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Food smells: Favorites? Least favored?

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onions/garlic frying in butter

bread baking

chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven

Hershey, PA - whole place smells like chocolate

onion confit in the slow cooker

chicken stock simmering on the stove

roasting chicken

fresh basil & cilantro, most fresh herbs actually

lasagna in the oven

pot roast

cupcakes/cakes baking in the oven

fresh roasted coffee

Krispy Kreme donuts - when the HOT sign is on

steaming shrimp

grilling meat

driving by the spice manufacturing plant

lemon; citrus smells


burnt onion or garlic

the lingering aroma after frying salmon cakes


unfresh fish markets


Today is going to be one of those days.....

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I hate the smell of doughnuts frying...in fact, prolonged exposure to any kind of sugary cooking can bring on a migraine (emphasis on the word "prolonged"). Comes from being forced to make doughnuts for some church function when I was a kid, and after 8 hours, enough became too much and was I ever in serious pain. Mom didn't believe me at the time: "Who gets a headache from smelling doughnuts??" (The puking convinced her.)

I also hate the smell of raw pork, although I love the cooked result. I just have to mouth-breathe while I'm prepping a roast.

And then there's the collective exhalation of an airplaneful of people tearing into their packets of airline peanuts. Bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeechhhh.

Favorites: I LOVE LOVE LOVE pineapple!! Runners-up: garlic, bread, bacon, carmelized onions, and beer.

"She would of been a good woman," The Misfit said, "if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life."

--Flannery O'Connor, "A Good Man is Hard to Find"

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Love the aromas of:

Onions/garlic/potatoes frying

Cake baking in the oven

Fresh bread and that includes chapathis, parathas etc.

Spices and other aromatics such as rose water, orange-blossom water

Hot steaming basmati rice

Freshly made ghee

Dislike the smells of:

Extra-ripe papaya

Green Peas

Bananas (but only the ones that we get here - I don't have any such problems with the bananas in India)

Raw meat / sausages, particularly when present in a large quantity, as in a supermarket or at the butcher's.

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  • 1 month later...

Onions being sautéed. Doesn't really matter what comes next -- you smell those onions, you just know it's gonna come out tasting great.

Of course, you can't really beat the smell of freshly baked bread...

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Baked goods.

There's something about the smell of pastries and cookies and cakes--even if they don't turn out as good as they smell.

This has to explain why I managed to inhale practically half the oatmeal raisin cookies I made today while baking, and then washing up.


Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

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  • 2 months later...
Vanilla and buttercream frosting.  Yankee Candle actually makes a candle that captures this smell perfectly, called Buttercream. You don't even have to light it, but if you do, it will smell like a freshly baked and frosted cake.  It always makes me hungry.

:) Pam

Ditto! When I first smelled this candle I immediately bought it because it reminds me of the icing I make when I bake.

Some of my favorite food smells are:

A cake baking in the oven

Summery fruits like a cut fresh pineapple and mango

The aroma of lightly sauteed garlic

Meat baking in the oven (e.g. a brisket or pot roast)

The "vinegary" smell of homemade potato salad as it's being mixed with the mayonnaise. I also like the sound of it being mixed in the bowl. That reminds me of my mother.

Chocolate chip cookies baking in an oven

Flavored coffee brewing


Bread baking in an oven

I dislike the smell of:

Raw chicken


Americanized Chinese food (e.g. lo mein, General Tso's chicken, egg foo yung and dishes of that ilk that you find at the local Chinese food joint).

burned garlic

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i love the smell of tomato plants - does that count as a food smell?

other favorites: fresh brewed coffee or fresh coffee beans; vanilla bean; bacon ; roasted garlic; gingerbread or gingersnaps baking; apples & cinnamon baking - in a pie, by themselves, any way at all!; the smell of good juicy hamburgers on the grill

dislikes: melted butter; buttermilk

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I love the smell of the usual suspects:

A loaf of bread baking (though I also love the subtle sent as it rises before going into the oven).

The scent of short ribs that have been braising in the oven at a very low heat for four hours.

Spices in general (of course not aesfetida - I know I spelled that wrong), but especially mexican ceylon cinnamon, pure ancho powder, curry powder, saffron...

I love the smell of the Japanese market near where I used to work, but I think that is more scent-memory than anything. It makes me feel like I'm back in Japan.

Roasted garlic, raw garlic. Bacon. The smell of the smokehouse at the local sausage place.

I hate:

The smell of baking or roasting onions (not a onion fan in general, I cook with them for others, but French Onion Soup grosses me out).

Pineapple anything (I once got completely-blacked-out-plastered on Captain Morgans and Pineapple. Remarkably, I can still drink any kind of rum, but I can't even look at a pineapple, let alone smell or taste one).

Sauerkraut. I grew up with a family who always ate pork and sauerkraut on New Year's Day and they wondered why I usually stayed in the other room. I'm sure good sauerkraut is delicious, but my family would just open up a can and dump it in a pot; then cook it for hours until it permiated the walls.


Edited by Shannon_Elise (log)

my new blog: http://uninvitedleftovers.blogspot.com

"...but I'm good at being uncomfortable, so I can't stop changing all the time...be kind to me, or treat me mean...I'll make the most of it I'm an extraordinary machine."

-Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine

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Butter & Good Quality Dark Chocolate being melted together

Fresh Basil

Fresh Thyme

Ripe Peaches

Grilled Pork, Beef or Chicken

Croissants Baking

Fresh Ripe Tomatoes



Chicken Stock

Conchinita Pibil

Earl Grey Tea


COFFEE (Especially Espresso)

Roasting Peppers

Roasting Veal Bones

Roasting Lobster Carcasses

Chicken Fat

Fish Sauce

Lamb Fat

Burning Herbs

Deep Fryer

Macdonalds (Someone in my building eats it all the time and the smell lingers in the elevator)

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How can anyone not detest:

The reek of a McDonalds. Nothing like it to bring down the tone of the whole neighbourhood.

The smell of instant noodles. Admit it, that stuff's just not food, is it?


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  • 4 years later...

There's a similar thread going on.

Love the smell of freshly grated horseradish -- more a feel than a smell, though. Love the rich stink of dried squid roasting on an open flame. And the sweet, warm smell of freshly steamed jasmine rice.

Gross smells: rosemary, chicken fat, natto, durian.

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There are so many good smells. Fresh baked bread, bakery anything, BBQ, garlic and onions turning golden in a pan, stinky cheese, quince.

What smell do I hate. Sour Sandwich Smell. You can smell it when someone unwraps a certain kind of sandwich and also at some shops, especially Subway Subs which always has that smell... which is why I've never been there for decades. I have to leave and get away from it or I will toss my cookies. To me it's worse than rotting meat.

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Love the smell of hyssop growing, hate the smell of coriander growing (though I like the taste).

Hate the smell of soy sauce burning (as in yakitori)...but rather like the smell of miso grilling.

Absolutely hate the smell of artifical pineapple flavoring. Smells like musty wet dishrags to me!

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I spend my workdays trapped inside the bowels of a hospital's bottom floor with no windows. We are moles who don't see faylight until day's end. Someone approaches the microwave and nukes BROCCOLI AND CAULIFLOWER. In the same dish. ABHORRENT! Add to that the office is right across from the ladies' restroom, which has no exhaust fan. Minutes later, the micro dings again. Someone's made fish. WHY????????

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  • 1 month later...
Durian smells terrible but really good ones taste good.

How does one eat a durian? Use one hand to clip the nose and the other to deliver a slice to the mouth? Or just endure the smell for the taste?

To me, durian smells strong, but not bad. It smelled scary the first time I tried it, but after a couple bites something "clicked," and I loved it. The smell has one element of the smell of rotten onions, without the actual rot.

Bad smells - burned things but especially burned cabbage/broccoli/brussels sprouts; anything cruciferous. And tripe, in any form. It just smells dirty to me.

"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

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