I have arrived in beautiful Northfield, MN (motto: “Cows, Colleges, and Contentment.” I expect a placid audience for my talk tonight). My first impression, right after passing St Olaf College, was an odd one: what is that strange chocolatey aroma I’m smelling everywhere? Shortly afterwards I came upon a gigantic Malt-O-Meal plant, and all was explained. I guess smelling like Malt-O-Meal isn’t the worst thing that could happen to a college town, although there is one better: the UO campus at Eugene used to occasionally smell intensely of fresh-baked cinnamon rolls, thanks to a bakery down the street from it.
I have to mention one of the unfortunate things about Morris. It used to occasionally reek like yeasty sour beer, from the ethanol plant on the edge of town. They seem to have cleaned up their act in the last few years, and we rarely get that odor anymore. There were a few days this summer, though, where the wind was just right and we got treated to the stink of the local pig farms, which is not at all pleasant.
I think I’ll take the scent of breakfast cereal any day.