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Do U smell diff when u cook indian food?

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youareabunny Mar 14, 2013 12:27 AM

Sorry I couldn't come up with a more eloquent title. This post I am asking towards not just eaters of Indian food but those that cook it

I want to know if CHers notice a smell particularly coming from themselves due to cooking with these spices. I am vegetarian and eat too many carbohydrates because I don't really find ways I like vegetables. I love indian food however but am hesitant to invest into the spices if I am going to make my body and home smell so strongly.

I have read a lot about people having a smell after eating at, say an indian restaurant. This could be to the spices and/or inadequate ventilation. I am wondering if both cooking with it and eating it encourages the smell? I've read too that your perception of smell is attributed to what u r used to.. but I feel that I've been around many people with many diets - Japanese, hispanic, Persian, Europeans, Filipino, Caucasians, black - and never notice a food smell coming from them.

I have a friend that is indian and I love eating at her house. The house has this smell, which isn't bad but so does she, all day everyday, even when we went to Vegas for 3 days and had no indian food at all. She is the only person I know that cooks and eats indian food so I've got no one to compare to. Although its clear her hygiene practices need some improvement I'm not sure how much a factor it is.

I just really don't want to smell like asafoetida.. Maybe i can negate Any odor By eating lots of Fruit? Thanks in advance.

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  1. LMAshton RE: youareabunny Mar 14, 2013 02:07 AM

    I've noticed that smell in one or two Indian households only over a couple or three decades, but definitely not in most. I don't know what causes that smell, and while it could be cooking, it's not all cooking or even most. And that smell doesn't show up in our house at all when I cook Indian.

    1 Reply
    1. re: LMAshton
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      youareabunny RE: LMAshton Mar 14, 2013 10:00 AM

      Very glad to read that. Again I only know one person who eats indian food so I have no one to base off of.

      Also cleanliness has more to do with it then I think... cuz looking back on it my friends house has almost no odor ever since they had the walls painted and carpet replaced. Hopefully it will be the same for me

    2. sunshine842 RE: youareabunny Mar 14, 2013 02:52 AM

      Lots of ingredients are emitted through the skin -- garlic, onions, peppers, curry -- beer! --

      -- and it varies by ingredient, by person, and from day to day.

      I used to work with a guy who metabolized alcohol through his skin to a degree that he simply didn't drink during the week because he reeked of alcohol after even one glass of wine with dinner.

      8 Replies
      1. re: sunshine842
        melpy RE: sunshine842 Mar 14, 2013 10:34 AM

        I find I can smell very strongly of garlic and onions. Literally comes through my skin and remains even with showering.

        1. re: melpy
          sunshine842 RE: melpy Mar 14, 2013 11:01 AM

          and I can eat garlic and hubby says he can never smell it on my skin.

          Just like my mom's favorite perfume that smells awesome on her smells terrible on me.

        2. re: sunshine842
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          Isolda RE: sunshine842 Mar 14, 2013 11:16 AM

          Poor fellow. So glad that's not me, or I'd be smelling pickled all the time!

          1. re: Isolda
            sunshine842 RE: Isolda Mar 14, 2013 01:41 PM

            it was really strange -- and that was just it -- he'd have a glass of wine with dinner (say at a sales meeting ), so we all knew he was stone-cold sober....and the next day he'd smell like he was hung over! Bad news for a salesman -- so he just learned to sidestep it.

          2. re: sunshine842
            fldhkybnva RE: sunshine842 Mar 14, 2013 05:31 PM

            I eat enough garlic and onions it can't possibly not be permeating through my skin and stinking up the world. I even told my closest colleagues to give me a nod if I reek of alliums. I don't notice anything and the person I entrusted hasn't said anything and I know for sure they would have as they fortunately spend much time in close quarters with me and we are quite good friends.

            1. re: fldhkybnva
              sunshine842 RE: fldhkybnva Mar 15, 2013 01:08 AM

              some people do, some people don't.

            2. re: sunshine842
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              sandylc RE: sunshine842 Mar 14, 2013 07:11 PM

              For years my husband cleansed through his skin. A few years after convincing him to consistently eat better and take vitamins every day, it has mostly stopped.

              The body cleanses with its liver, kidneys, and skin. If the first two are overwhelmed, the skin takes on the chore.

              1. re: sandylc
                LMAshton RE: sandylc Mar 14, 2013 07:28 PM

                Huh. That... makes sense.

            3. BiscuitBoy RE: youareabunny Mar 14, 2013 06:14 AM

              good observation...definitely explains a few things. I always thought it was a hygiene issue

              8 Replies
              1. re: BiscuitBoy
                sunshine842 RE: BiscuitBoy Mar 14, 2013 08:41 AM

                It can be -- but if it's coming out of your pores, there's not much you can do about it.

                1. re: sunshine842
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                  youareabunny RE: sunshine842 Mar 14, 2013 09:58 AM

                  I completely forgot about individual chemistry.... sort of how perfumes/colognes react differently on people? So internal smells can do the same... So I guess it's a try of cooking and eating it a few days, then asking some close and honest friends their opinion.

                  1. re: youareabunny
                    sunshine842 RE: youareabunny Mar 14, 2013 10:10 AM

                    but even your own body chemistry can vary over the course of days/weeks/months -- ask any woman.

                    1. re: sunshine842
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                      youareabunny RE: sunshine842 Mar 14, 2013 10:23 AM

                      Hmm I think if I smelled strangely in my life my mother or gf's would tell me. Also with all the females I've surrounded myself with the only one that has ever smelled was her. Lol

                  2. re: sunshine842
                    BiscuitBoy RE: sunshine842 Mar 14, 2013 10:18 AM

                    Doesn't sweat come out of pores? Soap and water works a charm for me

                    1. re: BiscuitBoy
                      sunshine842 RE: BiscuitBoy Mar 14, 2013 11:02 AM

                      all kinds of things come out of your pores -- oil, water vapor, various chemicals that you've ingested-- and if it's coming out of your skin, you'll smell like garlic IN the shower -- see melpy's comment upthread.

                      You are what you eat, etc., etc.

                      It's why people tell you to consume brewer's yeast if you live in an area with a heavy mosquito population - the skeeters don't like the smell of the yeast on your skin.

                      1. re: sunshine842
                        melpy RE: sunshine842 Mar 14, 2013 11:17 AM

                        I think the smell is stronger in the shower!!!

                        1. re: sunshine842
                          LMAshton RE: sunshine842 Mar 14, 2013 07:29 PM

                          That yeast thing has *never* worked on me. I lived in Sri Lanka for a decade and they always always always ate me first.

                  3. d
                    DelishDi RE: youareabunny Mar 14, 2013 10:10 AM

                    I work at a company with a huge Asian population. Definitely there is a curry/Indian aroma that abounds. I also have a roommate from Sri Lanka, and my house always smells like curry now because she eats curried rice dishes for nearly every meal, including breakfast. I have to throw my windows open even when it's 10 below, use Glade sprays every day, and I make every attempt to cook in the oven or bake once a day to minimize the aroma!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: DelishDi
                      sunshine842 RE: DelishDi Mar 14, 2013 10:13 AM

                      but that's in the air, and not necessarily emanating from someone, which is what the OP is asking.

                      I think your point is valid, though, in that our clothes very often pick up the aromas of our home (one particular potpourri always makes me think of my sister's house) -- and of the things we cook.

                      If you can come home smelling like an ashtray when you've been out in the clubs, you can leave home smelling like dinner.

                      1. re: DelishDi
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                        youareabunny RE: DelishDi Mar 14, 2013 10:30 AM

                        At your company, do those coworkers always smell? Can it be attributed to having a curry-ish sort of lunch that they bring? Or do u think it is internal

                        1. re: DelishDi
                          LMAshton RE: DelishDi Mar 14, 2013 07:31 PM

                          And yet, even though we cooked curry and ate curry at every meal at our house in Sri Lanka, the house never smelled of curry except when we're cooking and then only if you were close enough to the kitchen. And no person ever smelled of curry, either.

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                          Isolda RE: youareabunny Mar 14, 2013 11:14 AM

                          My husband used to travel to India frequently on business. He always came back smelling of Indian food (cumin was what i picked up) and told me that everyone there smelled like that. It makes sense that what a person eats would make it into their skin.

                          Cooking Indian food (or any cuisine that uses strong spices and lots of oil together) will make you and your place smell for a while, because you're not only eating the food, you're basically bathing in it as it becomes aerosolized. If you're worried about smelling bad, eat a handful of parsley after a spicy meal to neutralize the odor.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Isolda
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                            youareabunny RE: Isolda Mar 14, 2013 12:47 PM

                            Even after showering prior and flying on a plane for 9+ hours he comes home smelling? Holy moly. Was it his clothes or skin?

                            I recall a smell from my friend but not her brother or mother. Her mother did the cooking so she has the most exposure externally and internally. I can clean the kitchen well, use the range hood etc... I just hope my body won't react with it too malodorously. Parsley it is!!

                            1. re: youareabunny
                              sunshine842 RE: youareabunny Mar 14, 2013 01:45 PM

                              If they tell you that consuming various herbs and spices (take your pick....cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, thyme, etc., etc., etc.) for your health -- blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar regulation, etc., etc.,etc., -- it means that the essential chemicals from those herbs end up in your bloodstream.

                              If they're in your bloodstream, they're carried to every cell of your body...

                              ...and eventually every cell in your body discards those ingredients..

                              So it's not difficult at all to figure that if hubby was in India for a week or two, he consumed a fair amount of those compounds...and it's not going to dissipate in a matter of hours.

                          2. Jay F RE: youareabunny Mar 14, 2013 01:11 PM

                            I reek of Indian food the day after I eat it, so I don't make it at home.

                            1. boogiebaby RE: youareabunny Mar 14, 2013 01:21 PM

                              Indian food uses a lot of "high aroma" ingredients, like onions, garlic, cumin, etc. When I cook Indian food at home, which is 2-3 times a week (being Indian and all), I open the windows, and use the range hood fan to suck up the smells. I also wear old clothes, i.e. clothes I am not going to wear out after dinner. The smell sticks to my clothes. Even then, the smell travels around the house. I usually light a scented candle after cooking to help with the smell. Even after all that, my husband will go to the gym, come home and say "it still smells like dal/chicken/cauliflower/insert dish.

                              Side note: My parents babysit for us on a regular basis. If we are going out somewhere, we drop the kids at the door and don't go in the house. We can usually smell the indian food cooking when we pull into the driveway. If we go into the house, our clothes pick up the smell too (their kitchen is adjacent to the entryway).

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: boogiebaby
                                sunshine842 RE: boogiebaby Mar 14, 2013 01:46 PM

                                Can I come to your house just to smell? I *love* the smell of Indian spices while they're cooking.

                                (but I agree...it's less pleasant when it clings to your clothes and hair)

                                1. re: boogiebaby
                                  Jay F RE: boogiebaby Mar 14, 2013 04:16 PM

                                  Yes. My point is it's in you, as well as on you.

                                  Burning scented candles is silly, I think. Indian food smells better than scented candles, yet I have known Indians who try to mask the smell of recently-cooked food with these candles.

                                  All you're doing is creating a combined scent that's less pleasant than the one you're trying to hide.

                                  1. re: boogiebaby
                                    Samalicious RE: boogiebaby Mar 14, 2013 05:40 PM

                                    My neighbors rented their townhouse to an Indian family...grandma lived with them and I guess she stayed home and cooked all day for the year that they lived there. The family left the house in good shape except the food smell had permeated the carpet and walls. They tried everything to get rid of it and ended up replacing the sheetrock and all the carpets.

                                    1. re: Samalicious
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                                      youareabunny RE: Samalicious Mar 15, 2013 03:05 AM

                                      In my research I read accounts from real estate agents, apartment leasers, landlords who had issues ridding the house of food smells, particularly curry, so I can understand this. I'm sure cleaning (or lack thereof) has much to do with it, but it can be hard to control the spices with the hot oil except with a strong range, and some people don't always turn it on lol.

                                    2. re: boogiebaby
                                      LMAshton RE: boogiebaby Mar 14, 2013 07:33 PM

                                      You know, you bring up a good point. We *always* have the windows open in Sri Lanka when I or my mother in law is cooking. That probably at least helps to account for why we and the house don't smell.

                                    3. ipsedixit RE: youareabunny Mar 14, 2013 07:37 PM

                                      Maybe your friend just smells.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: ipsedixit
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                                        youareabunny RE: ipsedixit Mar 15, 2013 03:07 AM

                                        Probably, but two smelly people are worse than one.

                                      2. l
                                        lemons RE: youareabunny Mar 15, 2013 06:45 AM

                                        I find when I cook Indian food that the smell - which I am almost positive is turmeric lingers until the next day in the kitchen and nearby hallway. Also, there's an ingredient called hing, which Americans once knew as asafoetida, sometimes used, that's extremely pungent and distinctive when used in anything more than just a dab. Perhaps it's one of these.

                                        I'm thinking the only way to figure this out is to try it for yourself. My guess is that it's on your friend's clothes.

                                        1. p
                                          pine time RE: youareabunny Mar 15, 2013 10:35 AM

                                          The Mr. is from India, and he sometimes says "don't make Indian food so often--the house reeks for days" yet I smell it for just a few hours and its gone.

                                          On our many trips to India, in addition to food smells, I've noticed the number of people using sandalwood soaps and heavily Indian-fragranced body lotions, so some aromas may be from those, not food/spices.

                                          And yes, I've also had a Japanese friend who felt she could discern an American "milk" smell.

                                          1. h
                                            Hobbert RE: youareabunny Mar 15, 2013 11:51 AM

                                            I cook Indian and Thai food at least 2 or 3 times a week and, frankly, I don't notice any bad odor. Honestly, it smells delicious! The smell lingers for a day or two but so does American food that uses frying. As for hygiene, it depends on the person, but if your hygiene is good, you're fine.

                                            1. JungMann RE: youareabunny Mar 18, 2013 12:30 PM

                                              You are not the only one who is sensitive to the aroma of South Asian cooking. My mom was a huge fan of my dad's Pakistani home cooking, but even she would institute Desi food breaks to keep the scent from lingering.

                                              Like boogiebaby, when I cook South Asian food at home, I usually wear old clothes since I notice the scent sticks to fabric. And for a few days afterwards, I am sensitive to a particular scent on my person reminiscent of cumin. It's nothing strong or off-putting, certainly nothing like asafoetida. It seems to be present in perspiration, so sandy's theory that we are sweating out certain elements of our diet rings true.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: JungMann
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                                                sandylc RE: JungMann Mar 18, 2013 12:46 PM

                                                Similar to when I cook bacon, then smell bacon in my hair when showering afterwards.....

                                                1. re: JungMann
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                                                  youareabunny RE: JungMann Mar 19, 2013 02:30 AM

                                                  I think the smell can be strong in the hair and clothes but the perspiration type of smell more faint (hopefully).

                                                  I'm thinking I can reduce smells by cooking outside, wearing old clothes, showering after cooking (as opposed to reversed), and eating some parsley or fruity things so I can hopefully sweat that out instead :)

                                                  I'm Filipino, so 3 syllables: ba-go-ong. It's probably the smelliest stuff to cook in the history of cooking and is why almost every Filipino household has an outdoor kitchen.

                                                2. j
                                                  jujuthomas RE: youareabunny Mar 18, 2013 01:19 PM

                                                  My senior year in high school a girl who rode the bus with us always smelled of onions/garlic. Her family were recent immigrants from the India/Pakistan area of the world and she was a little shunned by the other kids. Such a shame because she really was a sweetie. Not sure what caused the smell, I just always assumed it was something they cooked in her home.
                                                  What Sunshine says makes absolute sense to me - I can remember my DH smelling like beer after a night of drinking the really dark chewy stuff.

                                                  14 Replies
                                                  1. re: jujuthomas
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                                                    youareabunny RE: jujuthomas Mar 19, 2013 02:38 AM

                                                    I wonder what I smelled like growing up :). Well I at most ate a pungent meal 3 times a week.

                                                    I think too it has to do with body chemistry. I've hung out with some lushes who never really smelled. Then I had a friend who showered 3x a day, used Axe, etc and still smelled really bad. So I guess I'll just have to test it out.

                                                    1. re: youareabunny
                                                      Jay F RE: youareabunny Mar 19, 2013 08:29 AM

                                                      < Then I had a friend who showered 3x a day, used Axe, etc and still smelled really bad. >

                                                      When you use Axe, you smell really bad.

                                                      I can usually tell when a guy is wearing that stuff, as it becomes hard for me to breathe.

                                                      1. re: Jay F
                                                        BiscuitBoy RE: Jay F Mar 19, 2013 08:53 AM

                                                        I get the same way when ladies douse themselves with cheap perfume, and it lingers in the room long after. But I'd rather smell knockoff perfume or axe than dirty armpit, hair, feet, ass.

                                                        1. re: BiscuitBoy
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                                                          sandylc RE: BiscuitBoy Mar 19, 2013 10:38 AM

                                                          Yes, but Axe and other fregrances don't negate bad smells, they just mingle with them, making things worse.

                                                          1. re: sandylc
                                                            BiscuitBoy RE: sandylc Mar 19, 2013 10:58 AM

                                                            True, most folks are going to get busy with the soap and water first, and everyone will be happy, happy happy

                                                            1. re: sandylc
                                                              sunshine842 RE: sandylc Mar 19, 2013 01:00 PM

                                                              and even with proper showers with soap....take it easy on the Axe. By the time you have scented body wash, and scented hair spray/gel, and scented deodorant, and scented body spray, you're getting pretty close to knocking someone over.

                                                              (this goes for both sexes...but with a teenager in the upstairs bathroom, the Axe hits close to home....we're having discussions about "less is more")

                                                            2. re: BiscuitBoy
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                                                              youareabunny RE: BiscuitBoy Mar 19, 2013 01:08 PM

                                                              Exactly. Cheap knock off Axe smell would've been much better than his armpit smell. I watched him like a hawk too, he wasn't exercising really and he rarely sweat. It's something I wonder about ever since I met him (3 years ago)

                                                              The twilight zone of BO... and he ate typical college, American male fare so I know it wasn't that.

                                                              1. re: youareabunny
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                                                                lemons RE: youareabunny Mar 19, 2013 05:23 PM

                                                                I have come to believe that there are some people who just don't house the bacteria that exude much odor. I married, relatively late in life and after being a nurse for a couple of decades, into a family where no one used deodorant. They weren't dirty people, they all showered and wore clean clothes, no one had B.O., but it just wasn't the family habit to use deodorant. My husband perspired profusely, but didn't smell. My dear late mother-in-law, I discovered when I was helping her pack up personal items for a trip to the hospital (a rare event), didn't use it either. Neither do my stepdaughters.

                                                                But are we getting OT?

                                                                1. re: lemons
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                                                                  sandylc RE: lemons Mar 19, 2013 05:52 PM

                                                                  My husband cleansed through his pores for the first several years that I knew him. I worked with his diet and bacterial balances for years and now I can say that he rarely does this anymore. It is clear that in a balanced body that is not filled with toxins, a person does not stink through his/her pores.

                                                                  1. re: lemons
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                                                                    youareabunny RE: lemons Mar 20, 2013 12:07 AM

                                                                    I think it's a relevant observation. What sort of diet did/does your husbands family eat? I'm curious if they were to drastically change it, would their smell change?

                                                                    I suppose much more of it based on individual biology than I would have guessed, as opposed to "one stink fits all".

                                                                    1. re: youareabunny
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                                                                      lemons RE: youareabunny Mar 20, 2013 05:58 AM

                                                                      Nothing particularly remarkable. DH in particular loved spicy, exotic food, mother was a big believer in vegetables, daughters don't do spicy at all. That's why I'm wondering about genetics....

                                                                      And I'm not familiar with cleansing through one's pores. What does that mean, please?

                                                                      1. re: lemons
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                                                                        youareabunny RE: lemons Mar 20, 2013 06:04 AM

                                                                        If I understand correctly its the exit of waste from our bodies - similar to the two ways we know best - waste exits through pores, which includes sweating.. which is what we may be thinking can cause people to have more smell than others. Their chemistry + certain foods and spices that are ingested and the aromas secreted through the skin.

                                                                        I believe urea is a small component of sweat. And one reason I dislike drinking hot coffee in particular is because it smells like hot coffee going in AND going out... Or am I the only one?

                                                                        1. re: lemons
                                                                          sunshine842 RE: lemons Mar 20, 2013 06:21 AM

                                                                          your body exudes water and oils and waste products through your pores, just like it exudes water and CO2 and accompanying gases in your breath, and water and waste products through your intestines, liver, and kidneys.

                                                                          1. re: sunshine842
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                                                                            youareabunny RE: sunshine842 Mar 20, 2013 07:52 AM

                                                                            That explains why I Goto the bathroom every 10 minutes when I binge drink at home, but only go 2-3 times when I drink at the club.

                                                                            Sweat on the dance floor...

                                                          2. l
                                                            lemons RE: youareabunny Mar 19, 2013 05:20 AM

                                                            And another note - how many of us non-smokers come home from the (increasingly rare) smoky bar or whatever and realize it's clung to our clothes and hair? I have a granddaughter who smelled of it all through elementary school b/c her mothr was such a heavy smoker. The kiddo figured it out and began appropriate measures. (And is now a vigorous non-smoker.)

                                                            Those molecules really cling to things. I'm convinced that they seem particularly like the petroleum-based fabrics like polyester, but that's just me.

                                                            11 Replies
                                                            1. re: lemons
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                                                              youareabunny RE: lemons Mar 19, 2013 07:00 AM

                                                              Yes the smell lingers and sticks to everything. In Vegas the non smoking rooms were taken so we were in a smoking room. None of us smoked but when I went home all of my things smelled like smoke. I had to wash even my clothes bag and spray my heels.

                                                              My ex was a smoker and even after a shower and teeth brushing I could smell it on his skin and breath. My clothes and hair smelled but I think his smell came out of his pores as well...

                                                              1. re: lemons
                                                                sunshine842 RE: lemons Mar 19, 2013 10:08 AM

                                                                and I'm the other way -- I've always felt that it clings to natural (read: more-porous) fibers.

                                                                1. re: sunshine842
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                                                                  youareabunny RE: sunshine842 Mar 19, 2013 01:09 PM

                                                                  I think it would stick to cotton but slide off of polyester. Makes sense to me but I guess I'll have to test it out.

                                                                  1. re: youareabunny
                                                                    greygarious RE: youareabunny Mar 19, 2013 01:47 PM

                                                                    I am a rabid crochet enthusiast who often buys vintage synthetic yarn via eBay. It's usually acrylic, sometimes also nylon or polyester. When it comes from a smoking home, it's very apparent to me. Often the sellers have acquired it at estate sales and flea markets and have packaged it with a sheet of fabric softener or spritzed it with air freshener. Somehow that almost makes it worse.

                                                                    I am not at all sure that those of us who think various kitchen odors don't cling to or exude from us are correct, since the nose is notorious for adjusting to ambient smells. I suspect that the blooming of spices in hot oil is the reason so many people detect lingering odors with indian food. Aerosolized
                                                                    oil droplets cling to furnishings and people. I love Indian food and sometimes cook it. For over 20 yrs, I worked with fellow mail carriers who were mostly Irish-and/or-Italian-Americans. Almost without exception, if I recommended an indian restaurant the xenophobic response was along the lines of "I would never eat that stinky stuff". This was always based on the stale odors in the hallways of apartment buildings. My assurances that freshly-cooked Indian food tastes and smells great fell on deaf ears. I also delivered to the rental offices of various apartment complexes and heard many a conversation amongst maintenance and management about the need to paint apt interiors and hallways when Indian tenants moved out. These were generally tinted with bigotry, sad to say.

                                                                    1. re: greygarious
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                                                                      youareabunny RE: greygarious Mar 19, 2013 02:38 PM

                                                                      I understand the difference between a stinky smell and a different smell. Food smells are generally different as opposed to bad (rotten food smells bad of course) but unfortunately some ppl lack any open mindedness, and understanding. What they are unfamilar with is nasty. They Have so much to say without even trying it. Then start to insult the people and race/culture as well.

                                                                      When I worked at Home Depot I heard so many remarks in the break room regarding other people's food. It wasn't "what is that?" but rather "WHAT is THAT?!" In this case a purple yam cake... I don't know if people realize how rude they are or not.

                                                                      1. re: youareabunny
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                                                                        sandylc RE: youareabunny Mar 19, 2013 02:54 PM

                                                                        Determined ignorance is a curse on society.

                                                                        1. re: youareabunny
                                                                          Jay F RE: youareabunny Mar 19, 2013 04:36 PM

                                                                          I think all food smells "different," as you put it, when it is microwaved. Generally it's a kind of "different" I don't like, even if I'm the one doing the microwaving.

                                                                          1. re: Jay F
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                                                                            sandylc RE: Jay F Mar 19, 2013 04:43 PM

                                                                            I know people who claim microwaves are dangerous to have in the house - they are especially spooked by food that has been microwaved.

                                                                            1. re: sandylc
                                                                              Jay F RE: sandylc Mar 19, 2013 08:32 PM

                                                                              Yes, I have a friend like that, too, Sandy. He doesn't want anything to do with anything that's been microwaved.

                                                                              I lived without one for most of my adult life, then was given one as a gift. I used it for melting chocolate, and for a while, reheating pizza. I quickly realized I liked reheating pizza in the oven.

                                                                              And then there's the smell.

                                                                              Anyway, I gave it away when I moved into an apartment with a small kitchen, in which I refused to grant two square feet of shelf space to a chocolate melter/food instinkerator. I haven't missed it at all.

                                                                            2. re: Jay F
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                                                                              youareabunny RE: Jay F Mar 20, 2013 12:09 AM

                                                                              I've never had much issue with microwaving and never noticed a smell. However I've been to people's houses and have been fed food that was microwaved in plastic. Albeit, supposedly microwave safe plastic, well I ate it anyway and it definitely had a smell...

                                                                              1. re: youareabunny
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                                                                                sandylc RE: youareabunny Mar 20, 2013 10:18 AM

                                                                                I listened to an NPR interview with the head of a plastics councils a few years ago and she said that nothing should ever be nuked in plastic.

                                                                  2. mkmccp RE: youareabunny Mar 19, 2013 04:25 PM

                                                                    At one point in my life I was battling many skin ailments. Dermatologist wanted to try systemic meds that to me had more base side effects than benefits. I went the homeopathic route and tried taking turmeric pills. That lasted about 2 days because one morning getting out of the shower I was wondering what the smell was... It was me exuding the turmeric from my showery fresh skin.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: mkmccp
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                                                                      sandylc RE: mkmccp Mar 19, 2013 04:27 PM

                                                                      What kind of homeopathy did you try?

                                                                      1. re: mkmccp
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                                                                        youareabunny RE: mkmccp Mar 20, 2013 12:13 AM

                                                                        Did the turmeric work? I've read so much about the use of turmeric, whether ingested as is, used in cooking, or applied externally.

                                                                        I had an ingrown hair that became a boil which occurred in a most unfortunate place. I applied a paste of turmeric before bed one night, put silk tape, and clothes. I woke up the next day with yellow on my clothes, in my bed and on my skin. The bandage remained in tact, it just soaked through. My skin was stained for a week.

                                                                        I suppose if it can leach from the outside in that it can leach from the inside out too. Although I don't think I had a smell by applying it externally, just a stain.

                                                                      2. JungMann RE: youareabunny Mar 20, 2013 08:18 AM

                                                                        This topic intrigued me so I did a bit more reading on how this all works. As others have mentioned, perspiration can contain trace amounts of digestive byproducts. Among those byproducts are sulfurous compounds produced by the digestion of foods like garlic or onions. When the bacteria naturally present on the skin metabolize these compounds they produce volatile odor molecules. Given the large role onions and garlic play in Indian cuisine, one could expect higher concentrations of these compounds to be present in the bloodstream after eating an Indian meal, which may be what leads to the characteristic odor we're here to discuss. Other spices in the South Asian kitchen, such as cumin, asafoetida, black salt, etc. also contain elements which can be broken down into aromatic compounds by the skin's flora.

                                                                        Not all bacteria in the skin flora produce aromatic compounds, however some do and the concentrations of those bacteria vary between individuals which is why we all react to foods differently.

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: JungMann
                                                                          greygarious RE: JungMann Mar 20, 2013 09:11 AM

                                                                          There was an episode in the Doc Martin series in which a fisherman or fishmonger was a social outcast because he always stank of fish. People assumed he had bad hygiene or wore soiled clothing but he was eventually diagnosed with a hereditaryenzyme condition in which the system creates fish odors as it processes cheese/dairy. Though this show is basically a comedy, in this instance it pointed out that a quirk of body chemistry can devastate a life. It is certainly not common knowledge that hygiene and body odors do not necessarily have a cause/effect relationship.

                                                                          1. re: JungMann
                                                                            sunshine842 RE: JungMann Mar 20, 2013 09:44 AM

                                                                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jlGR...

                                                                            Smelly cat, Smelly cat,
                                                                            What are they feeding you?
                                                                            Smelly cat, smelly cat,
                                                                            It's not your fault.

                                                                            1. re: sunshine842
                                                                              Jay F RE: sunshine842 Mar 20, 2013 09:46 AM

                                                                              I LOVE Smelly Cat. It is my favorite "Friends" moment. I find myself singing it in my head when people get too close with their perfumed selves on the bus or elevator. (Only in this case, it *is* their fault.)

                                                                          2. ninrn RE: youareabunny Mar 22, 2013 01:53 AM

                                                                            Hi, I'm Indian. We cook Indian food all the time. It has a strong smell. If you do not want to smell like Indian food or want to have your house smell like Indian food, it's probably best you don't cook and eat Indian food. The same cooking techniques that make the spicing penetrate the membranes of those vegetables so that they taste really good, will make them penetrate the membranes of other things.

                                                                            And I don't think you should rush to declare that your friend has hygiene issues solely because she smells like her food. It's traditional for Indian people to bathe twice a day and personal cleanliness is a HUGE deal in our culture. But, probably more than in any other cuisine, Indian traditional cooking uses food as medicine. There's almost always a health-related reason for an ingredient's being in a dish in addition to a flavor-related one. Medicinal herbs and spices tend to pervade the body more thoroughly than milder, strictly culinary ones, and their smells get conveyed through the pores. It means they're working. In India, it's generally thought that the smell that sticks with you from Indian food, even after bathing, is fenugreek (methi). Fenugreek is an amazing herb that is used in Ayurveda for blood and lymph purification and endocrine balancing. It's antiseptic and antifungal and it's in many, many Indian dishes. It can (and should) go through your system in such a way that you smell like fenugreek for several days after eating it. I'm guessing that's what your friend smells like.

                                                                            But the fact is, Youreabunny, everybody smells like what they eat and cook. If you don't smell that in people around you, it's probably because you're so used to those smells. When we first came to this country, I could hardly breathe because, despite all the fragrances Americans used, they all smelled like canned meat to me. The vegetarians smelled like garlic and boiled potatoes. Many Western homes have an underlying bacon smell that Western people don't seem to notice at all. You walk into a pizzeria and you walk out smelling like a pizza.

                                                                            I've read that the smell of humans in general is repellant to most animals, and that most carnivores will only eat a human in an extreme pinch because we smell so bad. If lions had a Chowhound, one of them might make a post something like yours about our whole species.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: ninrn
                                                                              y
                                                                              youareabunny RE: ninrn Mar 22, 2013 02:09 AM

                                                                              Thanks for writing. I mention hygiene because my friend has a smell but her family doesn't. Coupled with the fact that she doesn't clean her ears or maintain her toenails, I suspect hygiene must play a role in her smell, particularly.

                                                                              I've cooked a few Indian dishes in my home - puliyogare, and a few dishes including asafetida, garam masala, mustard seeds and I believe cumin seeds. My mother would have definitely complained if it kept a smell but it didn't. However I once microwaved Filipino shrimp paste and she was very angry with me.

                                                                              A few CHers have said that they successfully cook Indian and other pungent cuisine with little to no residual smell, be it on the body or in the home.

                                                                              We've also largely concluded that personal body chemistry plays a part, so there's no telling without trying. Some people can eat a whole head of garlic with no problem, while others can have one clove and instantly become vampire repellents.

                                                                              I've been among all kinds of cuisine and some smell more than others. It is what it is.

                                                                            2. The Chowhound Team RE: youareabunny Mar 22, 2013 11:20 AM

                                                                              We've removed a number of this posts that were getting pretty far afield, into issues of cultural and racial insensitivity, which is an area that doesn't generally go well in our discussions.

                                                                              1. k
                                                                                Krishna22 RE: youareabunny Mar 2, 2014 03:39 PM

                                                                                I agree that Indian food smells strong and it makes people who cook Indian food smell like curry. I am saying this being an Indian. You don't see people in India smelling like curry because of lot of ventilation they have in their houses and they take bath twice a day. Whereas here in US, because of lack of ventilation, the smell from the food just gets embedded into the clothes and surroundings and that is what you smell. To prevent smells, I open the windows/doors whenever I am cooking, turn on the vent fan and as soon as I am done cooking, I light up an incense stick which neutralizes everything. Also, I have separate clothes to cook and I don't wear them when I go out. This way you can avoid smelling like curry. About your body odor after eating Indian food, I recommend you cook them well than leaving things like garlic, onion half cooked. These are some of the tips I follow and I don't smell like curry or spices anymore :)
                                                                                Happy Cooking!!!

                                                                                1. f
                                                                                  fadista RE: youareabunny Mar 29, 2014 05:32 PM

                                                                                  Five days after eating a fenugreek curry (i.e. fenugreek leaves were the main ingredient, not just the spice), I still reek of curry/maple syrup.

                                                                                  The smell was a curiosity the first day - now it's seriously annoying.

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