There has been a wafting smell reminiscent of maple syrup in the Big Apple lately - causing bioterrorism concerns for many. The occurrence has happened as far back in recent memory as October 2005, the NY Times reports, and it has been so potent as to have sparked a press conference by Mayor Bloomberg (via Gothamist). Bloomberg states, “It wasn’t exactly akin to searching for a needle in a haystack, but a smell over a very large area.” How perspicuous.
Investigators followed the scent to a fragrance company in New Jersey called Frutarom who the Wall Street Journal's Health Blog suspects may be using fenugreek to refine a substitute for maple syrup flavor. I only know fenugreek from Indian Cuisine, but what immediately strikes me is that fenugreek is the only spice in our cupboard that requires extra sequestering.
Our fenugreek is not only a sealed zip-top bag, but that bag needs to be placed inside a Tupperware also in order to keep it from scenting everything in the cupboard "curry." I suppose if there is one spice that could cross the Hudson, frighten the pants off of tens of thousands of citizens of New York City and make them think they were under attack... it would have to be fenugreek.