How can anything that smells so good while cooking, smell so bad the next day? The morning after I cook gumbo, the entire house smells so foul I have to open all the doors and windows – that’s pretty chilly in December, even in Florida. The kitchen dishcloths I used and all the clothes I wore when making the roux go straight into the washer, and the Scentsy and Glade fresheners come out of storage.
Only one thing stinks up the house more – cumin. But I’ll never bemoan the smell of cumin.
Thanks to cumin’s cooking stench we were able to move from Texas to Florida. Five years ago the housing market was grim, depressed, lopsided, underwater and every other possible adjective. We didn’t hold out much hope for a sale. When our Kansas friends came to visit us in Texas, our house had been on the market for three weeks with few showings. If we got lucky and a showing was scheduled, our visitors chipped in and helped us clean. On Sunday afternoon we begged the husband (a fireman famous for his firehouse cooking) to make his delicious world-class chicken burritos. He chopped, sautéed, grated, stirred, cooked, grilled, rolled and baked all afternoon. The odors of simmering onion, chili and cumin filled the “open concept” first floor and wafted to the second floor. When we finally sat down to eat, the house smelled like the streets of Laredo. Just as we finished, the automated phone center notified us of a house showing in thirty minutes. We scrambled and cleaned, then disappeared – everything, that is, except the smell of cumin. There was no removing it.
After the showing, we returned to an empty house, sparkling clean, still smelling of cumin.
There was something magical about that smell: the sales contract arrived the next morning and I swear the paper had a whiff of cumin. Though I don’t think cooking a gumbo will help sell a house, here are a few good tips to help spiff up the kitchen after cooking gumbo. The number one tip is spraying with vodka infused with essential oils (not Crisco!). I recommend a compromise between tips #1 and #4 – leave home and drink the vodka on the beach .http://www.organicgardening.com/living/6-weird-all-natural-air-fresheners.