Some dishes, no matter how delicious, can leave unpleasant cooking odors on you and throughout your home. This holds true when preparing Moroccan food as much as as it does with other world cuisines. I find that onions, fried fish and other fried foods, most seafood, cabbage and fenugreek are particularly bothersome.
Taking care of cooking smells on you is fairly easy: keep long hair tied back so it won't catch odors when working over the stove; change your clothes before company comes or before heading out after preparing a meal; take a shower if necessary.
Getting rid of pesky, lingering smells throughout your home may prove to be more difficult. Try these simple methods for neutralizing those unwanted odors.
Open Some Windows
This is one time when an interior draft may be welcome, even on a cold day. Fresh air helps any home smell good, and a strategic breeze can carry cooking odors right out the window. I find that opening windows in the front and back of my home does wonders, providing there is a breeze outside to begin with.
Shut Some Doors
If you can confine cooking odors to the part of your home where the kitchen is located, do so. Our Moroccan style home allows me to close off individual levels of the house since they're separated by a stairwell. I can also shut the kitchen door, but doing so means that I can't catch a breeze to blow the odors outside.
Weather permitting, I fry outside in the court area off my kitchen.
If the wind is trying to waft the greasy steam back indoors, I shut the exterior door and also nearby windows which overlook the court. And, leaving a deep fryer to completely cool outdoors before putting it away eliminates a fried, oily odor in the cupboard.
Brew Some Coffee
Grinding coffee beans and brewing coffee are easy ways to fill a home with a pleasant aroma that can override less pleasant odors.
For a change, try adding cinnamon, nutmeg or other spices to the coffee. This Spiced Coffee Recipe will steer you in the right direction.
Bake Something Aromatic
Baking cakes, rolls, cookies or bread will eliminate unpleasant cooking smells. Try one of the following fragrant recipes:
Make a Simmering Potpourri
A simmering potpourri is an easy homemade air freshener. Bring a small pot of water to a gentle simmer, and add any combination of the following to the water:
- citrus peels
- cinnamon stick or ground cinnamon
Allow the potpourri to simmer for an hour or longer, adding water as necessary.
Leave Out a Bowl of Vinegar
A small bowl of vinegar set next to the stove is very useful in reducing odors from frying fish and other foods. Leave the vinegar out for several hours. If the fried fish smell has gone well beyond the kitchen, try soaking several pieces of bread in vinegar, place them in individual bowls and set out in in adjacent rooms to work overnight.
Burn Some Incense or Light Scented Candles
Scented candles can be effective and soothing. Incense tends to be more powerful, but I find that some incense, no matter how high in quality, can quickly induce a headache. For that reason, be careful that what you select agrees with you.
Exercise Some Patience
As a quick fix, you may be tempted to spray air fresheners or perfumes around the home, but I don't recommend them; who wants chemicals flying around the air they breathe? A little patience will go a long way, and with time and some of the methods above, your home will soon smell inviting again.