It really is a stultifying cliche, but the power of smells to evoke memories is tremendous. And always surprising. And often difficult to comprehend fully. I mentioned plums and jam in yesterday's post. As I was simmering the fruit - halved and stoned, of course - in sugar and water, I lowered my head towards the saucepan, breathed in the aroma rising from the purple froth - tart, boozy, woody - and within moments, I was back in Poland. But I couldn't tell you exactly where or when. I had a hazy vision of my maternal grandmother in her flat in Warsaw's Mokotów district. I could see her standing in her narrow kitchen, bent over the cooker. But that was all. I chased the memory, but it eluded me. I don't recall whether, during the times we stayed with her, she used to make powidła, a dense, Polish variation of plum jam. Certainly, she was always pickling cucumbers and mushrooms. So perhaps plums were in her repertoire too. I'm not sure. Maybe, the next time I inhale that scent, the mirage will be sharper.