And no, it is not a joke, it really does exist, and its medical term is alliumphobia. People who suffer from it can not even get close to garlic, let alone eat it. If they do, they get sick, they start to shake, they lose control and their connection to reality, thinking they are dying.
Garlic has been known to mankind for at least 7000 years, making it one of the first plants used by humans. Although it originated in Mesopotamia, its cultivation began in Ancient Egypt. Garlic was discovered in King Tutankhamun’s tomb, and the builders of the tombs were specially fed with it to strengthen their health and endurance. Brides in Ancient Greece did not have a bouquet of flowers like today’s brides, but bouquets made from… garlic and various other herbs! I wonder how they smelled on their first wedding night… The Greek warriors and even Olympic athletes consumed large quantities of garlic before a battle or a competition to make them battleworthy and maintain them in top form.
And did you know that with the help of garlic and mugwort within 100 days a bear can be turned into a woman? At least, this is what the legend of Ungnyeo, the mother of the founder of the first Korean kingdom, tells us. According to it, a tiger and a bear (Ungnyeo) lived in a cave and prayed to their god Hwanung to become people. The god told them that it will happen if in a period of 100 days they do not leave the cave and eat only 20 cloves of garlic and a bundle of mugwort. The tiger could not do it and after a few days he left the lair to find more nutritious food, but Ungnyeo’s persistence paid off and she turned into a woman. Soon, her loneliness touched the heart of Hwanung and he married her. That is how Dangun was born, who later created Gojoseon – the first Korean kingdom.
And of course, we have all heard of Count Dracula and the vampires’ fear of garlic. Apparently, they also suffer from Alliumphobia. In order to protect yourselves from evil, all you need to do is to smear the lock on your door and the chimney with garlic. Or you could always wear it as a necklace around your neck. If you don’t mind the smell.
During World War II, the Russians ran out of penicillin and quickly replaced it with garlic. That’s where the name “Russian penicillin” comes from.
Buddhists think that garlic stimulates the aggression and the sexual drive, therefore, they do not recommend its consumption. Interestingly enough, a Nepalese man by the name of Deepak Sharma Bajagain, holds the world record for eating garlic. In 2009, he swallowed 34 cloves in 1 minute!
The idea, but not only, for today’s article came from the approaching “National Garlic Day”, which is celebrated every year in the United States on April 19th. On the other hand, when will you have another opportunity to not leave the house for days and afford to eat all the garlic you want to your heart’s content? And without worrying you might kill somebody with your breath? Right now we can eat all our favorite dishes that include garlic, and at the same time strengthen our immune system and protect ourselves against viruses.
Indeed, it is proved that when crushing the clove, Allicin is excreted, which has an effect on our bodies by protecting us from viruses and infections, lowers the blood pressure in people suffering from Hypertonia, reduces the “bad” cholesterol, slows down the growth of atherosclerotic plaques, it is an antioxidant, and reduces respiratory infections. Well, it does have an unpleasant odour, but this can also be reduced if you add to the dish parsley, or if you drink milk while chewing it. If you want to remove the smell from your hands all you have to do is put your hands under cold running water and rub them with a stainless-steel object. You will be surprised!
For the fans of the garlic, in Stockholm there is a restaurant called “Garlic and Shots”, in which absolutely every dish contains garlic. Even the beer! And the desserts! Personally, I know a lot of people, who like Dracula, suffer from the aforementioned phobia, and also a lot who put garlic powder on everything and swear that it is an universal spice, giving taste even to the blandest of dishes. I don’t know which category you fall under, but since it is not clear when we will be able to go to Stockholm, let’s make today a recipe that I borrowed from Taste of Home. I’m sure you will not regret it.
CHICKEN WITH GARLIC AND FRESH HERBS
– 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 1-1/2 pounds)
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/4 teaspoon pepper
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 10 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
– 2 tablespoons brandy or chicken stock
– 1 cup chicken stock
– 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary or 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
– 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
– 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. In a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Brown chicken on both sides. Remove from pan.
Remove skillet from heat; add halved garlic cloves and brandy. Return to heat; cook and stir over medium heat until liquid is almost evaporated, 1-2 minutes.
Stir in stock, rosemary and thyme; return chicken to pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, until a thermometer reads 170°, 6-8 minutes. Sprinkle with chives.
Can you feel it getting rid of all the germs? And it is so delicious. There’s nothing better than strengthening your health while you’re eating!