Smell Like a Latke? Tips to Get Rid of That Smell You Know All Too Well

Rebecca Eckler November 30, 2018
Smell Like a Latke? Tips to Get Rid of That Smell You Know All Too Well

If you smell like a latke then it must be Chanukah!

There are a few things I’ve learned over the years when it comes to Chanukah. First, I really, really, really love latkes and always will. Second, I really, really love the smell of latkes.

Third, when I visit my parents’, or brother’s, or friend’s homes for Chanukah, I will never wear anything I really care about, and sometimes, I will even wear a hat inside. Why? Because that oh-so-yummy aroma of latkes, so appealing when it first hits you, isn’t so appealing when the stench of oil is coming out of your every pore after you either cook latkes or visit someone who has.

Everyone who has ever made latkes in their homes, or anyone who has been a guest in the home of a recent batch of newly made latkes, knows what I’m talking about. In fact, anyone who has walked out of a restaurant and has said, “Eww, I smell like the restaurant now!’ knows what I’m talking about.

I don’t like the smell of anything fried or food-related lingering on me, or my clothes, to the point that I carry around a scented body spritz at all times, just in case.

I also can’t stand when my hair smells like a greasy diner. (Don’t get me wrong. Greasy diners are the best! I just don’t like my hair smelling like one!)

If I’m a guest at a Chanukah party, I will most definitely wear an old coat, because even if your coat is in a closet, will still come out smelling of fried foods. It doesn’t matter how ventilated the house is, the oily odour of latkes will cling to clothes and hair for days after. This is also why, after most Chanukah gatherings, the first thing I want to do when I get home is take another shower.

Chanukah isn’t the most important holiday for us Jews, but we do celebrate it for eight days (which could potentially mean eight nights of Latkes!) Known as the festival of lights, Jewish cooks all over the world prepare foods fried in oil, including latkes and sometimes donuts. For many, the annual latke frying is a ritual is met with great anticipation.

tips for removing latke oil scent

Here are some tips for all of you latke-making moms to help curb that wonderful odour.

  • Ventilate before you begin. Open windows. Turn on fans.
  • Close all doors to nearby rooms, so the smell doesn’t seep into closets or bedrooms.
  • Clean up immediately (I know. Sigh!) But it’s important to clean all pots, counters and stove tops ASAP! (Feel free to eat latkes while doing so!)
  • Use sprays that will provide temporary relief from the fried scent.
  • Boil a pot of water and fill it with cinnamon. This helps masks the stench.
  • Burn a lot of candles. (Hey, we do light them for eight nights, so you should already have them!)
  • Heat your oven and place a piece of tin foil in it that has some vanilla extract on it.
  • Simmer some vinegar and water on the stovetop for a while.
  • Place shallow bowls filled with white vinegar throughout the house where you can still sniff out fried latkes.
  • Bake a pie, cookies or even brew a fresh pot of coffee. These new scents will hopefully out-scent the latke scent.

With these tips, we can now go back to more pressing Chanukah questions like, ‘Do you prefer apple sauce or sour cream with your latkes?’ And, ‘Do you like them crispy or soft?’ (Don’t even get me started on this one…let’s just say my mom needs to make two different batches in order to appease me and my father! Happy Chanukah everyone!)

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