Does the smell of freshly-baked bread make you feel a certain way? Maybe sort of warm and fuzzy? Well, one study suggests that it actually makes us kinder. Forget the milk of human kindness! (See what I did there?) It's BREAD that brings out the best in us.
In the study, people were more willing to help a random passerby who dropped something (e.g. a glove) if they were near a bakery that was sending out yummy bread-baking smells. It's like the scent just made people more altruistic! Is that heavenly bread smell really that powerful?
Well ... yeah! I mean, I think you'd have to replicate that study a few more times, but it makes sense to me. I know how that smell makes me feel: Kind of cozy and safe and wonderful.
ALTHOUGH! There was this one time when I was over at someone's house while they were baking bread. I can't remember why I was there exactly, and the baker wasn't a friend, more an acquaintance. But I noticed that she never offered me any of that freshly-baked bread. Not even a slice. She pulled out loaf after loaf and nothing. No feelings of altruism mixed with bread smell moved her to serve me a hot slice with melted butter and maybe a little honey. And a glass of milk.
Clearly this is anecdotal and should not be construed as evidence that contradicts the study. But that totally contradicts the study. I'm just saying.
Anyway, if you think this is useless information from a waste-of-time study, riddle me this: What are the implications in our increasingly gluten-free world? If we eat less and less bread, will we have less and less bread smell, and will that then make us less and less kind? This is why we need to do more research on gluten-free baking, my friends!
Do you think the scent of freshly-baked bread could make you kinder?
Image via surlygirl/Flickr