Whether we have onions and garlic sautéing on the stove, or a pot roast braising in the oven, most visitors to the CHOW test kitchen remark, “Hmmm, that smells good.” And it does, until about 6:30 p.m. when I’m on a crowded bus or train. Then I become that smelly person no one wants to sit or stand next to. Sometimes fellow riders grimace sideways at me, and sometimes they slowly sidle away from me. This is my daily experience.

My own husband is known to occasionally say: “Ewww, what’s that smell?” That would be me. I smell, thanks honey. I spend twice as much time and money on laundry as I should, just to wash the stench out of whatever clothes have been to the kitchen with me—never mind if they’re actually dirty or not.

I’ve been told there are worse things than food to smell like. And in some cases it’s true: I can say a solid day of baking cookies or cakes leaves a much sweeter-smelling laundry pile.

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