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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Garlic Incident

As I was preparing our dinner this evening, I was thinking about how people's tastes can change. We had a pasta side dish tonight that was flavored with garlic, and I had punched up the garlic flavor a bit. Trent has a habit of saying "It needs more garlic!" when asked to taste a dish that is still in progress. This makes me laugh, because he sure wasn't that way when we first got married. I remember being told on more than one occasion that I cooked with too much garlic. Garlic, garlic, garlic in everything. And I didn't even use all that much! As time went on, the complaints lessened, and Trent grew to love the flavor.

At a time when Trent wasn't working because of some health challenges, he would sometimes drive me to and from work, or the large local bus stop. One evening he came and picked me up at the bus stop after work and told me that he had made dinner. A few days before, we had seen some inexpensive software CDs in a business/computer store. Among the ones we purchased, Trent was very excited about the disc that said it had thousands of recipes. He decided to try making one as a treat for me, giving me an evening off. When I got in the car, he told me that he had made a garlicky chicken dish. He didn't sound as enthused about the surprise as I expected him to be. Instead of being excited about making a surprise, he seemed a bit subdued. "This recipe really used a lot of garlic," Trent told me. I thought, okay, a few cloves of garlic, no big deal. When I asked how much garlic the recipe called for, he asked me what the letter c meant in recipes, and I told him it stands for cup. "Well, the recipe called for a cup of garlic." I was stunned. "Honey, are you sure?" I asked nervously. He said that yes, the recipe said one cup. And when I looked at the recipe later, it did indeed say, "1 to 2 c garlic." Apparently someone didn't do their job properly in writing or editing, and decided that c was a good abbreviation for clove, when the rest of us use it for cup. Yikes.

When we opened the front door the overwhelming smell of the garlic hit us. My eyes and lungs were burning from the incredibly strong smell. Little Paris came over to welcome me home, blinking, smelling like her hair was saturated with garlic, and looking less than pleased. And I was more than a bit worried. When someone goes to the trouble to make you something special, you have to try it. I can honestly say it was a painful experience. One small bite was enough to leave my mouth, throat, and stomach burning. We just couldn't eat it. Instead we went to work trying to make the air quality a bit more livable. We did all kinds of things that night to get rid of that strong smell. We opened every window, set out bowls of vinegar...I even tried boiling some vinegar and water to get some air-cleaning steam going. We even lit up our wood-burning fireplace, hoping that the smoke would burn away some of that painfully strong smell. 

I don't remember how long it took to clear the air completely, but by bedtime we had gotten the smell fairly under control. Either that, or we had temporarily lost our sense of smell. But Paris was blinking less, so that was a good sign. I was still happy that Trent had tried to make a special dinner for me. It was a memorable one, that's for sure. I may have had some pain from it, but Trent and Paris had dealt with it longer than I had, so I really felt sorry for them. I am glad to report that no dogs or humans suffered any permanent damage. Paris still got excited every time we went into the kitchen. And we still love garlic. Just not by the cupful!