food humorfood humor Eat, Drink and Really Be Merry
Garlic As A Second Language
by Marjorie Dorfman

Page 2

Garlic, known by its Latin name, Allium sativum, may very well be one of Mother Nature’s greatest gifts to man (and woman of course.) It is a powerful natural antibiotic. It reduces blood pressure in hypertension and is useful in lowering "bad cholesterol". One advantage to using garlic for its antibiotic properties is that it does not destroy the body’s natural intestinal bacteria. It is excellent for use in colds and infections. Garlic oil is often used to treat earaches and ear infections, especially for infants and children. During World War I, garlic was used as a field wound dressing and antiseptic. It has also been shown to be an effective treatment for fungal infections, such as Athlete’s Foot. The active ingredient in garlic, allicin, is destroyed when heated, and is only released from the clove when crushed or bruised. Thus, for most treatments garlic needs to be crushed or raw. (Stay away. This means you!)

garlic cloveGarlic has other uses as well. Peeled cloves placed in a room are said to ward off disease. The whole bulb is hung in new homes to dispel negativity and evil spirits. A clove placed under the pillow of sleeping children is said to protect them. Dreams of eating garlic means that you will uncover secrets. (Maybe now you will find out who the mother of your baby really is!) Garlic is mentioned in the Bible as being used by the Hebrews to increase and maintain virility. Early travelers across the Rocky Mountains inserted garlic into the nostrils of their horses and mules to prevent them from collapsing due to the lack of oxygen. Explorers in the mountains of South America chewed wild garlic to relieve altitude sickness. Native American tribes treated many ailments with wild garlic, although they were helpless against the forces of Manifest Destiny and the eventual demise of their garlicky birthright.

For culinary purposes, one rule of thumb to remember regarding the potency of garlic is: the smaller you cut it, the stronger the flavor. One raw clove finely minced or pressed releases more flavor than a dozen cooked whole cloves. Chopping finely and/or pressing a clove exposes more surfaces to the air, causing a chemical reaction that produces that strong aroma. When cloves are cooked or baked whole, the flavor mellows into a sweet, almost nutty flavor which makes a surprisingly nice addition to desserts, such as ice cream or brownies. Whole, unpierced cloves barely have any aroma at all, while raw garlic is the strongest in flavor. When sautéing, be very careful not to burn it. If you do, the flavor will turn intensely bitter and you’ll have to start all over.

And now the issue we have all been waiting for with bated (or at least somewhat bad) breath. Why does garlic smell the way it does? When cells are ruptured by cutting or pressing, they release an enzyme called allinaise chemically changing the inherent allin into allicin, a sulfur-containing molecule, which results in that pungent mainstay found in kitchens around the world. If you are a garlic lover, it’s wise to surround yourself with others who enjoy it as well, or try munching on parsley to rid yourself of garlic breath. (As far as I know, there is no cure for parsley breath!) It is said that to rid your hands of the smell after peeling or chopping garlic simply wash your hands and then rub them on a chrome faucet. (I don’t know. That’s what they say.)
There are many different types of garlic (Allium). Although only the cultivated variety is utilized medicinally, all of the other species have similar properties in a greater or lesser degree. The Crow Garlic is widely distributed and fairly common, but the bulbs are very small and the labor of digging them out great. It is frequently found in pastures and affects the taste of milk when eaten by cows. Ranson Garlic grows in the woods and has a very acrid taste and smell. It also has small bulbs, which renders it impractical. It is, however, quite a beautiful plant with broad leaves that resemble Lily-of-the-Valley and star-like flowers that are a dazzling white. The Field Garlic is rather a rare plant. Both this and the Crow Garlic are often used as potherbs or for flavoring. There are some species of Allium grown in the garden, whose flowers are even sweet smelling, but they are exceptions and even these have the garlic scent in their leaves and roots.

All in all, I’d say garlic was a pretty good deal. I even like the smell and am considering marketing it as perfume. (I had the same idea about manure for horse lovers. That didn’t work but…) In his own way, Bela Lugosi lives within the soul of every dish prepared with garlic; not as a vampire, but rather as a dinner guest who avoids daylight and mirrors and knows a good meal when he sees one. If you run into him among the misty ghosts of Hollywood celluloid, say hello, for I am a fan. But just in case, try some of the Vampire Away Garlic Dip provided by The Snack Food Association and included at the end of this article. It’s chilling and frighteningly good with ridged or regular potato chips to all who dare to eat it. Put in a few extra cloves for good measure. After all, you just never know whom you might run into within the Hollywood of your mind.

garlic dipVampire-Away Garlic Dip
1/2 cup skim milk
1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
2 small garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon onion salt

Go to the nearest cemetery after midnight on a chilly night in October. Blend all the ingredients in the blender until smooth. Then wait and see what happens. If nothing does, go home and enjoy your dip because it worked!

Did you know . . .

There's no coffee roasted liike Peet's!

Peet's Coffee & Tea

At our house, we live on it.

Don't miss this excellent book:

The Stinking Cookbook

by Jerry Dal Bozzo

The Stinking Cookbook

An unusual cookbook which features illustrations and zany references to garlic cookery. Garlic lovers, take note: here is a celebration of garlic and garlic cuisine made famous by San Francisco's most unique dining experience, The Stinking Rose.

food humor"Our lives are not in the lap of the gods, but in the lap of our cooks."
Lin Yutang
The Importance of Living, 1937

"Talk of Joy: there may be things better than beef stew and baked potatoes and home-made bread
. . . there may be."

David Grayson
Adventures in Contentment, 1907

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