Now I know what cumin smells like.

To take as much of the stress out of Turkey Day as possible, I’m making ahead the stuff that can be made ahead. To wit: the pumpkin cheesecake, the scalloped potatoes*, and the cranberry-pineapple salsa.

Said salsa called for 1/4 teaspoon cumin. I had to buy it special for this, never having used it before. Peeled back the foil safety seal, and “Uchhhhhhhhhh!”

“Hey, sweetie…Take a whiff of this.”

“AAAAAAHhhhh! Gads! What is that?”


“Augh! It smells…you know what it smells like? It smells exactly like a person who hasn’t bathed in about two weeks!”

:::Rilch sits back and waits for the “Ohhhhhhh…I thought you meant…” posts:::

*To be reheated. I really have no choice. I can only fit the turkey and the green bean casserole in our oven, and the stuffing, which will be baked at BIL’s, needs a different temperature. Said I to Mr. Rilch a few days ago, “I’m playing Tetris here.”

I’m guessing this is powdered cumin?

The powdered stuff isn’t anything as nice as the whole cumin seeds, which I would recommend you buy. Fresh cumin seeds should smell aromatic with a genlte pleasant spicy smell.

If you have trouble sourcing it, try an ethnic supermarket if there is one nearby. Cumin is used a lot in Indian food, so an Asian market would almost certainly stock the fresh stuff.

If it was fresh cumin seeds you were using, disregard the above. If there are no ethnic supermarkets near you, ditto. :slight_smile:

Heh. I’ve ALWAYS thought that cumin smells like unwashed human. Not one of my favorite spices on its own, but mixed in with other things (as it is in the case of Indian food), it can be quite nice.

I put it in chili, and I’ve never thought of it as smelling like that.


I was making macaroni and cheese out of the box once, and my then-GF suggested I add some cumin. I opened the little canister of cumin and it immediately slipped out of my hand and the entire thing went into the noodles. I didn’t say anything, but continued making the mac ‘n’ cheese.

Dinner was not a hit. Since then I have cumin issues.

I think it smells a little bit like sweet, sweet love.

They were seeds, but not fresh.

Cumin helps gives chili powder it’s distinctive smell. If you want to use the whole seeds, toast them first in a dry skillet over low to medium heat for a minute or two, until they begin to pop. They will become even more aromatic and flavorful this way. You can then use them as you wish, either as is, or crushed . To crush, lay them on a cutting board and using the cooled off skillet, press the bottom of the skillet onto the seeds until they begin to break up. You can also buzz them in an electric coffee grinder. Clean the grinder out thoroughly after doing this, you don’t want your morning cuppa’ joe to taste like dinner at your favorite Mexican or Indian restaurant. Many whole spices[mustard seed, peppercorns, allspice, cinnamon, mace, fenugreek, cardamon, etc.] can be ground in a coffee grinder, you may want to get one specifically for this purpose. Or whack them with a skillet, as above.

Thanks, quiltguy!

I like the smell of cumin; doesn’t smell like b.o. to me…

However, try smelling some white pepper sometime…if you’ve been around cattle, you’ll instantly recognize the aroma…:eek:

I like the smell of cumin, too.
Mexican food just isn’t Mexican without it.
I use a lot of white pepper, as well. Haven’t yet noticed a stockyard fragrance…don’t know that I’d like that!

Are you daft? Cumin is terrific and is one of the prime ingredients in Mexican and Indian cooking. I think maybe your smeller is whacked.

I agree with Rilch. Cumin smells like armpit.

I’m with ChefGuy. I put cumin in damn near everything. It is to mexican food what basil is to italian.

It does smell fairly different when it’s roasted and crushed, or when it’s fried in oil. I suppose there’s a certain sharpness about the unroasted seed that combines with the warm human-like parts of the scent.

You might wanna avoid asafoetida. A little amount well cooked gives a kind of browned onion flavour, the raw powder (or too much in the cooking pot) has a certain rank sweat quality.

I’ve definitely noticed the farmyard smell of white pepper. I don’t like white pepper that much.

Yeah, any spice with the words “ass” and “foetid” in it may be something to avoid. :stuck_out_tongue:

Oh… /kyu-men/. Right. Carry on then.

I’m sorry, I just keep misreading this thread title! :smiley:

From the OP:

Cumin smells like Mexican food. Mmmm, Mexican food…