Handling the garlic cure

In spite of its touted benefits, garlic is still avoided by many, perhaps most often for fear of its “scent” remaining on one’s breath.

In the waiting-room of my doctor I once perused a book on garlic, with Herb or Herbal in the title, by a doctor in New Hampshire, I believe. The author noted that he was merely passing on in print what he had found interesting, leaving its merit up to the reader.

As for how to eat garlic raw, I would add advice from a Chinese-Canadian man who was behind the counter in a Toronto airport lunch spot. He heard the only other customer and me discussing garlic and chimed in, “Chop up a clove into small pieces, place in a teaspoon and swallow it like medicine, followed by a half glass of water. This way it leaves no odor on your breath.”

A friend of mine in Paris used to smell from garlic, which permeated his shirts, defying the wash at times to remove it all. Fresh parsley, swallowed after the garlic, did work.

There was an Italian tailor in Houlton on the second level on Main Street, above JJ Newberry’s, I believe, who was said to smell of garlic. I assume that no one would have told him. For some reason, during World War II, gossip had it that he was a spy and sent light signals up. Up where, I cannot say, but an Italian would have been part of the German-Japanese-Italian axis against us. Germans and Japanese are not known for using excessive garlic, though.

Incorporating garlic into one’s diet daily will prevent getting a cold. As many as four to six cloves or the equivalent have been recommended, but this would seem unique to the individual, from only one clove to four cloves taken as medicine (one with each meal and one at bedtime).

If a cold has already arrived, symptoms will soon disappear after one takes garlic. If they reappear, repeat the garlic “medicine.” Voila. Bon appetit.

Byrna Porter Weir was born and grew up in Houlton, where her parents, Ina and Porter, were portrait photographers. She now lives in Rochester, N.Y.  

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