My garlic man and his magic garlic
You may have noticed the garlic braids in many pictures of The Odyssey. You can see these ropes hanging almost everywhere you look.
Garlic from Tripoli
Every year, during the month of May, you’ll see a Mazda pickup truck loaded with ropes of garlic driving around Poros. It’s my garlic man: he comes from Tripoli, a town on a plateau in the center of the Peloponnese whose soil and climate is perfect for growing garlic. It’s the best garlic in Greece—that’s what he says.
Protection from the evil eye
He always starts off from The Odyssey. We’ll chat about politics (his favorite topic), his brother, his family, and when I finally ask him how he is doing, his face always breaks into a broad smile and he points to his wares and says that as long as he has garlic, the question is moot. Eating a lot of garlic certainly keeps him in good health. So every year I look forward to his arrival and every year I buy his admittedly wonderful garlic from Tripoli. I don’t just use garlic in the kitchen, but also hang it everywhere to ward off the evil eye!
Garlic in Homer’s Odyssey
Garlic has been used in cooking for over 10,000 years—not just for its flavor but for its properties which are said to help with a number of ailments. In Homer’s Odyssey, the god Hermes told Odysseus to use it as an antidote to Circe’s magic, which had turned his sailors into swine. Athletes competing in the ancient Olympics are said to have chewed on a garlic clove before competing for added strength—or maybe because their breath caused their opponents to keep their distance!
Garlic is used in many Greek dishes. Keep following Katerina’s Kouzina, so you will find wonderful recipes with garlic that will keep you healthy and happy like my garlic man!
Photographer: Annette Spaan
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