I ate most of my meals last week in restaurants, so when I had Friday night free I decided to stay home and cook. I had my heart set on a steak seared in my cast-iron skillet with tater tots on the side. (Hey, they're sort of like hash browns.) I turned up the oven and got the skillet ready, and turned on the air conditioners in both the living room and the bedroom. When I got the steak in the pan, it wasn't more than a minute before my entire living room filled with smoke and grease from the oil. I flipped the steak after a few minutes and threw the skillet in the oven, but that just made the smoke pour out of the oven instead. I cracked my apartment door to vent with the outside air, which helped a little. That's when the smoke detector in the hallway went off. I ran back into my apartment and grabbed a magazine to fan it. It stopped shrieking after about 30 seconds but not before my neighbor poked her head out her door to see wha was going on. She complimented me on the smell coming from my apartment. The dog in the next apartment over from hers kept barking so I'm not sure if he liked the steak aroma too or didn't like the noise. By now the steak was done and the tater tots were close, so I turned the oven down and put the steak on a plate to cool. My apartment was still filled with smoke. I had the brilliant idea that if I opened the doors to the outside and opened my door with the windows open I would circulate the air. Opening my door set off the hallway smoke detector again. After another attempt to silence it with the magazine, I gave up on clearing the air that way and went inside to eat. The steak was perfectly medium and delicious.
When I finished eating I cleaned up the stove, sprayed some air freshener and spritzed my couch with Febreeze. The smell wasn't so bad after the cleanup but it was still there. Also, I'd realized that my own smoke detector hadn't gone off while I was cooking, so I got up on my stepladder to check it. As I suspected, it didn't have a battery. Luckily for me, I had a spare 9V battery that I installed so next time I cook I'll hear all about it. Just before I fell asleep I remembered that my mother lights scented candles to clear the smell of potato latkes from the house. I should have tried that long before bedtime. I could still smell cooked meat when I went to bed.
The apartment still smelled this morning but it wasn't as strong as I'd feared. I tink it will fade in a day or two. The lesson I learned was that I shouldn't plan to do much frying in oil in that kitchen, unless I want to smell it for a week. Maybe I should take up baking instead.