“Garlic: A faithful friend for almost any type of seasoning. Use with discretion.”

James A. Beard

“Garlics, tho’ used by the French. are better adapted to the uses of medicine than cookery.”
Amelia Simmons. ‘American Cookery’ (1796)

“There are five elements: earth, air, fire, water and garlic.”

Louis Diat


Garlic that stinky rose with the culinary roots, this is due to the strong odor.

Many food historians have confirmed that garlic is one of the oldest foods known to the human race, and that it belongs to the onion family. Garlic from ancient times was believed to have magical properties and was used in medicine.  Apicius and his ancient Roman cousins did not like garlic, because of its taste, among other reasons. Apicius only mentions it twice. Stating “you must use only small quantities, so it would not be noticed.”

Tilly: If it weren’t noticed, it wouldn’t keep Dracula away … or evil spirits and demons.

Anyway: “Garlic is the catsup of intellectuals.” Unknown

How about this Apicius recipe. Tilly?





Tilly: Love the flavours … Not sure if the crumb mix is meant to be restuffed in the loaf – I’d probably bake it and use the final mix as a dip for the hot bread.

“Yeah, sex is cool but have you ever had garlic bread” DMX

Take a crusty French stick or sourdough stick, halve it lengthways or make diagonal slashes every inch or so along the top. Crush as many cloves of garlic as you think necessary – then add more – and mix with butter. Spread along the cut surfaces and bake till crisp and hot, and dripping. I often add grated lemon rind and chopped parsley.

So where did the medicinal side of garlic start? Well, blame those ancient Egyptians, they used garlic and onions. The pyramid builders went on strike when laborers of the pyramids had their garlic ration was reduced.  In fact it is a common find in Egyptian tombs, left behind as an offering.

Tilly: Garlic was a sacred plant in those days. Cheops even had effigies of garlic engraved inside his tomb!

When the Israelites left on their exodus, they longed for the garlic. (Numbers 11-5)

The Greeks regarded garlic and leeks as aphrodisiacs. And those Romans … were convinced it improved eyesight.

Tilly: Here are some more interesting benefits and fun facts about garlic:

Garlic used to be called Russian penicillin & given to soldiers in WW2 as medicine.

Garlic is one of the healthiest foods on earth.

Crushing or mincing garlic releases its full potential.

Garlic was one of the first herbs to be cultivated.

Garlic is a root vegetable, though it is most often referred to as a herb or spice.

Gilroy, California, nicknamed “The Garlic Capital of the World”, holds an annual Garlic Festival – nirvana for garlic heads.  Other garlic festivals are held worldwide. (Ever had garlic ice cream?)

Did you know that eating garlic or taking supplements can reduce your chances of catching a cold by 70%?

“To dream that you are eating garlic denotes that you will discover hidden secrets and meet with some domestic jar. To dream that there is garlic in the house is lucky.” Richard Folkard in ‘Plant Lore’ (1884)

In India, the Aryans despised garlic and it was forbidden on ceremonial occasions. Tilly, you won’t even find it mentioned in the Sanskrit literature until the Charaka Samhita (200 BC).

Tilly: Well, they’ve made up for it since then.

Fast forward to medieval Europe Charlemagne listed garlic in the Captiular de Villis. In chapter 70, listed garlic is listed as an essential to be planted in the gardens of the empire and claimed it was of Italian origin.

Garlic is considered a spice, but its history in the Mediterranean is old. Most Europeans had a desired for eastern exotic spices, but garlic was not one of them because

it was considered a peasant food.

Tilly: Yeay for the peasants!

In England, Tilly, during the Middle Ages, y’all fell in love with garlic and was used it in a lot of dishes.  On the other hand the French and Italians only used it in sauces.

Tilly: Maybe they were a bit slow on the uptake? 

“Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good.” Alice May Brock (of ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ fame)

late 19th century

“Garlic Soup. Serves 6

12 garlic cloves, peeled

salt and pepper

6 eggs

1/3 cup unsalted butter

2 cups croutons

2/3 cup parsley, finely chopped.

Put the garlic cloves into a pot and add 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil and cook unti the garlic is soft, about 15 minutes. Remove the garlic cloves and crush them to a smooth paste. Return this to the liquid, remove the pot from the heat and let it cool slightly. Melt all but 2 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet and saute the croutons, turning them constantly until they are evenly browned. Put them into a warmed soup tureen. Break the eggs into a mixing bowl. Add 1 cup of the garlic liquid, beating well to prevent curdling. Pour the egg mixture back into the pot, stirring constantly. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Pour the hot soup over the croutons. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve.”

—Monet’s Table: The Cooking Journals of Claude Monet, Clair Jones [Simon & Schuster:New York] 1989 (p. 113)

Tilly: Smacks of Chinese egg drop soup. And why on earth would anyone pour soup OVER croutons and make them soggy?

Tilly one last thing. Did you know that Garlic is banned at Buckingham Palace?

Tilly: Yes, I did. I gather Queen Elizabeth II was not a fan …

Just might explain why all the citizens living on that beautiful island of yours loves garlic. – Olive

Tilly: Not sure I understand your reasoning on this, Olive.

Could it be Tilly that the Queen is holding onto a royal secret?

Tilly: Probably more concerned with not serving food that guests don’t enjoy, Many are allergic to the sulphur in garlic and onions.

Recently, garlic consumption has gained particular attention due to its therapeutic properties against cancer, cardiac disease, blood pressure, diabetes, bone and skin diseases, and other pathologies, thanks to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and lipid-lowering effects. (

Whether you’re eating your garlic raw (add it raw to a warm meal to both dissipate the intensity and maximize medicinal impact), or cooking with it, you will reap more of its medicinal gifts if you wait 10 minutes before using it..

John Higgins, former chef who cooked for the Queen and Buckingham Palace kitchen chef, Darren McGrady confirmed the rumours:

“When [the Queen] was at the table, there was no garlic at all…

she was very Victorian and believed when she was brought up that you don’t eat garlic—because if you were holding an audience the next day,

you didn’t want to be breathing garlic. It was seen as antisocial.”

Tilly: The late Queen was always gracious, considerate and conscious of duty. But if the garlic cloves are boiled (skins on), then the pulp added to the dish, there is unlikely to be any residual smell on the breath.

There used to be a wonderful product called Pong-go, which killed any garlic breath. It has disappeared, though, which is great pity.

Chewing fresh parsley, including the stalks, will nail any lingering garlic breath, and has all sorts of health benefits in its own right.

Olive and Tilly


Ruth Chris Steak House is a restaurant in America, Tilly

Ruth Chris Steakhouse – Copycat Recipe: GARLIC MASHED POTATOES Serves 6-8: 7 cups peeled and cubed baking potatoes, 6 cloves garlic, peeled 1/2 cup low-fat milk, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated 2 tablespoons butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper – Place potatoes and garlic in a saucepan. Cover with water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer 20 minutes; drain. Place drained potatoes and garlic in a mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients; beat with mixer until smooth.

Then there is my son’s favorite. When making hamburgers just add 3-4 cloves of finely minced garlic… or do what I do, buy a jar of already minced garlic, use a fork and mix it into my son’s hamburger. Yes, Tilly I leave the rest of the burgers alone.

Tilly: Your son is my kind of cook! Though I hope he prefers fresh garlic to the ready-minced stuff. “Garlic is divine. Few food items can taste so many distinct ways, handled correctly. Misuse of garlic is a crime…Please, treat your garlic with respect…Avoid at all costs that vile spew you see rotting in oil in screwtop jars. Too lazy to peel fresh? You don’t deserve to eat garlic.” Anthony Bourdain (Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly)

And it is easy to peel garlic cloves – put them in a jar, screw on the lid and shake hard. The skin will fall off. I just grate the cloves – it’s quicker than mincing or chopping.

You could go for gold and try Chicken with 100 Cloves of Garlic – some ‘chicken’ out and only use 40 – but it is triffic. A bulb, halved across the waist, and roasted, is a delicious side for almost anything. Cauliflower Puttanesca, with plenty of garlic, is a win, too.

“No cook who has attained mastery over her craft ever apologizes for the presence of garlic in her productions.”

Ruth Gottfried, ‘The Questing Cook’ (1927)











    • Olive

      Thank you for your comment….Oh boy Tilly is going to love you… “the gift of the Goddess…. ” NO NO NO. Well my son and Tilly will love your opinion…

      • Sebestiana

        Tilly, Thanks for the response to my post on garlic. I get my absolute love of the herb/tasty onion from my Nona. She would always say “No no Sebestiana, the sugo needs more garlico” So, I would add more. She taught me how to make garlic toast. To this day I still make it the way she taught me. YUM, I could have that for breakfast everyday! I’m afraid that my coworkers would not appreciate the office kitchen smell of that. 😁

        • Tilly

          What a wonderful Nonna. I learned from lliving in other countries which used it more than was the case in the UK. Then I had an Italian boyfriend, whose mother ws a marvellous cook. Learned a lot from her. Chewing fresh parsley, including the stalks, helps with morning-after breath.

          • Sebestiana

            Thanks. Growing and learning about how to use them brings such great joy. Nothing beats home grown garlic and fresh herbs. Another good thing about it is that the deer don’t eat my herbs. I think they have poor culinary taste. 😆

  • Jerry Bell

    Ladies, you have hit on something dear to my heart and stomach. I have enjoyed garlic in many forms and have not found a bad way to eat it. I keep garlic around whenever I cook, and I suspect my kids will think a dish is bland if there is no garlic present. I have not tried the garlic soup, and I’m a big fan of soups, so that will be on the menu soon.
    Thank you ladies. I always love your blog.

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