In Defence Of Garlic

garlic It was recently brought to my attention by my housemate that we in the good old United Kingdom have a strange aversion to garlic.

Now, it’s not as if we don’t use it in food at all or anything like that. After all, the thought going through your head right now is probably something along the lines of "But we have garlic bread don’t we?" And obviously you are correct. There is such a thing as garlic bread. My point is rather that we don’t use garlic half as much or with half as much abandon as our European counterparts. They go crazy on the stuff. It’s like their legal version of crack or something. If you’re still going on about how you love garlic bread then I stop to ask you this: do you know what they call garlic bread on the continent? Bread. The garlic is merely coincidental and it’s presence really isn’t a big deal. I’m also reasonably confident that if you stood on the white cliffs of Dover and took a deep breath that you’d inhale more garlic than you’d be able to find in any kitchen for 200 miles behind you.

For those of you who are still unconvinced, try mentioning to some Brits that you’re about to eat a meal which contains garlic and see how long it takes for one of them to comment about the future state of your breath or the strong taste of garlic. My bet is about three seconds. Or maybe start cooking with a couple of witnesses and go to add a little bit more garlic than usual and watch their reactions. They’ll probably ask if you think they’re vampires.

Speaking of vampires, perhaps our proclivity to demonise garlic is what led to the belief that those sex-crazed blood suckers are allergic to garlic. Because really, when you think about it, it’s a gigantically stupid idea. My guess is that the early authors of vampire fiction chose something which they knew their readers wouldn’t have easy access to (a bit like silver bullets – who has a clip of 9mm sterling silver rounds lying about?) to make as the secret weapon to keep the undead away. That said, modern vampire stories have chosen to dump the whole garlic idea and exchange it for different qualities which works a lot better in my opinion. Though skin that sparkles? Really Stephanie Meyers? Really? I think that when she was writing Twilight, she confused the words ‘terrifying’ and ‘vampire’ for the words ’emotionless and quite frankly ridiculous’ and ‘fairy’. Though I suppose if she tried to sell her books by advertising them as "emotionless and quite frankly ridiculous fairy stories" she might not have been such a big hit.

But back to the main topic. In my house, we like to be quite liberal with our garlic. And our politics. And our attitude to wine. And the amount of gin which goes into our G&Ts. And our selection of films. And our studies. And… well you get the idea. One of my favourite snacks is a big back of garlic crackers (67p in Asda you penny conscious students) They’re cheaper, nicer and last longer than Pringles and they go very well with cheese.

People always say that after eating garlic it’s polite to eat a mint or something before you kiss someone. No wait, that’s a lie, I’ve never heard anybody say that but it’s the principle I want to talk about so bear with me here. I don’t see the problem with somebody kissing me after eating garlic. I mean for one thing, I’d have their tongue in my mouth which is always a win, and then I’d also have the lovely taste of garlic to add to the loveliness of the whole experience. However, if any of you nice readers think that you should wear garlic scented perfume to attract me then please refrain. There’s a line. You just crossed it.

I wish I was this cute when I was a kid.


One thought on “In Defence Of Garlic

  1. i LOVE garlic!

    to add to your thought, i have this… i’m not sure about the general american view on garlic. if i had to put a wager on it, i’d guess that we like it about as much as you Brits do, meaning, almost only in the form of garlic bread.

    before i lived in southern france, i know that i was indifferent to the stuff. a little is good, a lot is ok too. then, i lived in southern france where one of their regional specialties is, essentially, mashed garlic and mayonnaise (aioli). and now, i LOVE garlic and will almost always err on the side of more is better. (though, i did this to some pesto i was making and it seems that this is one case in which garlic should be kept proportionate to the rest of the ingredients.)

    in conclusion, i think you might be able to expand the garlic predicament to all “classic” anglophones. you might want to check with katie or elli to confirm the aussie take.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s