Roasted Garlic and Rules for Dating

Q: I am single. May I eat garlic?

A: Indeed, you should eat garlic which is healthful and pleasing to the palate. But unless you want to remain single forever, you should follow Kitchsplosion’s three handy Garlic Rules of Dating®:

  1. Never consume raw garlic or large quantities of cooked garlic in the two days preceding a date with a person you potentially want to continue seeing. You may, in fact, want to forgo raw garlic and garlic-intense dishes altogether until you have successfully landed and trapped the mate of your dreams.
  2. On a date, both partners must consume the same quantity and concentration of garlic. If your date orders garlic bread, eat half of it. If you really want the garlic naan, make sure your date will consume his or her share.
  3. All preparations of garlic are not equal. Fresh, raw garlic is the most pungent, odiferous, and allegedly, healthful. Consume at your own risk. Sautéed or stir fried garlic is much safer for dating prospects. Roasted garlic, which is sweet and spreadable, can be quite mellow suitable and to singles.

An instructive story from my own experience:

As a teen, through some extraordinary luck, a boy with whom I was totally smitten came across the country to visit me for a whole week. Just in his hug hello, I could feel the glow of our new love, the physical attraction coupled with all those feelings we’d shared over months of long meaningful phone calls.

Before I could have him all to myself, though, we were to go out with my school friends. An hour later, still in delicious anticipation of time alone, I introduced him to my friends at a local pizza place. He ordered a garlic calzone with extra garlic. My friend Amy and I exchanged a look. Garlic?

We could smell his dinner long before it arrived. At first it carried that appealing smell of garlicky Italian food. Soon, however, the smell overpowered the whole table. “I love garlic,” he said, cutting into the half moon of dough, and releasing a fresh cloud of garlic fumes. The calzone appeared to be filled with about sixty cloves of minced garlic. I looked at his plate in wonder. Was he really going to eat that?

“Mmm,” he said, “this is best calzone I’ve ever had. Did you know that garlic is really healthy for you?”

I don’t know much about the chemistry of garlic digestion, but something happens between consuming it in say, a calzone, and its reemergence. My new boyfriend brushed his teeth, of course, but minty toothpaste didn’t even begin to mask the odor that seemed to emanate from his very being. Every time he leaned over to kiss me, moments I’d been dreaming about for months, I was overwhelmed by the sickening smell. I consoled myself that in a day or so, it had to wear off.

The next evening, my parents left us alone in the living room. He sat on the couch and motioned me over, but I kept a safe distance, plunking myself down on the floor as if I needed to adjust the stereo.  We listened to Enya and talked long into the night, while I tried desperately to rekindle my romantic feelings from afar. Of course he wondered why I was being so standoff-ish, but after the first night of brushing off his kisses, I couldn’t admit again, that  he smelled so garlicky I couldn’t stand to get within a three-foot radius.

It must have been the sheer volume of garlic he consumed that continued to seep through his pores and linger on his breath for his entire visit. Or perhaps he was continuing to sneak garlic while I wasn’t looking. He may have brought back the leftovers from that first dinner. Or, by the end of his visit maybe I was only having smell flashbacks.

For days I kept waiting for the fumes to abate so we could throw ourselves at each other as we’d imagined since the first phone call months before. The smell may have been ebbing over those days, but the horror of the olfactory assault had completely overwhelmed my attraction to him. He sensed the distance growing between us, demanded to know what went wrong, but I just couldn’t tell him that kissing him was like sticking my head in a dumpster. I held my breath, and tried to focus on my feelings for him, but the odor was a palpable repellant force.

He left puzzled by what could have possibly come between us. How could I explain to him, what I couldn’t imagine myself, that all my feelings for him had been fumigated right out of me? It felt completely shallow to let foul odor, especially one that is presumably temporary, overpower my heart. The visit, however, irreparably linked my soon to be ex-boyfriend to garlic stench.

The lasting effect lies dormant in my subconscious, even now. Every so often, a whiff of garlic breath can send me into a panicky flashback of the garlic offensive. I sometimes wonder if he did it on purpose, a stealthy preemptive strike, instead of breaking up with me.

Roasted Garlic

  1. Preheat your oven to 400˚ F.
  2. Begin with an entire head of garlic still in its natural paper wrapping. Peel off most of the layers, leaving just enough to hold the whole unit together.
  3. Cut off the pointy end with a sharp knife, about a quarter inch into the cloves. You want a flat cut surface on each clove so make as many cuts as necessary to expose garlic flesh. It should make a kind of honeycomb pattern.
  4. Drizzle about a teaspoon of olive oil over the naked garlic ends.
  5. Cover this top end with a little piece of foil. Use another bit of foil to prop up your garlic head in a small oven-proof dish.
  6. Cook for about 35 minutes. When it’s done, the garlic will have turned golden yellow and you can squeeze it out.

Use this creamy, sweet garlic treat as a pizza topping, spread on toasted or fresh crusty bread, add to sauces or dips, mix with veggies…post your own inspirations in the comments!

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