the colours of garlic……


The importance of garlic as an ingredient in good food was not entirely clear to me until several years after we had moved to live here, in France. Of course, I was well acquainted with it, cooked with it regularly and thought of it as essential to food as perfume to a woman. I had experienced wonderful dishes in good restaurants in London and Europe yet I had never really appreciated that perfume in my own cooking because I had never had access to the source. Being here I see garlic growing in the potageres around our house, I see wooden troughs of it drying in open sided sheds and I smell it wafting from the kitchens of my neighgbours. It’s gentler than I ever imagined and I love looking at it, having it my kitchen and , most of all, cooking with it. Although I have created a garlic flag in red, white and blue there is a growing part of me that is happily losing attachment to my roots, and I’m not speaking of my teeth. Neither am I looking for a another flag to wave, being as the garlic flag has similarities to the Tricolor, as I have never seen the waving of any single flag produce anything but division. It occurred to me that if each of us was allowed but one answered wish in our life then there would be very few of us left alive, as that wish would almost certainly be squandered on getting rid of the someone who was the first to truly piss us off. How often have we muttered “Oh , I wish he’d just drop dead” which muttered wish, in my predicated scenario, would render unto dust the fool who just wouldn’t move forward in the queue. Just annoyingly in the way.


On the culinary front, should the majority of my fellow countrymen have had their wishing way, garlic would be as scarce as kindness. Myth has it that vampires detest and fear the effects of garlic which suggests to me that they may not be autochthonous to Translyvania after all, and that the influx of middle Europeans to our sceptered isle may just be migrant Draculas returning to their true home.



“Foreign muck” was the popular idiom for food eaten on holiday in Europe. It was full of garlic and it was certainly best not to eat any of it if you were meeting friends later. Oddly, those same sensitive olfactory senses were oblivious to the ripeness of hot armpits under nylon shirts in the confines of the London Underground on a hot summer’s day. There is a culture gap which is not a bad gap but just a gap created by climate, location and, as it says on the tin, culture. Garlic is part of where I now live and the garlic that I now know is not the vegetable that I used to know and at last that perfume is always around my kitchen and it makes me very happy.



About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in 2014, Art photography, Digital photography, food, Food and Photography, Food photographer, France, garlic, Kitchens, Photographic Prints, Photography, photography course, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

63 Responses to the colours of garlic……

  1. Darya says:

    What a wonderful homage, in both words and pictures.

  2. I love garlic! I don’t think I eat any more or less of it in Spain than I did in the US, but it does seem a lot stronger here. I’ve found that using too much of it or not cooking it all the way through leads to a rather unpleasant stomach-ache, which never used to happen back home. Also, I love when garlic has a touch of purple on the outside. There’s something so luscious about it, and the ability to just roast a whole clove of garlic in olive oil… yum! Your photos are beautiful as well!

  3. Francesca says:

    The photos are beautiful. In Italian, the saying goes- l’aglio è “Il farmacista del contadino”,- garlic is the peasant’s pharmacy. Not only is it a pleasure to grow and use in cooking, but the health benefits are well researched. Here’s health to the vampires!

  4. Mad Dog says:

    I’ve always loved garlic and I’d go as far as saying that a pretty girl who’s eaten garlic is a pretty girl with my kind of perfume 😉

  5. cecilia says:

    Stunning and I am planting five new varieties of garlic sometime this weekend, well on sunday actually as on Saturday i am off to the rugby!.. wearing ALL my clothing at once as it promises to be cold.. c

    On Thu, Oct 30, 2014 at 3:59 PM, Food, Photography & France wrote:

    > Food,Photography & France posted: ” The importance of garlic as an > ingredient in good food was not entirely clear to me until several years > after we had moved to live here, in France. Of course, I was well > acquainted with it, cooked with it regularly and thought of it as essential > to fo”

    • Of course…the All Blacks are playing USA for the first time…I think the USA are going to produce some really good players in the next few years. On the other hand, I think they’re going to get spanked by the All Blacks, but then they tend to do that to everyone:)

  6. What a lovely ode to an indispensable vegetable. That reminds me that I need to get some in the ground…..

  7. Absolutely stunning photos of garlic! I’m a big fan of it, and it was big in Spain- the only country where I showed up someplace smelling of garlic and a guy told me he thought I smelled really nice, haha.

  8. Gorgeous photography. Lovely narrative.

  9. I miss that garlic 😦

  10. Roger, what a beautiful prose , I love the third image the most, the ambient light is absolutely stunning beautiful.

  11. Eha says:

    Oh could it always be thus here Down Under . . . the likely scenario encompasses a walk into one’s local supermarket, down the fresh vegetable isle, to big string bags of some white bulbs resembling what we believe to be ‘garlic’ . . . no look, no style, no taste but, I believe, a glowing amount of radiation . . . yes, I am attempting to grow my own . . .

  12. EllaDee says:

    The curious thing about garlic is eaten in company any aroma is negated… but I love it, the taste and smell, so care not one way or another for myself but I do hate the lingering day after the night before unwashed close confines commuter aroma.
    I concur with Eha, Australian supermarkets stock imported garlic facsimiles but the real thing is available from growers, farmers markets etc… they export the good stuff!

  13. Your photos are wonderful, they draw me to the blog each time, makes me want to go out and grow some garlic!

  14. Vicki says:

    Couldn’t do without Garlic – be it my winter chicken soup with whole bulbs divided up and piled in by the handful or my favourite Indian curries (which don’t have so much).

    I don’t remember ever eating it as a child in the 50s & 60s.

  15. suej says:

    Great ode to garlic, and the foreign muck, garlic odour compared to hot armpits had me smiling!

  16. A girfriend of mine met a chap who claimed to be allergic to garlic – I was immediately suspicious of him but still put it in my cooking when he came round with her to eat. There were no ill effects any of the many times he ate my food but fortunately he was given the heave ho – never trust anyone who won’t eat garlic 😉

  17. Garlic does not love me, regardless of how I feel about it. 🙂 MTM likes to go up in the mountains and seek out garlic growers. The variety is astonishing, though I can only have bits, not feasts. Great pictures as usual.

  18. Amanda says:

    Beautiful photos. I really was raised on garlic. My dad, brother and I used to eat entire bulbs baked in the oven with olive oil and then smell up our respective rooms as it emanated through our pores. My mom used to tell me that no one would ever date me if kept eating garlic like that. Luckily I’ve toned it down, but it probably explains my affinity for Spanish food. I almost always double the garlic that is called for in recipes. Love that you feel the same way. I wish these photos were mine 🙂

  19. platedujour says:

    My favourite photo is the second one. I took some photos of fresh garlic this year. I love it when it’s fresh, this kind light pink colour is fantastic. But… your garlic is so wonderfully rustic, it brings all the good memories back from my parents’ farm 🙂 by the way I also love onions, think I’m a bit obsessed with both !

  20. Michelle says:

    So much garlic in this household, there can’t be vampires for miles and miles around. (Gorgeous photos, Roger. But that’s no surprise.)

  21. Stunning pictures. Great post

  22. Garlic makes me very happy, as well. The trick is just to get everyone to eat and enjoy it as much as you do, and then everything and everyone smells of garlic and that’s amazing :). Beautiful photos.

  23. icookandcode says:

    I was just using garlic tonight and was thinking about it 🙂 Thank you for this post 😀

  24. Karen says:

    I can remember my mother rubbing a clove of fresh garlic around the edge of the large wooden salad bowl for flavor…she would be surprised to see me add fresh garlic paste to my Caesar salad dressing. 🙂

    • I love the idea of rubbing garlic on a wooden salad bowl..very good indeed. They often use a piece of stale bread,toasted and rubbed with garlic then rubbed round the bowl.They leave it in the bottom of the bowl so that when all the leaves are eaten “le chapon” is left as a treat:)

  25. Brilliantly said.
    I fricking love garlic. That stuff should be a perfume for women 🙂

  26. Sally says:

    As my (Polish) grandmother ate a clove of raw garlic a day (and was strong and healthy to a ripe old age) I adore the stuff and never object to wafts of it… weak or strong. I can’t understand how people can cook without it.

  27. Leena Saini says:

    Mmm, garlic. Beautiful post! And Karen, love rubbing garlic in wooden bowls for salad…yum! I use a lot of garlic in Indian cooking. The aroma is so comforting.

  28. I have never ever seen such a beautiful spade and garlic photograph. Great story as always but the photos are totally engaging.

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