Sunday, August 31, 2008

Bless the Garlic

I just booked Melissa Clark, a food writer for the New York Times, to talk about garlic on Friday, Sept 5. She wrote a very entertaining article about her family's love for garlic which was in every meal including breakfast and evening snack. Her father even tried to make garlic ice cream!

I love garlic as well, both as food and as a "weapon" to get rid of bad energy in my environment, an old Chinese belief. Taped to my computer monitor is a long dry garlic stalk given to me by a colleague. I'm positive that it has protected me from getting sick in the office where Joe had been coughing for weeks. My confidence about garlic comes from my childhood in China. During the flu season in spring, my mother would order me and my brother to eat a few raw garlic cloves soaked in rice vinegar before every dinner. Yuk!

But cooked garlic is yummy. In Hunan Province, you can find garlic cloves in every kitchen and in almost every dish: vegetable, meats, fish, etc. As my mother did, I always chop garlic cloves just before cooking to preserve their potency. One day last year I prepared a huge meal for a party and chopped a ton of garlic. The next day I could still smell garlic on my fingers. It struck me that I had become my mother because that's the exact same aroma that my mother's hands had smelled of when I was growing up. I knew she had done a lot of cooking for the family, but the garlic smell on my fingers finally made me truly realize how much she had cooked. Thanks, mom!

(This entry was originally posted on Blog without Borders on Aug 24, 2008.)

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