Monday, June 27, 2011

Garlicke Goodness.

When I was growing up, garlic was something awfully smelly that ‘Eyetalians’ ate. The British in the post-war years, and for some considerable time before that, were highly suspicious of garlic on the grounds that it was – well, just not British. I draw your attention to the quotation for the day as illustrative of this point. Today this attitude seems bizarre, given that all the well-informed and important people (Nigella, Delia, Jamie etc) have no fear of, or prejudice about this indispensible plant.

The strangest part about the whole strange situation is that hundreds of years ago garlic was used regularly, if not with gay abandon, in the British Isles. Then somewhere along the line, the very idea of it became far too foreign and therefore abhorrent – to be discovered again (by Mr and Mrs General Public) in the 1950’s in garlic bread. Perhaps I am being unduly harsh in my assessment of British tastes in this regard, but apart from garlic butter – which never really went away – I cant find much evidence of daily enthusiastic use of garlic for a very long time.

In the fifteenth century, according to the Book of Nurture, garlic was an important sauce for
‘Roost beeff & goos’, and here it is in a chicken dish in another manuscript of the same era (Harlein MS. 279)

Hennys in Gauncelye.Take Hennys, an roste hem; take Mylke an Garleke, an grynd it, an do it in a panne, an hewe þin hennys þer-on with ȝolkys of eyron, an coloure it with Safroun an Mylke, an serue forth.

Quotation for the Day

England and the English: As a rule they will refuse even to sample a foreign dish, they regards such things as garlic and olive oil with disgust, life is unliveable to them unless they have tea and puddings.
George Orwell.

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