I have a fair few housemate stories that are both shocking and sometimes scary. But the one that sticks in my mind is set in the kitchen. Having stories about loud, rude and/or messy housemates in shared accommodation is common. However, in my case, every afternoon, a gut-wrenching smell would fill our kitchen. Sometimes the smell would flow into the hallway and when especially strong, it entered our rooms. It got to the point where guests were commenting on it, and I always tried to cook my food in a friend’s kitchen instead of my own.
It took a month to discover the culprit. A pan! Hidden in the cupboard under the sink behind all the pipes, stashed away. It was covered in grease, mould, and something unidentifiable... It was sickening.
I soon discovered the housemate who it belonged to. However, when I asked them about it, they lied about being the owner. Oil and butter are used in cooking for a reason, especially when frying items on the hob... This housemate refused to use either in their cooking. Yet, they would attempt omelettes, pancakes, cook bacon and more. It got to the point where some of us would try to offer advice in order to stop the egg smell that occurred whenever they cooked in the kitchen. However, they never listened...
One time I even had to point out that they could not use the pan to make an omelette as there were still elements of last night's charcoal chicken stuck to it. Still did not listen.
What was worse, if they could not clean the pan, it was thrown on the side and not thrown away for weeks. I am sure we could have pretty soon seen a unique version of penicillin growing in our kitchen.
I eventually learnt that sometimes no matter how hard you try, some people choose not to listen. You have to just let them do it. However, that does not mean you are required to continue to bathe in the smell!
My top tips for avoiding awful kitchen smells; open the windows whilst their cooking and leave them open for at least two hours after they finish. Keep your door shut and avoid the kitchen whilst they cook. Finally, Febreze is your new best friend. It is not ideal, but it works.
If you are a university alumni/student you can probably relate to this story. If you are an up-and-coming student, heads up, the kitchen is the location of the most housemate conflicts. But hey, do not let these stories stop you from shared housing. It is truly a life-changing and fun experience that I recommend all to do for at least a year. Two people I shared with first year, I still live with today. Just bear with your housemates' weird cooking habits. And remember, you do not have to live with your first-year housemates a second time...