Anthony Bourdain on garlic

I was very sad to hear of Anthony Bourdain's passing. This post isn't going to be about his suicide and everything that entails. Instead, I want to share a quote from one of his books that I think about almost every time I cook. About ten years ago, I was really into him because of his books. The stories he told in Kitchen Confidential and Medium Raw were fascinating and gave you a window into the world of professional kitchens.

In Kitchen Confidential, he said:
“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.”
Ever since I read that quote, I've only bought fresh garlic. I keep garlic powder and salt in the pantry for making dry spice blends and for baking, but you won't find the jarred stuff anywhere. Because I make a lot of Italian and Asian dishes, garlic is prolific in my cooking. Ever see a recipe that calls for fresh garlic? Maybe a clove or two? Double it. Seriously, it's such a great ingredient that adds a ton of flavor to whatever dish you put it in.

As far as being too lazy to peel fresh garlic, it is quite a pain because of the sticky oils that are in it. If you're only using a few cloves, just crush them with the flat part of your chef's knife so the skins detach easily. But if you're making a big batch of sauce, shake a bunch of unpeeled cloves between two bowls and the skins will come right off. You may have to do it a few times but it works like a charm. Here's a video to show you how awesome it is:
So if you want to do anything to honor the loss of Anothony Bourdain because of his premature death, throw away your jarred garlic and start buying fresh. Your meals and stomach will thank you.

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