This blog post was inspired by the caress of an unexpected smell in downtown Buffalo.
Walking out of work the other day I was halted by the sweet aroma of freshly baked Cheerios (think the smell of cupcakes laced with oat-like notes). Just a stone’s throw away, at the General Mills plant in Buffalo, those tiny little o’s that are cheery, are baked and packaged. When this happens, Buffalo becomes like Grandma’s living room just outside the kitchen where she’s slaving over something tantalizingly delicious.
On this blog we write about history, economic development, revitalization and all manner of buzzwords relating to efforts to reshape of the upstate New York economy. Normally this is captured in stories about technology, investments, and business. It doesn’t usually involve Cheerios. But it should.
The Cheerios smell is an underutilized aspect of Buffalo. Why doesn’t the city market this? Powers-that-be scrounge for material to craft marketing campaigns that at least puts the semblance of positive spin on life in Buffalo. Like any city trying to rehabilitate its image, Buffalo tries to glom on to whatever may advance that objective.
Witness the whole “Buffalo-Niagara” campaign. Even though City of Niagara Falls is widely recognized as a rundown conduit for tourists to view a beautiful (and highly monetized) waterfall, Buffalo’s marketing folks use the natural wonder as an attempt to recast their city from Rust Belt poster child to something a bit more majestic.
I’m not alone. There are t-shirts. A Facebook group. That’s at least enough to constitute the critical mass needed for something to at least be “a thing.” All I’m saying is: for a place known for chicken wings, manufacturing, and the assassination of a U.S. President, it’s not so farfetched to use “Cheerios smell” for the betterment of the city’s image.
And in the spirit of Thanksgiving and the upcoming holidays, I’m including a recipe for tasty Cheerios treat! When the smell of these wafts through your home, think of Buffalo.