paris. She then creates synthetic versions, archives some of them, and recontextualizes them to play with social perceptions of stink. Her research and art projects confront us with smell's social significance, and she's pushing its impact further to develop scents for different purposes, such as communication, education, and navigation. Her dictionary of terms for specific scents, NASALO, is a resource tool that she's created so that we can get back in touch with our sensory selves.

On the latest episode of MUNCHIES: The Podcast, I head out on an adventure in Central Park with Tolaas in order to capture the scents of the place, which is part of the upcoming Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Museum Triennial on "Beauty." We discuss why humans have become disconnected from our senses, how we can become better eaters through scent, and why she likes to serve the stench of dirty sneakers with grapes at her famous dinner parties.

So douse yourself in your favorite perfume—is it Mustang cologne or ripe gorgonzola?—and download the podcast. And after you've taken a nice whiff of yourself, tell the rest of the web to subscribe. And if you have yet to do so, subscribe to MUNCHIES: The Podcast on iTunes and Soundcloud. Our next episode drops in two weeks, so visit MUNCHIES and stock up on our delicious content to tide you over.