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Oct 13, 2010 03:49 PM

garlic in Italy

This is just an aside for all those who give me grief when I complain that too much New Orleans food uses garlic to excess. When I say that, particularly regarding our Italian restaurants, I hear, "It's Italian, it's supposed to have a lotta garlic!!"

Well, yet again, I have ben vindicated: I just got back from 6 days of eating in Rome, and you know how much garlic I encountered? NONE! Zero! Or, better put, if it was in there at all it couldn't be detected. Did the food suffer from not having any garlic? Of course not!

Aaah, feel better now...

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  1. The food may not have suffered from not having garlic, but do you think it may have been enhanced by its addition? BTW, I am not among your grief givers.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JazzyB

      You are not, my dear! And thank you for that! No, I was referring to the foodies in my circle. Three of us like little or no garlic in our food and find that it's exclusion isn't missed. But we are in the distinct minority! My comparison is to, say, oregano: you wouldn't put 4 times the amount a recipe called for in there because it would throw the dish way out of balance. But why is the same thiing routinely done with garlic and people say, More, more!! Escapes me...

    2. Absolutely right. Garlic is used in moderation and is not ubiquitous by a long shot. Many Italians don't like it at all.

      1. roman cuisine uses less garlic than many italian cuisines further south

        2 Replies
        1. re: thew

          yes, but all Italian cuisines use less garlic than Italian-American cuisine and American perceptions of Italian cuisine.

          1. re: mbfant

            i prefer tasty to authentic anyway

        2. My wife doesn't care for garlic. Last spring, we were "stuck" in Rome for 10 days because of the volcano and had exactly the same experience. No garlic issues...from very high end to relatively low end. We were pleasantly surprised, certainly no lack of taste in the food.

          1. preach it!

            I am half-Italian (born in Italy), lived most of my life in the states, and suffer from a mild garlic allergy (basically can't handle it raw, undercooked, or in any large quantity.) I find most "Italian-American" food in the states intolerable because of the massive amounts of chunky, poorly/hardly cooked garlic in it. Yet in three longs trips to Italy (Florence, Rome, and Venice) I have never once had a garlic reaction. Go figure.

            At home I cook Italian the way it is supposed to be cooked. If you add garlic to a dish, you remove the cloves before serving. It is used to flavor olive oil, or in a roast, but not meant to be all chopped up and overpower the flavor of a dish. Yet I find it so hard to convince most folks around here that Italian food does not simply = massive amounts of chopped garlic. *sigh*