One question that I hear regularly is if there is a food shortage, how do you go about hiding cooking odors from others. Depending on where you live, this can be a serious problem. Food odors can carry for some distance and if people are hungry, it seems like their sense of smell is sharper. After some thought I have put together a list of ideas that may help with hiding cooking odors.
12 tips for hiding cooking odors
- Avoid strong smelling spicy foods. I like curry but you can smell it a mile away. If you want to use strong spices, add them just before serving.
- Cook inside with windows and doors closed, when possible
- Use a Wonder oven or other thermal cooker, the plastic box seems to contain odors to a large degree.
- Create other odors to mask your cooking smell. For example, start a good fire in a trash barrel near where you are cooking
- Prepare more than one days food at a time if possible, minimize the amount of time you spend cooking.
- Avoid burning with fuels that create lots of smoke (especially wood or charcoal), unless everyone else has fires going. If possible, use natural gas, propane, butane, alcohol, or white gas. If you have to burn wood and want to hide your fire consider using a Dakota hole.
- Avoid styles of cooking that create smoke & aromas. For example avoid frying, smoking, toasting, grilling, baking, roasting, etc. Boiling or simmering seems to create the least amount of odor.
- Adjust your cooking schedule to avoid times of gusting or steady wind. Be aware of wind direction and post exterior security at the limits of your perimeter during cooking times. They should alert you if smells or smoke are carrying drastically.
- Cooking in a thermos will minimize odors. Place food in thermos and add boiling water. Keep the thermos closed and allow the heat to cook it.
- Just remember the faster you can cook the less chance of attracting attention.
- Freeze dried or instant foods (rice, oatmeal, etc.) work well for hiding cooking odors. Just heat water and add to the foods, this creates little odor.
- If all else fails, eat your food cold.