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Mar 14, 2013 12:27 AM

Do U smell diff when u cook indian food?

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. 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

      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. 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

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

        1. re: melpy

          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

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

          1. re: Isolda

            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

            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: sunshine842

              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.

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

              8 Replies
              1. re: BiscuitBoy

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

                1. re: sunshine842

                  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

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

                    1. re: sunshine842

                      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

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

                    1. re: BiscuitBoy

                      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

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

                        1. re: sunshine842

                          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. 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

                      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

                        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

                          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.

                        2. 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

                            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

                              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.