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I Can Tell by the Smell You’ve Been Cooking

Don’t let the fear of lingering smells impact what you choose to cook and eat.

Updated 11/2020

“Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived.”

Helen Keller

There are many wonderful aromas that trigger great memories of people, places, and things. Those are not the concerning smells we are talking about. We’re sniffing around about the stinky, smelly reasons you may choose not to eat something that is delicious and nutritious.

Most of us have probably paused at some point before making certain dishes to consider the odors that certain foods create – good or bad. As I prepared for garbage day this week, it got me thinking.

Food smells + Food waste = potential recipe for disaster

Unplug that nose!  Here are have five EASY ways to incorporate nutritiously stinky favorites:

smelly, stinky, pew
Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Plan your smelliest meals around garbage day. I do this with my own menus, especially in the summertime. It’s actually kind of fun to plan your prep around pickup time so you can make sure stinky scraps don’t linger longer than they should.

Take it outside. Grilling is an awesome way to keep aromas and excess heat out of the house, especially on the hottest days of the year.

Choose your aromas. Herbs and spices are a lovely way to add flavor and fragrance.  Use them in entrees and side dishes for a cohesive meal that tastes and smells great. Remember this bonus – you can help manage sodium/salt using herbs and spices, too!

baking apple cinnamon
Love when fresh baked aromas fill the kitchen!

Read recipes top to bottom. Make sure you have all your ingredients, pots, pans, and utensils. Then consider oven temperature, because you can put several things that cook at the same temparature in the oven at the same time. Finally, make the thing that smells nicest last. For me, this includes chocolate, cinnamon, or apple dishes. I don’t mind a lingering reminder of these lovelies.

Clean as you go and clean when you are done. Oh, you know how I love to talk about food safety. Yes, yes, yes. This is part of the smell-o-vision of fun food conversations. Keeping things clean helps contain (bad) smells while practicing food safety. Now this is “clean eating” as it is meant to be.

There are other clever ways to accommodate your aversion to food odors. Find what works for you to keep the nutrient-rich smellies on the menu while addressing your personal preferences.

One last tip: If you have weird lingering odors, get to the bottom of them with the help of an expert like a plumber. It may be something other than your food that’s bursting your smell mood.

What aromatic-inspired choices are you going to make this week?

By Kim Kirchherr

I am a dietitian working in food and fiber (agriculture) through retail, addressing opportunities to make things better for people and planet.