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Garlic presses: Good or bad?


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Home Cooking 57

Garlic presses: Good or bad?

gfr1111 | Aug 6, 2008 04:24 AM

In preparing garlic to be added to dishes and sauces, is a garlic press okay to use or does it change the flavor of the garlic?

In her autobiography, "My Life in France," chef Julia Child described a review (p. 254) which "New York Times" food critic Craig Claiborne wrote of her coauthored cookbook "Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. One": "Claiborne sniffed at our use of a garlic press, 'a gadget considered in some circles to be only one cut above garlic salt or garlic powder,' and thought that our lack of recipes for puff pastries and croissants was 'a curious omission.' I happened to like garlic presses . . ."

Anthony Bourdain wrote in "Kitchen Confidential" (p. 81): "Garlic is divine. Few food items can taste so many distinct ways, handled correctly. Misuse of garlic is a crime. Old garlic, burnt garlic, garlic cut too long ago and garlic that has been tragically smashed through one of those abominations, the garlic press, are all disgusting. Please, treat your garlic with respect. Sliver it for pasta, like you saw in "Goodfellas'; don't burn it. Smash it with the flat of your knife blade if you like, but don't put it through a press. I don't know what that junk is that squeezes out the end of those things, but it ain't garlic."

Like Mr. Bourdain, Alton Brown once advised against the use of a garlic press on one of the episodes of "Good Eats" for the same reason. It alters the flavor of the garlic.

Like Mrs. Child, I sort of like garlic presses and haven't notice a change in the flavor, but Mr. Bourdain and Mr. Brown obviously do. What do you think?

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