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Beating garlic breath. August 27, 2009

Posted by ourfriendben in recipes, wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. Ugh, garlic breath, that bane of polite society. If you love hummus, baba ghannouj, aioli, garlic knots, or any other garlic-rich treat, you’ve probably come up against garlic breath many times, not to mention the reaction of your horrified friends, family and colleagues.

I was reminded of this recently when our neighbor Fran, in response to my passing along a container of my Carrot Cabbage Confetti Slaw, reciprocated with a tray of hot-from-the-oven beer bread and garlic dip. The dip was made from half mayo and half sour cream (Fran used low-fat for both) impregnated with about a dozen minced garlic cloves and a good spoonful of garlic salt to boot. Whew! It was super-tasty, but our friend Ben and I were left with terminal garlic breath after we’d enjoyed it.

What to do? I’ve tried eating parsley, chewing mints, brushing my teeth, eating plain yogurt, eating bread, eating rice. No dice. Garlic must be one of the most persistent scents on earth, second only to skunk. It’s enough to make a self-respecting person give up garlic altogether for the greater good of society.

But today I made a discovery. Our dog Shiloh was socializing with Fran and Bill’s dog Ollie when Fran emerged from the house with a carton of the luscious garlic dip. “Here, take this, I’ve made way too much,” she said. Well, yum, was I really going to say no to that? Not to mention that the only thing I’d eaten all day was some virtuous cottage cheese and tomato and, frankly, I was feeling a little hungry. But sadly, I didn’t have any dipping bread in the house. So I grabbed what I did have, plain tortilla chips, and ate a couple with the dipping sauce, then ate a couple more plain to wash them down.

Whoa… wait a minute… there’s no garlic breath! That can’t be, can it? I know there’s no lingering garlic taste, but I still must have killer breath after that teaspoon or two of garlic-saturated dip. So I put my hand in front of my mouth and blow into it to drive the breath up to my nose. Still not a single whiff of garlic. Could tortilla chips really, finally be the answer? The Garlic-Breath Terminator? Try it, and tell me what you (and your family) think. 

         ‘Til next time,




1. Becca - August 28, 2009

I know tortilla chips have a pretty bad breath flavor to them sometimes. Maybe they cancel each other out? And–I’ll have you know that 9 at night is WAY too late for me to be thinking of making tortilla chips and garlic dip!

Ha! I think those are the flavored chips, Becca, those seasonings really do leave an awful aftertaste. That’s why I go for the plain ones!

2. deb - August 28, 2009

Never tried tortillas, but lemon helps.

I’ll keep that in mind!

3. nancybond - August 28, 2009

Well, I certainly hope you’re right, because they make a great combo!! 😉

So true!

4. Daphne Gould - August 28, 2009

Garlic hands are what drives me crazy. I could slice up just one clove but my hands would smell of garlic for the next day. I like garlic, but ick! I found if you wash them like normal then grab the chrome spout of your sink and rub them on it. The scent is gone.

Yes, I’d heard that stainless sinks work well for that, Daphne, but I’ve never tried it. Glad to hear it’s true! I suspect Deb’s lemon trick would work for hands as well.

5. Alan from Roberts Roost - August 29, 2009

We just make sure everyone eats the garlic dip. No one seems to mind the smell if everyone has it. Works with kimchee too. It’s especially important to remember when one makes a late night food raid. Bring some back and share it with the significant other in your life. Then the breath of death won’t be a problem.

Ha!!! Words to live by, Alan!

6. Curmudgeon - August 30, 2009

“it’s chic to reek!”–a postcard up on our fridge from the Stinking Rose–the garlic restaurant in SF. Even as I write, Wing Nut is “improving” her grandmother’s pickle recipe by adding garlic.

Ha!!! That’s a classic!

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