25 January 2008

Now that's home cooking

This morning, I thought that M- had created something unholy in her diaper, as she is wont to do. It was something I hadn't smelled before, though, so I was confused, since we hadn't fed her anything unusual the previous day. And the random things she eats off the floor (we're not the best housekeepers) don't usually add up to enough to affect herrrrrrrrr... output. By the way, yes, we do try to stop her from eating off the floor. Except of course when I've put pieces of cereal on the floor in a trail leading her wherever it is I need her to go.

But I digress...

Anyway, upon further review, the smell did not seem to be emanating from the baby's direction. Rather, it seemed to be emanating from the walls, floors, appliances, and my eye sockets.

I had faint, unbidden recollections of the dog food factory we used to live near, which I do understand does not sound all that unpleasant to anyone who has never lived near a dog food factory. Just trust me on this one when I tell you I was quickly looking to find the source of the smell and smother the life out of it.

It slowly dawned on me that it really was seeping through the floor and walls, and pouring in from under the front door, as our downstairs neighbors were "cooking" again. Generally, we are treated to (literally) stomach-turning waves of powerful East Asian spices, which is at least understandable compared to this smell, though in the past the smells have been so powerful we have literally been driven out of our home for an evening or longer. In answer to the inevitable "what on Earth are they cooking?" question, we have received such items as Styrofoam coolers labeled "Frozen Whole Cooked Octopus" amongst their voluminous garbage piled on our shared porch, as well as right next to our THREE ENORMOUS GARBAGE CANS. Sorry about that... sounds like this might be a few separate posts.

Anyway, this smelled nothing like food, and I cannot imagine what it was. But the weirdest part was that this was the morning, so either it was a very elaborate breakfast/brunch (no waffles and cereal for them!), or just the awful-est phase of an even more intricate dinner, because the smell faded by mid-afternoon. The world will never know what it was, of course, because we almost never even see our neighbors, much less speak with them. On a side note, all interactions we have had with the one representative we do see have been appropriately polite and friendly thus far.

Screamingly loud, predictably off-key karaoke sessions at all hours don't count as "interactions", right?

4 comments:

Karen said...

I have new neighbors that manage to stink up my hallway with their cooking stench. Whenever I have guests I rush them inside so as not to contaminate my air with the pollutants in the hallway, usually as they are asking me what the smell is. My hypothesis, they are making putrid fish stew as follows:
Put fish in pot with warm water.
Put pot on stove.
Leave at room temperature until bacterial count exceeds 1,000,000,000 bacterial cells per ml of water.
Turn burner on low and simmer 5 hours and enjoy.

Perhaps our neighbors are either related or have the same cookbook. I now consider myself lucky that at least it only invades my hallway and not my actual apartment! At least they are really nice. I can't wait until it is warm enough to prop the building door open again!

LiteralDan said...

lol That's a great recipe-- sounds similar to the putrid octopus chowder my neighbors like.

Our neighbors definitely sound related-- I wonder if they're all nice because they know their food stinks, or if they're just passive aggressive and boil garbage on purpose whenever they go out to eat.

I get the open door treatment year-round (thankfully not every day) because in the winter, the heat has to run at full steam just to keep us from freezing to death up on the third floor, so everyone downstairs has to open doors and windows occasionally to bleed some heat out.

Not sure why the landlord doesn't just invest in some better weatherproofing up here, but oh well.

Karen said...

Hmmm, I bet boiled garbage is in that cookbook, they probably have a network. Pretty sure my neighbors have experimented with the putrid octopus chowder as well. Since moving to Iowa from Chicago I have discovered the magic of plastic to keep the windows from sucking all the heat out of my apartment, I have been so tempted to plastic their door in attempt to keep their stench in their unit... Come on, why can't they climb out their living room window, we are on the ground floor?! It would totally help keep their 2 year old contained, he has discovered the art of opening doors and escaped this summer (I helped catch the little bugger, that'll teach his poor dad for turning his back). Thankfully they either trained him or it is too cold for him to want to go joy toddling. Course if I were living in that apartment I would want to run away too, if it smells that bad in the hallway I don't even want to imagine what it smells like inside!!!!!

LiteralDan said...

They should hook the chain on the door-- there's no way he could reach that to get out.

"Joy toddling" is my new favorite phrase lol