Reader’s Digest. The Cookery Year.
I expect my first taste of garlic in cooking would have been in garlic bread in the 1980s when I started to appreciate food more after leaving home and living with my actor friend Mike. Mike liked to cook and was older than me and I learnt a lot from him. It is unlikely that I would have been ‘brave’ enough to use garlic in my own cooking at that time in my life. Mike also introduced me to Indian restaurants where it is very likely that the bulb would have been used in their cooking. When I lived with my parents garlic was just something that was mentioned on the Cliff Mitchelmore Holiday tv programme or in the Dracula films. My Dad couldn’t stand the smell of curries or ‘foreign muck’ as he used to call it. There's a blog post all of its own. Hold that page. Actually, hold several pages!
As is well known, the French use garlic a lot in their cuisine, mainly in tomato based dishes and with shellfish, stews, soups and in herb butter. Of course there are also the well known dishes of chicken with forty cloves of garlic and the rich garlic soup, Tourin d’ail, from Gascony. They also enjoy garlic croutons, garlic gratin, garlic prawns, pistou and snails (escargots)with hot garlic , which I love.
Nowadays, I use it in my own stews from time to time and add half a dozen cloves into a roasting dish to enhance the flavour of the meat. You can also roast whole garlic heads and when mashed they taste creamy and mild, not at all overpowering. Occasionally I will anoint my stir fries with a crushed or finely chopped clove. When nobody else is around to smell my breath a clove eaten raw can taste great and it keeps away the vampires!
|knocking up a stir fry|
PS: Am I alone in this? I love the sound of the garlic being squeezed out of the garlic crusher and the feel in my hand of the pressure as it emerges through the holes.
PPS: Did you know that the Romans used to eat raw garlic before going into battle and they believed it gave them strength?