We were visiting my mother-in-law. She mentioned how she loved the smell of lye soap. “It smells like clean.”
I wanted to know what she meant by that. I wanted to experience it for myself. So I bought some lye soap at the health food store.
In the shower, it was very bubbly. So this is what clean smells like, I thought to myself.
Just about then I hit a sticky spot on the soap bar, and the shower filled with the smell of gravy. It felt greasy. The smell was starting to be like a diner after their griddle has caught fire.
Ugh. I was totally repugniated. Apparently not all the tallow had saponified. I broke out my old soap and cleaned the cow grease off me.
A few days later I tried again. With similar effect. The smell was definitely not one of “clean”.
But it was a bad bar of soap, right? They had a bad day at the tallow factory. Another batch would do just fine. Certainly a completely different brand would be OK.
This other brand of lye soap at the health food store is sold unwrapped. I picked it up and put it up to my nose. I inhaled. No doubt about it: pot roast.
I can’t believe that I never noticed that lye soap smelled like gravy. I can’t imagine the pioneers crossing the country smelling like gravy. It must have attracted bears, eh?