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Roommates and Cooking


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I'm moving yet again....why is fodder for another thread on a nonfood board, however.

In discussions with four successive potential roommates this past weekend, I posed the question of "do you mind if I cook"?

1. Roommate #1 said that "she was not very good at cooking and minded very much if I did", and would it be possible for me to keep it to a minimum? She worked out of her kitchen and thought that food preparation would intrude into her space. :wacko: Needless to say, that match didn't work out very well.

2. Roommate #2 was a vegetarian and had no issues about food preparation so long as she wasn't forced to eat it or had to look at it. (Memo to self: no butterflied chicken breasts with garlic and rosemary in a baking pan with this one.)

3. Roommates #3 and #4 were normal and had no issues apart from cleaning up as you go.

I have had roommates pass on sharing in the past because food smells were an issue. I remember one person who detested cooking because of the smell of garlic and onion. I saw an ad in the Village Voice this weekend that said "no spicy food! it's because of the lingering smell!"

I don't know about you but any roommate of mine has to be comfortable with cooking and food, so I look for those.

Where do they find these people? :blink: It's like I'm on Saturn or something. Garlic isn't like cigarette smoke -- it's not going to make your teeth turn yellow, linger in your hair and clothes for days on end, and it even tastes good.

In the end, I took the apartment in LIC. :wink:

Share your stories, both good and bad.

Soba

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my roommate in college used to walk around the apartment with his shirt pulled up over his nose, just because me and a friend were eating kimchi and cold rice for breakfast. frequently.

ok maybe i was the problem there.

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Stanley, I don't have any stories about roommates, I just wanted to say "Welcome to the neighborhood!"

The human mouth is called a pie hole. The human being is called a couch potato... They drive the food, they wear the food... That keeps the food hot, that keeps the food cold. That is the altar where they worship the food, that's what they eat when they've eaten too much food, that gets rid of the guilt triggered by eating more food. Food, food, food... Over the Hedge
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www.craigslist.org is a good place to look for roomates.

My roomate problems in the past had more to do with them eating all my food, using up my cosmetics, borrowing my clothes all the time, etc... A few of them even told me it was because my parents were affluent and their's weren't so they felt that it was okay to take things from me. :wacko:

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Once had a roommate that worked swing shift. You'd get home from work and the kitchen would be a mess, dirty pots plates and silverware. Garbage overflowing. 10 people lived in this house. It was a Mansion on two waterfront acres with a private beach. Final solution was to put all the dirty stuff under his covers on the waterbed, one Friday nite. Who was to know that that was his nite to get lucky at the bar? I fondly remember that nite. House rule was clean as you go. :laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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My roommate has a habit of cooking curries at 6 am- the (often) overpowering scents from the spices can really hurt if you've got a hangover. That and he puts his greasy paws allover the spices. He has not yet learned that washing hands of raw chicken/turmeric/tomato juice BEFORE you turn on the stove/touch the white serving plates results in no trail of filth!!

Don't get me started.

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I had the opposite (quite fortunate) situation: my college roommates were okay with doing all the housecleaning as long as I cooked once in a while...well, I'm not sure if we ever really agreed on that, but they never complained about my not cleaning because there was always good stuff to eat around the kitchen!

--------------------------------------------

Nathalie Jordi

nathalie.jordi@nealsyarddairy.co.uk

http://www.nathaliebouffe.com

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I had the opposite (quite fortunate) situation: my college roommates were okay with doing all the housecleaning as long as I cooked once in a while...well, I'm not sure if we ever really agreed on that, but they never complained about my not cleaning because there was always good stuff to eat around the kitchen!

Sounds like my ex wife. :laugh::laugh:

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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Current housemate, a.k.a. Fearless Housemate or FH for short, is pretty damn funny (in all senses of the word) about food stuff. He really does appreciate food, both highbrow and lowbrow, but very seldom essays anything more complicated than boiling water for pasta or microwaving pre-packaged foods. Once in a very blue moon he'll cook a batch of Rice-a-Roni, and afterwards the range-top will look like there was a minor explosion at the Rice-a-roni factory. And he has this bad habit of forgetting items in the microwave. Once or twice he's also mis-set the 'wave's timer for hours instead of minutes--do you know what kind of unholy stink one of those Healthy Choice meals in the plastic dish can make when melted down to a scorched hockey-puck? Definitely Not Pretty.

Ironically, given the couple of microwave meltdown incidents, FH also has extreme sensitivity to cooking smells, especially garlic. This cracks me up given he's a nice Italian-American boy--vhat, the Eye-talians from Youngstown OH don't use garlic? :raz::biggrin: And he has this odd aversion to eggs. To his credit, he does not mind at all if I cook or eat eggs in his presence, and only asks me to avoid cooking really stinky/garlicky food when he's trying to catch up on his sleep after a particularly grueling gig. I simply reserve my most potentially-stinky cooking experiments for when he's out of town or at least out of the house for several hours, which happens frequently enough that it doesn't really cramp my style.

Mind you, if I were hunting for a total-stranger roommate and were presented with these various food issues, I'd more than likely choose some other rooming situation. But FH and I are best friends, and I find more than enough benefits in living with someone I like and (mostly!) get along with to outweigh what would otherwise be drawbacks. As it is, we're both in the habit of cutting each other slack for our various idiosyncrasies (and believe me, I've got more than my share). Besides, what's not to like about a housemate who loves to pay for other people's dinners out? Just the volume of excellent sushi I've consumed at FH's expense more than makes up for having to strategize my garlic cookery.

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Heh, my roomate and I have our fair share of tiffs over the kitchen. He hardly ever cooks, I do all the time, but whenever he does, he leaves a huge mess. He also does not understand the concept that certain things can just be rinsed off and put back away into the cupboards, so the sink becomes overflowing with dishes/pans/untensiles, that end up having to be washed because the stuff gets dried onto them.

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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At first I thought it was just a coincidence; but then realized that I may be "the other" roommate.

Three of us shared a house in DC, but I was the only one who really cooked. On rare occasions (it seemed), one of my housemates mothers would come down from Philly and make all his favorite foods. She was born in Korea and he was first generation. On her second visit I was invited to dine with them.

I don't know if I was too appreciative, enjoyed her food too much, or helped myself to the leftovers too much the next day, but I never saw his Mother again. She would seem to visit only when I was gone for the weekend. He also never brought food back from Philly after that either. Hmmmm.

(About a year later I was reprimanded by his fiancée for grating cheese and putting in into bowl on pasta night when she and my girlfriend were cooking. "You don't have the green container?" she asked incredulously. She also didn't buy my suggestion to broil the garlic bread in stead of baking it so it wouldn't dry out. )

Bode

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I don't know if I was too appreciative, enjoyed her food too much, or helped myself to the leftovers too much the next day, but I never saw his Mother again. She would seem to visit only when I was gone for the weekend. He also never brought food back from Philly after that either. Hmmmm.

If you truly conveyed all this you would have been hounded with Korean food for the rest of your life. There is a 97 year grandma (my wife's) still following me around after a I told her 8 years ago that I liked her kimchi.

Did you put ketchup on the food? Or maybe they were from some backwards province. :raz:

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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I know of two really good friends who moved in with eachother. First day together - 'A' gets up to make herself breakfast, but finds her new roommate, 'B', already cooking. Problem though - turns out 'B' is naked (and a nudist in general) making bacon and oatmeal. 'A' could not bring herself to eat the breakfast and they were not roommates for much longer.

In terms of the cleaning thing - clean as you go is always good. But I have always found that having a cleaning lady come in (once a week) was soooo worth it. Cleanliness did not degrade too badly and no-one felt like they were the 'cleaning slave'. Very good for keeping the peace.

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I must be really lucky; my roommates and I don't have any problems, especially when it comes to food. All three of us have completely different tastes, too, so the house can smell like almost anything - pad thai or some sort of curry (Bianca), the Holy Trinity, garlic n' olive oil (me), or just plain ol' chicken nuggets (Paul). My girlfriend loves it and so do I...it's fun. Although B does go a little heavy on the fish sauce...

Todd McGillivray

"I still throw a few back, talk a little smack, when I'm feelin' bulletproof..."

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I offered all my post college roommates the same deal: I'd cook dinner every night if they would clean up. Only had one roomie that this worked with, but we had a good thing going for about 3 years. He really cared about having home cooked food (his previous apartment was known for the leaning tower of Domino's boxes and the petrified skillet of hamburger helper on the stove that stayed there like a musem piece, lid on thank God) and would jump up to clean up after dinner. He was genuinely bummed out when I moved in with my now wife. I had to console him with a huge batch of lasagna. He begged me to make it for him before I left. I said, you buy the ingredients and I'll do it, and gave him a shopping list. He brought back enough to make about 30 pounds of lasagna. I made up about 5 huge pans and he and his new roommate ate them all in about 10 days, the all lasagna diet.

Only thing that ever bothered my roomates was the time I brought back the stinkiest Raclette cheese I've ever had and made a big meal with it for my girlfriend (roomies were out). They returned the next morning and the house did smell like sweat socks in a locker room.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was looking for a roommate to share a house that I was renting once. The bedroom that was up for grabs was a HUGE finished attic space with stairs off the kitchen. One potential rommate looked around the kitchen and asked if I cooked. "Of course," I answered, "I LOVE to cook." I thought she was looking forward to having a roommate who made good food (as my previous roommate had), but instead she looked at me and said, "I'm sorry, but I can't STAND the smell of FOOD. This probably wouldn't work."

Seriously. I almost fell over. When you look for a roommate, you truly get to see the depths of human weirdness. I mean, did this woman put a clothespin on her nose every time she ate?

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I have had my share of roommates over the years but these two are particularly notable for their food fears:

**DISCLAIMER**

The names have been changed to protect the innocent....or the just plain weird. :blink::blink::wink:

There was Caroline who could not stand the sight of tomatoes -- be they ketchup, chopped tomatoes, tomato pulp, crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce. Sun dried tomatoes were all right if memory serves; very occasionally pasta sauce if it didn't look too tomatoey. She attributed this to a childhood of growing up on Campbell's tomato soup, but was otherwise a perfectly wonderful roommate. Hell, she introduced me to the joys of Bette Davis. :wink:

There was Raoul who was allergic to both garlic and onions. Can't have garlic: makes me break out! Ditto for onions. Gave him heartburn. Thai food was out of the question. Spicy? Couldn't stand the smell. And woe betide me if the kitchen smelled like cabbage. I'd never hear the end of it. Somehow even bacon could smell like cabbage. :blink:

Soba

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I had roommate/food heaven for three years. My best friend and I shared a three-bedroom house and shared grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning tasks. She's wine snob in addition to being a fantastic cook, and I love to bake......it was lovely, simply lovely. So many happy meals! The motto of the house was, "The more the merrier!"

I was *completely* unprepared for the squabbles over cleaning and cooking that accompany marriage!

I'm a canning clean freak because there's no sorry large enough to cover the, "Oops! I gave you botulism" regrets.

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Where do they find these people?  :blink:  It's like I'm on Saturn or something.  Garlic isn't like cigarette smoke -- it's not going to make your teeth turn yellow, linger in your hair and clothes for days on end, and it even tastes good.

Garlic is an Italian air freshener! And who doesn't like fresh air?

On the other hand, I once sauteed kippers and eggs in college--the entire dorm room smelled like dead fish. My roommates almost dangled me out the window by my ankles, but the dinner tasted great!

There are two sides to every story and one side to a Möbius band.

borschtbelt.blogspot.com

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I've been both the Cook, and the besieged. It was a large house, with each person in his/her own suite, but a common kitchen, and most of the other people were college students. I cooked more often than any of them, actual meals from scratch, and I'd find myself cooking for an audience, as they drifted in, lured by the aroma of real food. The first time this happened, it freaked me out - I had been concentrating (my hearing tends to shut down when I do this), so I was not aware that there were a dozen people lurking in the doorway, watching me cook. The downside was the shared refrigerator, where the law student jerk from across the hall would 'buy' my food - just take what he wanted, leaving a pile of change where the food had been. Needless to say, we fought about that frequently. It was just a portend of his twisted personality, as I finally had to call the police on him for beating his girlfriend. Didn't mind making that call in the least.

“"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

"It's the same thing," he said.”

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This thread cracks me up... :laugh:

I had a roommate with a drinking problem. I wasn't aware of how much she drank until I discovered a trash bag in her closet filled with empty bottles. She would toss a couple of bottles a week in our trash but I guess she had others she would stash in the closet. If she was home, she would continually have a glass of juice. What I didn't realize, is that she kept topping off the juice with the vodka.

And then one night she drank my cooking sherry. I come home and she was passed out on the sofa with the cooking sherry bottle on the floor. :raz:

Another roommate, very sweet girl, made me stuffed mushrooms for my birthday. I was incredibly touched. :blush:

Another roommate always shared his pizza and ice cream with my cat. My cat loved him :blush:

But I've not had serious food/smell/spice issues with roommates. But my husband is quite picky about food smells. We both love to cook but he installed an exhaust fan in the kitchen window because the fan over the stove didn't, in his opinion, work well enough to get rid of food smells. Cook all the beans, garlic and onions we want but the fan has to be going. :smile:

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I get a few comments of my housemates if I have been heavy on the garlic - none of them cook very much (One goes home nearly every weekend and returns with loads of containers full of food his Mum has frozen for him!)

I apologise If I know I have done something antisocial, like scorching chillies a little too much (That really hits the lungs!) and even though we take durns doing dishes for everyone, f I have used every pan, or welded something to one I normally wash them myself.

Normally I just get 'What are you making', or 'that smells good' comments.

I did once share a house with an Scottish guy - every so often he would make a huge pot of soup, the major ingredient of which appeared to be Brussel Sprouts. We could smell he'd been doing it from the end of the drive!

I love animals.

They are delicious.

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i have two roommates ....before we took up our apartment together I asked them if they liked Indian food, minded it being cooked etc...and both of them vehemently claimed to LOOOVE it!

well, we started living together...and I started cooking (from scratch usually) and sure enough the honeymoon came to an end. They can't STAND the smell of spices, hate onions and garlic and limit their love of Indian food to what comes out of a box. This despite the fact that I always make sure to leave the windows up for the smells to dissipate, always clean up after myself, and never leave dirty dishes. hell....i clean the kitchen every single day while their dishes pile up in the sink!

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one of our lodgers when we lived in london always insisted on her space in the kitchen, you know, stay out of my space, made a big deal of it. fair enough, everyone has their own comfort level of this sort of thing, but our warehouse kitchen was the size of a small football field.

and always, as we would be cooking at basically the same time, she made it a point of extoling the virtues of her food over ours. i would be testing the recipes for my cookbooks, columns, etc, and she would take her ready meal from its package and make some comments about the superiority of her meals as she waited for the ting!

the one thing that killed me was when she made pasta. i was writing a pasta book at the time. but she's extoling her technique. she put the raw pasta in a tiny pot, so small the raw stuff barely fit. then she poured boiling water from the kettle on it, and only then put it on the stove. cooked it for about an hour until it was so gluey i thought that they'll never need to kill another horse for glue. then she tried to drain it . then opened a jar of gloppy gluey supposedly carbonara stuff, and a cardboard container of cheese to shake on.

once i couldn't bear it, and wanted her to have a nicer meal, so i had the gall to suggest that she use a larger pot and put the pasta into boiling water instead of vise versa. she said : you have your way, i have mine thank you very much.

its not that i wanted to impose my way of doing things over hers. nor was she jealous and wanted to eat my food. she adamantly did not cause i offered her, invited her to our dinner parties (she would come but eat her own food).

i still feel queasy when the image of her pasta comes up in my minds eye. so stubborn and determined to make the most disgusting pot of pasta on this planet. and as i said, if she wasn't eating ready meals, this is what she was eating.

Edited by marlena spieler (log)

Marlena the spieler

www.marlenaspieler.com

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In my first college dorm, I shared a kitchen/living area with my roommate and three other folks. Two of them were guys who cooked a lot of Asian/Thai food. Complete with HEAVY use of fish sauce. Fish sauce, fish sauce, fish sauce. All through the suite, it would saturate into every room no matter how much you tried to air it out.

They also would eat my roommate's and my ice cream. :hmmm: One night we got so pissed about it we took out a carton we knew they'd been raiding, softened it up a bit, and...dressed it up a bit with some spices. A LOT of spices :biggrin: Stuck it back in the freezer and laid low.

They never touched our ice cream again.

In my second dorm, we only had one kitchen for about 12-15 folks...it got pretty messy because most folks were such slobs, they'd leave their dirty dishes in the sink for days/weeks until someone else got fed up and cleaned them. It was a 2-part sink and one part was ALWAYS loaded up with dishes and couldn't be used.

One night I just got so sick of it--and cleaning up after other people's messes so I could cook--that I started taking a big trash bag and putting any dirty dishes left more than a day or so in the bag. I wouldn't throw 'em out, but I'd just leave it sitting there in the corner of the kitchen. Eventually people started to get the message not to leave their crap sitting out like that.

I was SO glad to finally move into my own place and have a kitchen all to myself!

sockii

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