Attack of the Garlic Eaters

You’ve been to farmer’s markets or fairs where vendors hand out free food samples. Spreads, dips, jam, little chunks of cheese — don’t know about you, but I always feel like a mooch taking this stuff when I have no intention of buying anything. But that doesn’t stop me.

People will eat almost anything put out as samples. If you don’t believe me head to Saugerties for the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival this weekend, where the growers offer up plates of raw garlic, and the crowds gobble it down like candy corn.

Fresh garlic is clearly better than the stuff you find in bulk at your supermarket, but it takes a real connoisseur to tell the difference between the Russian Red and Italian Rocambole. Whatever, just give me a slice of that. While you eat your garlic, the vendors explain about this one’s nutty finish and that one’s flowery explosion on your palate. I stand there and nod my head. Mmmmmm… garlicky.

But scarfing down raw garlic is not the oddest thing you may do at the festival.

I happened on a long line of folks throwing back shots from tiny paper cups. What could attract such a crowd? Vinegar. They were drinking vinegar. Yes, garlic infused vinegar, but vinegar. What the hell, it was free. I got in line with the rest of them and drank my vinegar. All I needed then was a shot of oil and I would have been completely marinated. Bottoms up.

4 thoughts on “Attack of the Garlic Eaters

  1. My kitchen is always well-stocked with garlic. One of our favorite dishes is Some thoughts on garlic…

    One of our favorite dishes (one of my faves to prepare, also) is “Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic.” The garlic just melts into the creamy sauce.

    When I make broccoli, I rub the bowl with garlic and then leave it there. Then I add the steamed broccoli, toss with extra-virgin olive oil and vinegar, and serve. My mother always told me to remove the garlic before storing the leftovers, but my boyfriend wants the extra garlic flavor. His brother eats the slightly pickled garlic.

    I have always used a SUSI garlic press. I don’t know why they work better, but they do.

    Holding a stainless steel object (such as the SUSI garlic press) under running water will eliminate garlic odors from your fingers. So will coffee grounds. Eating a coffee bean will counteract garlic breath.

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