Can you remember the sweet smell of cotton candy--does it take you back to the State Fair as a kid?
Smells are like that. We can be going along, doing fine, and then with one familiar smell, we're taking a trip down memory lane. Our other senses can do the same thing.
The sound of a train's whistle takes me back to my childhood. (I wanted to be a hobo as a kid.)
The taste of a good ice cream reminds me of my dad--he used to make ice cream regularly. He made fudge at Christmastime, and now that he's gone, these are precious memories for me.
So, how can we use our senses in our writing? Try to heighten our senses with exercize. (It's not as bad as it sounds.)
My husband loves to people-watch--airports, restaurants--anywhere there's people--and this is a good exercize. Close your eyes and listen. (See how easy this is?) Pay attention to what you hear. Open your eyes--what do you see? Pretend to be on one of those reality chef shows and eat something blindfolded. Savor it. Can you pick out several of the ingredients? The salty, the sweet, the textures? Pay attention to it all.
Write down your impressions; the things you see; the flavors you pick out of a recipe. The more often we exercize our senses, the better able we'll be able to access them when we're writing.