Homer, Silvio, and Me

- - posted in Ancient Archives

I don’t like garlic. I like the taste (or at least I once did) but I don’t like the side effects. If I eat garlic, I soon end up feeling as if I’ve got flu: head and stomach aches, dizziness, nausea, even less energy than normal.

Trying to avoid garlic is remarkably difficult. I’m a vegan, but avoiding meat and dairy is a piece of cake compared to avoiding garlic. Garlic is everywhere, and sometimes it’s not even on the label. I dread the words “New Improved Recipe!” on a label, as it usually involves added garlic.

Garlic intolerance isn’t common or well known - I’ve only met one other person who is aware they’ve got a garlic problem. I say ‘aware’ because I suspect that many more people have the problem but don’t realise - they blame “foreign food” instead (we traditionally don’t cook with garlic in the UK).

Well, now I know of two other sufferers:

1: Silvio Berlusconi “Above all, no garlic. Like some Nosferatu, Berlusconi lives in fear of it, allegedly associating it with “boredom and death”. He is said to be able to detect it from great distances, causing complications at summit dinners. At Genoa, moderate protestors tried to disarm groups of anarchists, offering them garlic to throw instead of bricks, unaware what a potent weapon they had. He detected it on the breath of one of his Forza Italia members during a debate in 1996. Next day, they all received a mouth spray and a letter: “I beg you to accept this fresh and perfumed little gift intended for the palate and to use it so that your close-up encounters with the President of Forza Italia, the honourable Silvio Berlusconi, and with your electors will always be pleasant.” ” – James Fox, The Guardian

I like pesto, but it usually contains garlic. I’ve found some excellent garlic-free pesto, (Biona Organic Pesto) so all is well. Berlusconi can visit the Portofino region of Italy, where pesto is made without garlic. Except for when someone deliberately spikes his pesto…

2: Homer Simpson “Garlic gives me sour stomach and throw-up burps.” – Homer Simpson, replying to an email

So that’s one rather controversal politician, and one fictional character. It’s a start.

Of course, there’s The Other Side to worry about: Never Trust Someone Who Doesn’t Like Garlic!

That’s a little unfair. You can trust us. Well, me and Homer. OK, you can trust me. Really, you can.