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The Lingering Odor of Latkes Frying

On Saturday I fried latkes for 8 people. Today (Monday) my house still smells of potatoes, onions and oil. It's too cold to open the doors and windows. How do I get the odor out of the house?

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  1. You could fill a medium pot of water about 2/3 full and boil it with cinnamon (and maybe a bit of clove) for a while. It won't get rid of the smell, but it might mask it. and pray for warmer weather!

    Good luck.

    1. Light some plain unscented candles and let them burn for a while. The flame seems to burn up whatever scent molecules are still circulating in the air: scientifically sound or not, that's what seems to happen.

      2 Replies
      1. re: KTFoley

        burning some candles always works for me. i burn a candle in the kitchen while i cook smelly foods or fry so the oders get burned up immediately.

      2. There's a discussion over on Home Cooking about a recipe for a concoction to make your home smell nice: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

        1. To prevent this in the first place you can get a splatter screen. You would be surprised how far the oil can travel in the air. The screen cuts down the oil a lot.

          1. My first thoughts,,. whats so wrong with that??? My second thought. Being a real estate agent I would go into many a house with funky smells. Nothing turns off buyers more than the heavy smell or curry or cabbage or liver and onions. A quick and easy solution... heat your oven on about 325 for about 10 minutes... and place a piece of tin foil in it that has some vanilla extract on it and let it go to work for you... You can shut the oven off after a few minutes since you don't want to scorch the extract to the foil... works like a charm

            1. I'm in the same boat. I know you said opening the windows isn't possible, but that's what I did - cranked up the heat and cracked the windows, which helped a bit. But of course I'm in LA, so it's cold, but not THAT cold.

              It /is/ really hard to get that smell out (clothes and hair too).

              1. Don't laugh...bake cookies or even bread/rolls. Works every time! I learned that trick when my friends would have "unauthorized" parties and had to kill the smell of beer before their parents came home.
                Our home has the worst ventilation and I use this trick after making a lingering, "fragrant" meal.

                1. Why would you want that wondrous aroma out of the house??

                  1. Put a little vanilla on a folded paper towel in a saucer and place where the draft from the heating vent will flow over it. Or, put a little white vinegar in a small bowl and put in the corner of the kitchen.

                    1. simmer some vinegar and water on the stovetop for a bit. that usually does the trick in my poorly ventilated boston apartment. sometimes i take the pot off the stove and do a walk through of each room to make sure the vinegar steam is getting in to each room.

                      1. i live in new england and open the windows during the winter all the time. the air gets stagnant and just a few minutes makes a huge difference. i don't see what the big deal is. i'd rather have fresh air come in than a layer of cinnamon on top of a layer of frying oil.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                          for us our issue is that we put that plastic wrap stuff over our windows in the winter so we can't open them between november and march/april. even when we do have the windows open, there's no cross breeze where our apartment is located. hearing other people's tips on how to eliminate food odors is helpful for those of us who are circulatorily-challenged.

                          1. re: rebs

                            i know all about that smell (it's also all over clothes) - same with garlic. the only way is to open windows. i also have plastic on windows because of drafts, but leave the bottom taped in such a way that i can unpeel to open a windows. unless you've totally sealed it with a blow dryer you should be able to pull up the bottom half to open a window. and frankly it's not that healthy to be totally sealed up

                            1. re: hana

                              yes, we're totally sealed up over here. really old windows + electric heat makes for very expensive bills during the winter time. bad feng shui i know, but i make sure i get myself outside for some fresh air.

                        2. Sometimes it is helpful to open the doors and windows if only for 10 minutes or so. Makes a huge difference to let in some fresh air. I use my oil burner to freshen the air as well, right now I have a cranberry/vanilla oil going.

                          1. Tried and true: put our shallow soup dishes filled with white vinegar through the places where you can still sniff latkes frying, and the smell will be gone overnight.

                            1. Make coffee near the source of the offending odour. You wouldn't believe what coffee will cover up.

                              1. Bake an apple pie, it works wonders. I however, moved the fryer to the garage. Frying is now my husbands chore along with the bbq. Now it stays out side.

                                I have a lot of filipino friends, they cook in the garage to keep the odor out. My aunt married a Portugese man, he put a stove in the garage for her to cook on.

                                I think it is not uncommon for other cultures to take the cooking outside as not to offend the houseguests.

                                I know I will freeze my ____ off before I fry egg rolls or lumpia in my kitchen. But if I did, I'd bake an apple pie...

                                1. This year, anticipating the lingering aroma problem (a few hours is great; a few days gets tiresome), I roasted a chicken on the Weber gas grill with the electric rotisserie, then while the roast was "resting" I cooked the latkes on top of the grill in a skillet. No, I don't live in California- but upstate NY, where we grill year-round. Worked great and the house was fine the next day.

                                  1. To do any kind of cooking that involves a lot of fat and/or spices like curry, you really need to invest in a heavy duty exhaust fan. Turn it on before you start to cook and leave it on for a while after you are finished.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: Fleur

                                      If you have a heavy duty exhaust fan you have to have a supply of fresh air available equal to the amount you will exhaust or it won't work. Try opening a window or door.

                                      1. re: ligature

                                        I meant a heavy duty exhaust fan that gets the air out through a soffit in the window. I have one above my range that has the piping exit through the wall.

                                      2. re: Fleur

                                        I have a good, downdraft exhaust fan. Problem is, we put an addition on the house about 10 years ago, but never extended the exhaust pipe through the basement to the outside. Now, whenever I use the exhaust fan, it vents right into my home office in the basement.

                                        1. re: CindyJ

                                          That is a shame! Couldn't you still vent it to the outside? I have a very powerful above range hood exhaust and they were able to run the vents through the cabinets and pipe it out through the window.

                                          1. re: Fleur

                                            Venting it to the outside would simply require extending the vent pipe about 20 feet through the unfinished part of the basement. Very doable. Except for the fact that I have a DIY husband who doesn't get around to doing what needs doing. Maybe I just need to threaten to call in someone else to do the work.

                                      3. I got a chuckle out of the people who said to burn candles while frying latkes to remove the smell. If that worked, we wouldn't have a problem.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: wearybashful

                                          ROFL! Just put the menorah near the stove!

                                          1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                            I thought the candle bit was funny as well ---we have 3 menorahs about 6 feet from the stove--and a fourth in the front window. I love how the whole house smells like latkes! I wake up in the morning to onion and potato scents! I smell it on my coat when I get to work. And I love coming home, opening the front door, and being hit with the smell of my husband's fresh fried latkes!! Come on Yidden, it's only 1 week of the year! Pass the salt & pepper mill, applesauce and sour cream. Yum! Serious Yum.
                                            Chag Sameach & have a good Shabbat as well, p.j.