“And that was my initial intention.”Flavor is essentially taste plus smell, McGee said. Once inside, smell receptors grab onto those molecules to perform some chemical detective work before releasing them back into the world. But, unlike plants, we often manipulate smells for pleasure, not protection, crafting recipes, perfumes, and incense to titillate our noses. In the past, smells might have been more useful, enabling early humans to detect a lion hiding in the grass, for example, but modern humans tend to associate smells with childhood, travel, and family, McGee said. Near the end of the talk, Weitz asked McGee whether the human osmocosm is fixed or could be expanding.