by Kate Heyhoe
Over the years, I've developed a few phobias, like a mild fear of heights and fonsolicitophobia (fear of telephone solicitors), but I'm about as close to having alliumphobia as Carrot Top is to winning a Nobel prize. Alliumphobia is, of course, the fear of allium sativum, commonly known as garlic.
In fact, while some people are born with a sweet tooth, I was instead born with a full set of garlic chompers. Dr. Andrew Weil, medical guru, and other healers recommend eating whole cloves of raw garlic to ward off a cold and boost the immune system. Most folks find such a strong blast of garlic insanely potent, stinging, biting, or distasteful at best. Not me. I can devour raw garlic the same way some Texans proudly gulp down jalapeņos, whole and in one bite, and never even flinch.
Which leads me to vampires. Modern vampires, I've been told, no longer shy away from garlic, unlike their ancestors. If so, this poses quite a problem for all those Anti-Vampi's rubbing their necks with garlic and adorning their doorways with braided garlands of white and purple garlic, hung with all the decorative flare of Martha Stewart or the Queer Guys.
Perhaps, as with allergies that fade over time, vampires have become immune to the power of garlic. Consider, for example, the many ways people once used garlic to thwart off the undead:
* Church clergy distributed garlic to their parishioners. Those who did not eat it would be deemed vampires. (I once had a boyfriend whose most disagreeable mother hated garlic. I now believe the old bat could have been a vampire. Easily.) Other legends say that just distributing the garlic in the church kept vampires out.
* Vampire repellents came in the form of garlic necklaces, made from raw cloves strung together or fashioned into a garlic amulet. Sometimes people created an "eau de allium" by rubbing raw cloves on their necks (kind of like rubbing the salad bowl or the fondue pot with a clove of garlic.) Others, on particularly spirited nights, slept with a clove of garlic under their pillow (wouldn't the tooth fairy be surprised!).
* Ancient Egyptians foiled a vampire-like monster by placing wreaths of garlic on sleeping children. The evil-doer was thought to kill youngsters by sucking up their breath. (Perhaps this vampire was one of the strong, sexy, seductive types and feared being inflicted with garlic-breath, especially on Saturday night.)
* Eastern Europeans, some of the most vampire-plagued peoples in literature, didn't just wear garlic, they ate it daily for protection (not a bad idea according to modern medicine, even if it doesn't work against vampires). Romanians used it like Lysol, smearing garlic on windows, doors, any entryway to their home or barn, and even on the horns of their cattle. In some parts of China, Malaysia, and the West Indies, a smear of garlic on the forehead is also believed to ward off evil spirits in general.
* The Romanians took care of their dead by plugging garlic into a corpse's mouth, nostrils, eyes, and ears. No way would a vampire enter the dead body with garlic in the path. In some cases, the heels of the dead were also anointed with garlic-infused oil. (Bread and Consorzio, anyone?)
* Garlic flowers apparently had protective powers, too, at least in Bram Stoker's Dracula, where they fill the room around Miss Lucy's bed. But I have yet to open my Visa bill and see an FTD special featuring garlic flowers for Halloween.
So, given the passing of these garlicky apotropaic traditions, I suspect the rumor is true, that modern day vampires no longer loathe garlic. Perhaps, they've even come to embrace their fears, turning negatives into positives, and seasoning their victims with a full forty-cloves of roasted garlic or a hefty dollop of aioli before biting into them. After all, garlic is supposed to be an excellent tonic for the blood, good for the circulation, and helps prevent blood clots. What more could a vampire want?
So for all my garlic loving friends, from vegans to vampires, here's a collection of potent worldwide garlic recipes to spice up Halloween, All Soul's Day, and the Days of the Dead. I hope you enjoy every last bite.
Argentine Parsley-Garlic Sauce
Caramelized Garlic in a Slow Cooker
Commander's Palace Anchovy Garlic Dressing
Garlic and Cheese Betzels
Chicken Baked with Onions, Garlic and Rosemary
Greek Roasted Potatoes with Garlic, Lemon, and Oregano
Mexican Quick-Fried Shrimp with Sweet Toasty Garlic
Spaghetti with Garlic, Anchovies & Parsley
Spanish Garlic Soup
Ukrainian Portobellos and Garlic-Laced Livers
Kate's Global Kitchen for October 2003:
10/03/03 May I See the Beer List, Please?
10/10/03 Cozy Dinners with Lora and Leslie
10/17/03 Rub Me Tender
10/24/03 A Kinder, Gentler Halloween
10/31/03 I Ain't No Vampire ('Cause Garlic Tastes Good to Me)
Copyright © 2003, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page created October 2003
Copyright © 1994-2018,