At the moment, I am not cooking anything so if our kitchen smells of anything, it is of the pot of orange-flavored tea that I just brewed. But when I am cooking something I hate to turn the fan on; I want the cooking smells throughout the house. It means that life is being lived in here. People are moving in and out and wanting their dinners.
The house that I grew up in was as sterile as any layout you see in Architectural Digest. The furniture in the living room was just so with all of the silk embroidery pointing in the same direction. The knicknacks were dusted and shiny and nobody went into that room even during a party. It was a way to get to another room, rather like a hallway that took up a quarter of the ground floor. A smaller percentage of the ground floor was taken up by the formal dining room, which was even more infrequently used, there being quicker paths to the kitchen. The rooms that we used were grouped around these empty spaces, like satellites.
All doors to the kitchen were kept firmly shut when cooking was happening. Can’t be messing up the beauty of the house by the scent of cooking and the traces that there might be of people who lived there. Nope, just can’t have it.