Over at The Kitchn, you can find recipes for quince liqueur, a quince-apple tart, and membrillo thumbprint cookies, but my favorite way to use quince takes a half-second and will make your home look & smell beautiful...When I first encountered a quince years ago, I was enamored, and confused. I did a bit of research on them, and the only fact that stayed with me was that a bowl of quince was often used as a room fragrance (some say "deodorizer", but that sounds less pleasant). Since then I've eaten plenty of membrillo and made failed quince syrup, but I use quince most often as an autumnal centerpiece.
Their chartreuse brilliance, with hints of grey fuzz, is so intriguing, and a nice break from all the orange-burgundy-red-brown. Their scent is indeed intoxicating, and you really only need two or three quince in a bowl to do the trick. Whenever floral customers are picking out flowers for a centerpiece, I steer them away from the highly scented varieties: not many people want their dinner to smell- and therefore taste- like lilies, or tuberose.
Lovely food scents (fresh rosemary, bay, sage, clove-studded oranges, quince) suit a dinner table. For those of us who live in small, even one-room apartments, the honey-sweet scent will fill our entire home, just as the impossibly bright color will glow on the darkest autumn days.
Images: 1. Still-life painting by Trisha Hardwick; 2. Paula Walton's 18th Century Home Journal; 3. For The Love Of Food 3.