Troutin’ About

Trout I fear we're going to have to abandon the house. Pack up our suitcases and just live in the car. Not because we're drowning in bills and mortgages, but because the place stinks to bloody high heaven.

I innocently pan-fried a trout fillet on Wednesday night and now you can barely breathe for the fish fug.

I scrubbed the pan clean. I took out the rubbish that contained the fish wrappings. I doused every room with air freshener and Febreeze whilst singing, Trout! Trout! Let it all out! But that just made it smell like fishy flowers. So we left the windows wide open all night long… yet the stench persisted, more evil than before.

I've been pseudo-vegetarian for a few years now – I usually reserve meat for when we dine out – so it's been yonks since I cooked fish. Have I forgotten some crucial information? Has fish always been this stinky? Is trout a particularly pungent specimen? Is it because I pan-fried it – would it have been less brutal had I given it a gentle grilling?

"Maybe the fish wasn't fresh," Gareth said as we lay awake and shivering in our oxygen masks last night.

"It was fresh! It was bloody tasty."

"Are you sure it wasn't bad? You haven't had the squits, have you?"

"THE SQUITS? I never want to hear you say that word again!"

"It's a great word! It's one of those words that sounds like its meaning."

"It's onomatopoeic."

"That's what I said."

When I left the house this morning the icy wind rattled through the hallway and I thought perhaps it was getting a little better. But I've just received a text from Gareth: I'm freezing here and it still smells like trout!

I was just trying to get in some Omega-3's, dammit. I'm sticking to sunflower seeds from now on.

41 thoughts on “Troutin’ About

  1. Our bedroom is directly above the kitchen, and every night when we retire we’re treated to a reprise of whatever we had for dinner. I’ve never had anything as bad as your trout though! Good luck.

  2. try baking soda in small dishes throughout your house? or there’s activated carbon that you can buy from pet shops that are supposed to absorb all the pet smells that come with our furry friends.

    love the blog!

  3. Do you have an outdoor grill? We make fish by wrapping it in aluminum foil, then cooking it outside on the grill. The smells will stay outside. Keep using Febreze!!

  4. You might try pouring some white vinegar in a bowl and leaving it on the counter for a little while. That usually helps me get rid of kitchen smells.

  5. vinegar and baking soda! i will have to give that a go, thanks!

    Sandy – sadly i’ve no back yard so grill but one day i’ll bbq some fish and it can be as stinky as it likes, hehe πŸ™‚

  6. Trout is one of the “smellier” fish… if you want something that doesn’t smell so bad, try orange roughy – it’s one of the few fish my husband will eat since it’s not very “fishy”.

  7. no! still a flat. just referring to our general place of dwelling πŸ™‚

    Pants. I was hoping everything had sorted itself out and you’d moved.

  8. my mom once burned banana bread (which you wouldn’t think would smell as bad a s it did) and couldn’t get the smell out until she washed the walls. Wiped them down with a sponge. It worked, as I remember. Couldn’t have been that fun, though.

  9. The wrapping in foil advice works in your regular oven too, no bbq needed. The best thing is that you can use the fish as is, just gutted and rinsed, with head and fins.

    Stuff the fish with salt and herbs of your choice. I’d suggest dill with some lemon. You can also add garlic and chopped fennel too, but I’d pre-cook them until soft first (just run it in the microwave a bit). Let the fish sit in the oven until you can barely loosen the bones from the flesh. Don’t overcook, it’s not tasty, and besides, it continues to cook while cooling off. When you unwrap the fish, the skin may stick to the foil and peel off, very convenient.

    I guess you can tell I love fish πŸ™‚

  10. This exact thing happened to me a few weeks ago. I had to wash an entire load of laundry over again because it happened to be (folded, but not put away) in a room near the kitchen and just absolutely reeked. I also pan-fried the fish, but I do that very frequently without managing to stink up everything in my house. I have no idea why it was so bad.

  11. Ewww, trout shouldn’t smell that bad…

    Anyhoo, I can sympathise entirely – somebody dropped a sardine in tomato sauce on our office carpet on Monday. The stain is currently fermenting nicely, especially with the central heating on max

  12. I wonder about burning lots of non-scented candles – ?

    cooking outside on a grill is a great idea for next time – even if you have to buy a small grill!

  13. Can I just say….

    With a smile on my face…

    And with no malice intended…


    Love cranky, the vegetarian!


  14. I made chicken stock the other day and our whole house reeked like chicken fat for days.
    One thing that sometimes works for getting rid of stinky fish smells is simmering a pan of water with some cinnamon sticks and cloves and such on the back of the stove – just make sure to keep and eye on it so it doesn’t boil down to nothing. And also, beware, it usually smells so good it makes me want to eat lots of cinnamony cakes and such:)

  15. I second the baking soda, vinegar, and cinnamon sticks advice – tried and true! Also the carbon, although that’s a bit more pricey so make it a last resort (although you can use it more than once).

  16. All I can tell you is that I was laughing so loudly, my husband came in from the other room. Sorry to have a laugh at your expense πŸ˜‰ Oh and good luck with that smell!

  17. Hi Shauna, love your book and blogs! Try cooking fish in a frypan shallow-filled with water, no oil necessary. Guaranteed not to stink out the house!

  18. Could it be that your not use to fish smell. My hubby is a vegie and if I cook fish, he knows as soon as walk in the door and complains about the smell for days after. However I cant smell the fish at all.

  19. I wondered what that funny smell blowing in from the north was. You couldn’t close your windows again could you? Thanks.

  20. @cranky – mwahhaha i was waiting for you to say that πŸ˜›

    @Diane – πŸ™‚ still got my fingers crossed that we can sort it all out soon. the icesave compensation is set to start later this month!

    thank you for your suggestions folks! this is better than the Home Hints page in the Women’s Weekly!

  21. HI DG

    When I went to uni and lived on campus, several ppl shared the same bathroom. We used matches to get rid of bathroom smells! Apparently it doesn’t “remove” the smell completely, but it goes mask it a bit. Might be something to think about while you’re busy trying to get rid of it – especially in your bedroom!

  22. Yuck! I hope you find a solution soon. I’ve cooked fish at home and had no troubles, but maybe your flat doesn’t have very good ventilation? We live in a drafty older house.

  23. To be honest i have no idea about cooking fish. Worked in a fish and chippie when i was a kid and haven’t been able to stand the smell since, so I emphathise!

    Just wanted to say wow though, because I only started doing a diet blog about 2 weeks ago and reading other people’s , and every single diet blogger out there seems to link to you- it’s just incredible! What an inspiration!

  24. You never fail to crck me up! Sorry about the fish smell though … I read a comment about vinegar, though, and while I think the vinegar might overpower the fish smell, I can’t help but wonder … Would you like the vinegar smell better?

  25. Hi Shauna,

    I get my laundry bags from various “Pound Shops” / cheap jack / market type shops or DIY / hardware stores.

    Hope you can find some!

    Best wishes,

  26. Thank you for the laugh today. I hope the fish smell is gone. SO glad this wasn’t a story about the squints. (that word just cracks. me. up.!)

  27. I always put one of those dryer sheets in or near my heat vent… then when the warm air blows through, it freshens the whole house.


  28. “Grilling outside” and “Scotland” rarely work together, alas πŸ˜›

    The smell seems to be okay now folks, thanks again for your suggestions! I also think cooking bacon on Saturday morning helped. Pig cancels fish! Kind of like an animal paper/rock/scissors πŸ˜›

  29. An old college roommate from Alaska taught me that the best way to get rid of fishy smells in the kitchen is to burn a tablespoon or so of ground cinnamon in the oven on a cookie sheet. Spread it out a bit on the sheet. In the US, I’d say turn the oven on 400 degrees. Keep the oven door ajar. Stay in the kitchen, and peak in the oven every minute or two. When the cinnamon turns dark brown (happens quickly), turn off the oven and remove the tray. (Turn off the oven too.) The fishy smell will be gone, and your kitchen will smell like cinnamon. This works no matter if you cooked the fish in the oven or on the stove top.

  30. Well, since your problem has long since resolved itself, I can tell you that cooking salmon probably stinks just as bad, if not worse (I’m not sure, since I’ve never cooked trout). So caveat carnivore!

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