Forgotten & Then Remembered
Sandwiched in history somewhere between "Who Shot JR" and the original Live Aid concert, is a time when the British finally discovered garlic. Twenty plus years down the line I am finding it difficult to grasp the concept that I lived the first dozen or more years of my life without any help at all from the stinking rose. Imagine many meals based on bland minced beef, with little more than a hastily chopped onion added to impart extra flavour. I even thought I didn't like onions when I was little, so imagine further and you will see a haphazard collection of glassy little allium strings patterning the rim of my plate, destined only for consumption by the rubbish bin.
Talking of waste, I am trying to address my problem of buying too much food for our needs and letting it rot in my fridge or dry out on my shelves. A case in hand is, perhaps, my favourite of the Acme loaves, the Pain Epi which brings much pleasure to Fred and me when we gourge on it somewhere around brunchtime on a Saturday. Although I buy it freshly baked, and often still warm at the market, once 24 hours and a lazy Sunday morning have rolled around, the remaining little epi ears of dough that survived our furiously hungry onslaught the day before have hardened to a state of far less appeal.
So yesterday morning, thinking that nothing could be done with it, I threw out the last 3 pieces of that epi loaf. In my mind, a while later, I was replaying the previous evening's meal at Garcon, where a classically-inspired yet modern-looking appetizer of buttery garlic-drenched snails on toasted brioche had wakened a dormant memory. I suddenly started lusting for some good, old-fashioned garlic bread.
During the 1980s, when I was a teenager taking my first steps in the direction of adulthood by throwing little dinner parties with my girlfriends, until the time I left home to attend college and fend for myself, garlic bread was nearly always on the menu. As a nation, once we had discovered garlic, we couldn't get enough of it. It was almost more fashionable than Duran Duran.
Once the idea was in my head on Sunday, nothing could stop me. I made sure Fred wasn't watching as I retrieved the loaf from the trash, minced some garlic and then whisked it together with softened butter and a decent pinch of salt. Wishing I'd also had some fresh parsley to add to the butter, I carefully made little slices into my bread and then filled each one with plenty of the garlic butter, wrapped it in foil and then popped it in the preheated oven at 350F for about 25 minutes.
The butter oozed and melted into the softened dough and the crust started to crisp up as garlic aromas slowly started to permeate through the appartment, compelling us to hover in the kitchen, impatiently waiting for lunch. The moment for unwrapping the bread from its silvery cloak could not come soon enough. We risked burning the skin off the tips of our fingers to tear off chunks of the buttery, pungent bread and devour. Simple, brash, unrefined, messy and yet so lip-smackingly, satisfying. Had you forgotten about garlic bread? If so, it's time to remember again.
Links, Resources and Further Reading
Bread | from Acme
Tomatoes & Basil | from Dirty Girl
[Look! Will Dirty girl start a blog soon?]
Gwen Avocado & Juicy Garlic | from the Farmers Market
Mozzarella | from Cowgirl
Butter | from Straus
|Archive Alert! On this day in 2005: Eggs and Harry Potter.|
|And at around this time in 2004: Plouf's new menu!|
Food | Eat Local | San Francisco | Recipe | Bread Garlic Bread