Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Essence of Garlic

Want your house to smell like an Italian restaurant? Or a Mexican casa? Or the narrow streets of Chinatown? How about an Irish pub or Middle Eastern market? Here’s what you do: take a pan and set it atop a hot flame, pour some extra virgin olive oil into it, then take a bulb of garlic and bust out a clove.
Okay, maybe bust out ten cloves, then remove the skin (here‘s an easy way to remove the skin from a clove of garlic), chop, slice, dice, or just toss in the whole clove, and wait. In a few minutes your house will fill with the unmistakable aroma of garlic sautéing, and then, if your salivary glands are functioning properly, your mouth will water and then your brain will send a signal down to that mouth and instruct it to utter:

“Mmmmm, that smell! Whatcha cookin’?”

Garlic, a member of the onion family, has been around for thousands of years. It is a basic component in many dishes in just about every country on the planet. Being a lover of Italian cuisine (have you tried my mom‘s lasagna?), I am conditioned to carry gum or mints with me whenever I dine out due to the pungent aftertaste of garlic in most Italian cooking. Yes, garlic has a strong taste, smell, attitude. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, garlic’s sometimes overwhelming “attitude” is what makes is such a standout addition to not just Italian cooking, but as I mention earlier, just about all cooking. From spicy Mexican meals to stir-fry Asian fare, garlic mingles easily with tomatoes, ginger, onions, and my favorite, olive oil.

Still, some people shy away from this caustic clove, afraid that once ingested, or even touched, they will be forever labeled “Mr. Garlic Breath.” And while having a nickname that calls attention to foul smelling fumes emitting from your pie hole is not pleasant, it surely is not enough of a liability to keep you away from making garlic a part of your everyday dietary routine.

Here’s a video where I talk more about the benefits of garlic, as well as demonstrate an easy way to remove its skin:

The addition of garlic spices up marinara sauces, salsa, hummus, and hundreds of other dishes. It also has many health benefits and has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. Among the claims:

* helps prevent heart disease
* lowers cholesterol and high blood pressure
* fights cancer
* combats the common cold
* regulates blood sugar levels
* works as an antiseptic

While the health benefits of garlic are not all medically proven or approved, one claim I’m sure we can all agree with is:


(and that’s a good thing!)

The next time you’re grocery shopping, grab a few bulbs of garlic and chop away. Sure, your hands and breath and hair and shirt and house and backyard and entire neighborhood will reek from garlic, but you will also, no doubt, have cooked up a tasty dinner that will make those same neighbors' mouths water and their brains send signals to those salivating mouths, inspiring them to utter:

“Mmmmm, that smell! Whatcha cookin’?”


Until next time…




Unknown said...

To be honest - I hate that smell - it is rude, anti-socializing, simply disgusting and makes me want to puke - especially on a sunday morning, when you are just having a nice breakfast with coffee and fresh bread and marmelade...
or when you have to use the elevator in the morning and some unwashed dirty people have left an immense smelly cloud of old garlic evaporating through the skin...

Faisal Admar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Faisal Admar said...

Watch the video and read your post. Yes garlic is good. It has lots of usage and it taste good.

We in Malaysia use it a lot in cooking especially the traditional cooking. The smell when you fry it is just wonderful.

Agree with you that we will need mint or gum after eating it :) Especially to those hot kissers! :P

Daisy said...

I am Not Allowed to eat garlic. But my Mommie sometimes makes roasted garlic. It turns soft and kind of sweet and you can use it to spread on fresh bread!

Anonymous said...

I love garlic.. it gives taste for the food, rather than it make it more healthy!

Anna said...

Did you know that coffee beans will cut the breath problem? When my husband and I went to an authentic Italian restaurant that served their dishes with LOTS of garlic, we followed it up with chocolate covered coffee more garlic breath! So, forget that mint and pop a coffee bean!

Sandee said...

I love the smell of garlic. I love garlic. I can overdose on garlic. Hubby and I eat lots of garlic. Now I'm hungry for some garlic bread. Have a great day. :)

Anonymous said...

nice garlic.. i`m love it...

Anonymous said...

It has taken me years to get my husband Craig to enjoy garlic -
But better late than never!

AnaMar said...

LOL I love the smell of garlic. And I love it more when I'm cooking and the hole kitchen smell garlic delicious. I cook most of my meals with garlic.

Nice Post...funny

Raquel said...

great info about the garlic. btw, i can't cook without adding a garlic to the menu. well, it's obvious I'm an Asian. [wink]

Anonymous said...

i love garlic rice, garlic bread, and a lot more. true, garlic keeps vampires away, hihihi.

Anonymous said...
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Martin MY said...

just confirms everything I susupected about this god given herb. Good call!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE garlic! And I swear by it when any of us gets a cold or the flu. I make chicken soup with heavy doses of garlic and onion - knock the illness right out of our systems.

However, I have to disagree about the garlic and vampires. Depends on which vamp mythology you're going by. :-)

Anonymous said...

I also love the smell of garlics. Just didn't want to taste it. :)

Anonymous said...

I was really surprised about how much I like roasted garlic to spread on bread. In general I like garlic a lot but remember one time I really overdid it and my stomach was very upset with me.

Anonymous said...

Being Italian-American, you can probably guess my opinion of garlic! I know it can be unpleasant on one's breath, but, man, I love it. Linguine with garlic and olive there anything better?


Anonymous said...

Vampires really hate the smell of garlic. Many vampires here. Hahaha!

Unknown said...

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Sorry to hear you are still hurting. Hope you feel better soon!

Dori said...

Loved the video!

Anonymous said...

I think its funny how the subject of garlic gets everyone worked up. The ratio of people who like it to those who don't is a pretty even split here. There aren't many people who are just indifferent to it.

Personally, I love it in everything.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike. We hope that you are healing up nicely!

Mmmmm.... Here in our house, we do not know how to cook without garlic!

Unknown said...

petra: tell us what you really think, huh?

faisal: a paradoxical aroma

daisy: wonderful way to enjoy garlic...sorry you can't join the garlic fun, daisy

hisham: good to eat and good for ya

anna: will have to try the coffee beans...will green tea work?

sandee: a garlic lover after my own garlic lovin heart

mancai: love it!

dawn: finally wore him down, huh?

ariverbiz: it can get addictive...

raquel: very big with asian cuisine

betchai: garlic rice sounds great

martin: is it a herb?

autism insights: i just hope neither of us have to find out if it doesn't keep the vampires away...yikes!

online: just smelling it is okay, but ya don't know what you're missing

vintagegent: too much of a good thing, even garlic, and the stomach starts to scream

joseph: is there anything better than any pasta with lots of garlic? A: no!

rebounder: keep those bloodsuckers away!

on the verge: getting better...need to practice patience

dori: glad you enjoyed it

nukeit: yes, a love/hate kind of food...

Thanks for all the great shoulder hurts...8'(-



Anonymous said...

I don't particularly enjoy the smell of garlic but with asian cooking, we use it in all our dishes!!

ImitationAngel said...

I LOVE garlic. I actually eat a lot of it. Never knew about the coffee bean curing the breath (thanks Anna) though.

Mike I hope you're letting that shoulder get some real rest. Feel better soon :)

Susan Cook said...

I love garlic in some dishes. And I love garlic bread does that count? My kids even like garlic bread. I don't like how the smell gets on your hands though. I takes forever to go away - lol.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Hope your feeling better soon.

Monica said...

Hi Mike, I hope you are feeling better now. Rest well and take care..
ooh I love garlic too ;-)

Anonymous said...

I love the smell and taste of garlic. Oh well Petra to each their own.

I'm really glad that it has some health benefits too. We try to use it in every meal

ktales said...


Sorry to hear about the shoulder surgery and thanks for stopping by 30grams. Hopefully recovery will be speedy.

best of luck

Lux said...

Thanks for coming to visit me, Mike. My mom uses garlic in just about everything she cooks, along with onion. But she just read that garlic is not safe for kitties. Lucky thing I've never eaten any!

Unknown said...

I love, love, love garlic! And put way more than my family cares for in anything I can!

I had never been to your site before today! Very cool! And I love that Coldplay song! Just downloaded it to my MP3 player yesterday.

Unknown said...

evelyn: garlic, so misunderstood...but tasty

imitationangel: thanks, I am resting my shoulder, in between lots of therapy, as much as i can

sue: garlic bread is delicious, and it does count

monica: i will work on resting more and dreaming of garlic

catherine: seems like those who love it LOVE IT, and those that don't...oh well

ktales: speedy it is not, but better than no recovery...thanks

lux: sorry, I agree, you kitties gotta stay away from garlic, just like we humans need to keep out of the catnip

amh615: glad you like garlic and livelife365...and I am flattered that you downloaded my coldplay cover...




Anonymous said...

I LOVE it! Bring on the garlic! Hope you continue towards a full recovery!
Happy Thanksgiving! :)

Anna said...

Mike, about green tea combating garlic breath...not that I'm aware of, though it would be great if it did! :)

Anonymous said...

Good one. One of the most common ailments garlic has is to treat cold. Garlic has many benefits in treating heart diseases. It also has the ability to control our blood pressure by thinning our blood. garlic provides insignificant amount of nutrients.Garlic can be used to treat high cholestrol, parasites, respiratory problems, poor digestion, and low energy.

Garlic Mantra