My grandfather wouldn’t eat garlic. While my family has produced a number of picky eaters, I don’t normally think of my grandfather as having been one of them. I don’t remember running into many things that he wouldn’t eat, although that may be been one of the privileges of eating mostly at one’s own house and being choosy about where one eats out. I ate a lot of good food with my grandfather, but no garlic.
This is a stark contrast to the food I eat with my wife’s Italian family. When I was a child, pasta sauce was something that came from a jar and was poured over ground beef and noodles. My wife makes her own sauce, sometimes with fresh tomatoes and sometimes with canned, but always, always with fresh garlic.
There’s a fine line between being a picky eater and being a food snob. I’d like to suggest that in the right hands garlic can sometimes bridge the two.
There are a lot of ways to do garlic bread. Even a quick search turns up recipes from Rachel Ray, Paula Deen, Ina Garten, Tyler Florence, Guy Fieri, Bon Appétit, and Gourmet. A lot of these involve quantities of cheese, herbs, tomatoes, or some combination of the above, and they’re all fine.
But as much as I love fresh garlic — and I do — garlic powder makes a perfectly good garlic bread. Take any loaf of unsliced crusty bread and cut it in half. Spread butter over both halves. Sprinkle garlic powder on the butter — a little goes a long way — and toast both halves under the broiler just until it starts to brown. Share if necessary.
It’s not anything that I would eaten in my grandfather’s house, but I think of him every time I eat it.
Gavin Craig is co-editor of The Idler. You can follow him on Twitter at @craiggav.