Dietribes: Garlic

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"¢Â "What garlic is to food, insanity is to art," so said Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Egyptians ate bread and garlic as a major part of their diets, and King Tut even had some in his tomb (probably not to ward off vampires). It may even be the origin of the word "Chicago" (from a stinky wild garlic/wild leek, chicagoua). While you may not be a physiggoomai yet (an Ancient Greek word that means excited by eating garlic), but you may be well on your way after discovering its many benefits.

"¢Â Most people might think of garlic has being "aromatic," to put it kindly, but it can actually be helpful in attacking organisms in the gut that produce methane. That's right, scientists in Wales tackling the impact flatulent cows and sheep have on global warming may have an answer - putting garlic in their food. Mootral, a garlic supplement, was even shortlisted by the Financial Times in 2009 for innovative solutions to climate change.

"¢Â Of course, garlic is not only beneficial to animals - it has been known to aid in the prevention of certain cancers, help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, combat a cold, although it does not (sadly) ward off mosquitoes.

"¢Â As to whether garlic wards off Vampires or not, we cannot know. However, those less glamourous bloodsuckers (leeches) have been found to be attracted to garlic.

"¢Â From the quasi-scientific to the downright wacky, a vampire community in South Florida (of course; and obviously they don't mind sun) does eat garlic.

"¢Â Unable to get to the Gilroy Garlic Festival? Don't sit around watching paint dry when you could be watching garlic grow!

"¢Â Some restaurants specialize in garlic, such as California's The Stinking Rose, or the Stockholm joint that serves what is (apparently) surprisingly delicious garlic ice cream.

"¢Â Not everyone loves garlic, of course - there's an active campaign to ban garlic from restaurants in Italy. Silvio Berlusconi, Italian media tycoon and Prime Minister, said that he was compiling a food guide recommending only restaurants that banned garlic. Carlo Rossella, a prominent television executive, announced a campaign to persuade Italian restaurants not to use "stinking garlic" in their dishes.

"¢Â I take garlic vitamins every day! It's pretty much a wonder-supplment, in my esteem. I've never been able to cook the cloves properly, although I do use garlic powder (along with onion powder) on everything I roast in the oven, including salmon. Delicious! What are some of your favorite (or least-favorite) ways to consume this miracle herb, Flossers? Any bad garlic-breath stories to share?

Hungry for more? Venture into the Dietribes archive.

"˜Dietribes' appears every other Wednesday. Food photos taken by Johanna Beyenbach. You might remember that name from our post about her colorful diet.

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March 10, 2010 - 7:12am
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