The stank about garlic

By Dan Wilson - Contributing columnist

Its amazing how our palate changes with age. Although we never knew what certain spices our homemakers used in cooking and preparing meals when when we were young, if you were to break out those secret ingredients into individual tastes and aromas we would often run for cover. Garlic is one of those spices. Hated whenwe were young but a must when cooking as adults, especially sautéed with onions and extra virgin olive oil and your off to the cooking races. <3

Garlic never was something you ever wanted to be around when you were a kid — it was like that feeling in your gut when Mom would ask you to chopped the onions for dinner … how convenient it was to remember you had homework to do! Peeling onions and slicing garlic left you with a smell that lasted all night and most of the next day. Forget about getting close to anybody or anything, even the dog didn’t want to be around you. 🙁

But God forbid you make any Italian meal like lasagna or spaghetti without those ingredients and you might as well be eating raw pasta … which wasn’t past my brother Dale to do and would always be good for a 50 cent bet with my brother Dave. By the way — getting Dale to eat raw garlic was always good for a buck. (And I still can’t figure out why my 10 siblings love me so much.) 😐

Garlic initially was shunned by the English and American cultures because of the pungent odor. European Immigrants in the 18th and 19th centuries brought some cultivars to their new home land growing them successfully. American palates warmed to the marvelous flavor of the ancient vegetable and hence the success of Skyline Chili. 😉

I have had the pleasure of doing several stories on the t.v. show regarding growing garlic in Ohio and I am amazed by the hard work and time required to grow and harvest this product. The traditional planting date for garlic in Ohio is between March and April. There are many varieties of garlic but only two sub-species – softnecks and hardnecks. Hardnecks grow well in Ohio. They are favored by chefs for having exceptional flavor and large easy to peel cloves. 😀

The U.S. is the sixth top producer of garlic, with much of its supply coming out of Gilroy, California, the self-proclaimed garlic capital of the world. Gilroy also lays claim to holding the granddaddy of all American garlic festivals on the final weekend of July. However Ohio isn’t far behind and if its a festival you want nobody does it better then the Buckeye State. And every August the North Union Farmers Market at historic Shaker Square is home of the annual Cleveland Garlic Festival. The festival brings the most delicious garlic laden food in the world including Garlic Fries, Garlic Ice Cream and much more. 🙂

The health benefits of garlic have long been talked about and proven medically. Garlic is a powerful anti-biotic, anti-fungal, and anti-oxidant. Garlic naturally builds the immune system. Garlic is widely used for several conditions linked to the blood system and heart, including atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), high cholesterol, heart attack, coronary heart disease and hypertension. (And it has been known but not proven to keep vampires away when worn as a necklace of cloves … and worth at least another dollar on the brother abuse betting pool). 😮

So for cooking, health benefits and sibling abuse nothing beats garlic.

Here’s seeing you, in Ohio Country!

By Dan Wilson

Contributing columnist

The writer is an award-winning veteran broadcaster for more than 30 years.

The writer is an award-winning veteran broadcaster for more than 30 years.