Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Mo' elephant garlic mo' problems

Less than an hour after I pounded my usual iced grande nonfat latte, I'm already coming down from it. This confirms my suspicion that (a) there was fat in that there "non-fat" milk and (b) they skimped on the espresso. I think this entitles me to compensate with a modestly sized glass of diet Coke. Be right back.

Okay, that's better. Oh, wait. Drinking that extra beverage has left me with a rather urgent need to, as they say in Australia, see a man about a wallaby. (My source on that is Finding Nemo. Don't dispute me.) Be right back again.

Where was I? Oh, right, elephant garlic. I bought some for the first time on Sunday, figuring I could do all kinds of cool stuff with it. Why they call it "elephant garlic" I haven't figured out yet; yes, it's enormous, but there are plenty of other words you could use to indicate that fact without resorting to speciesism. Elephants (the African ones anyway) know they're the largest land animals in the world, and I'm sure they already have enough of a complex about it; they're probably sticking their feet down their throats at the watering hole after every meal, hoping in vain to drop enough pounds to put them in second place behind the rhinoceros. For my part, I'm just going to refer to it as Really Big Garlic (or RBG) for the duration of this post.

Anyway, as I said, I had big plans for my RBG. Mainly, I was stoked by the idea of making garlic chips, which I imagined to be both easy and rewarding. But when I got the garlic home, the problems started. I pulled off one of the giant cloves only to find a lot of disgusting grey fuzzy stuff inside; truly, one of the nastier food-related surprises I've had in recent memory. I was reminded of why the whole idea of fresh produce used to pretty much scare me off. If you are at all squeamish, please for the love of God do not click here. You've been warned.

But no matter how atrocious the garlic was, I was not going to throw it out. No, that particular hunk of RBG was destined for a return trip to the Whole Foods from whence it came. Nobody sells me grey fuzzy produce and gets away with it; I mean, I've killed men for less. Okay, just the one time, but it counts. So last night I marched back over there (yes, on foot) and dropped the offending item on the Customer Service counter and told that green-aproned mofo just what was up. But he was all, "Y'all paid for that janky garlic already and we ain't takin' it back, so bounce up outta here fo' I mess up yo' bizness!" To which I retorted, "Bitch, I got homies five deep back there in the cut, so don't be makin' them introduce yo' triflin' ass to their Teks... feel me?" It was then that he finally comprehended the veracity of my incipient tirade, and he happily wrote me up a refund slip and sent me on my merry way. (Fine, I took some artistic license with that story. His apron was black, not green. Happy?)

I thus exchanged the bad RBG for a good one (this time, I verified its non-fuzziness before paying for it) and brought it home to fulfill its garlic chip destiny. I put a clove on the cutting board, sliced it up, brushed each one with some olive oil, and put them all on the cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for what seemed like an appropriate amount time, flipping each one halfway through the process. Then I pulled them out and tried them. Let's see, how best to describe the taste? I could embellish for a few paragraphs, but I think "awful" will do the trick, or "virtually inedible" to throw in an extra word. Or more to the point, bitter, with an aftertaste of extremely bitter. I tried dumping on some grated peccorino romano and drizzling a little more olive oil on top. Yeah, didn't help. Either there's a secret to making good garlic chips that I haven't caught onto; or, perhaps, there's a secret to being able to tolerate the flavor. I think I should have taken the grey fuzziness as an omen and aborted the whole thing right then.


the sparkler said...

I spent the whole post feeling bad for elephants. You know they have a whole disorder named after them. “Elephantiasis is a rare disorder of the lymphatic system. Inflammation of the lymphatic vessels causes extreme enlargement of the affected area, most commonly a limb or parts of the head and torso. It occurs most commonly in tropical regions and particularly in parts of Africa.” (The medical dictionary even has pictures) Then I thought about Dumbo, why can’t we just leave the poor elephants alone? RBG from now on! Maybe there is some activist group I can join. . .

Skerlie Bee said...

I, on the other hand, am trying for the LIFE of me, why you would WANT to eat garlic chips. I mean, it's not like banana chips, where you toss back a bunch in one sitting...this is GARLIC! Hello, BREATH!????

I'm not going to say this often, but I'm glad this one didn't work!