Why I Smell of Garlic; or, I’m Dreaming of a White Easter

Last night, as Dawn and I sat in a recital hall at UW-Madison listening to the Marseille Woodwind Quintet, she leaned over to me and whispered, “Did you eat raw garlic today?” I nodded my head silently and became incredibly self-conscious since I was also sitting next to Linda Bartley, one of Dawn’s new colleagues in the Wingra Woodwind Quintet, whom I had just met for the first time.

Lately, Dawn has been turning her nose up at me more and more, thanks to the increase in raw garlic I’ve been consuming since deciding to shape up my post-chemo diet. According to our copy of Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal (a great quick reference for food) garlic “may help lower high blood pressure and elevated blood cholesterol, may prevent or fight certain cancers, [has] antiviral and antibacterial properties [that] help prevent or fight infection, [and] may alleviate nasal congestion.” Now, despite the fact that the cholesterol fighting properties seem to have been debunked (though Michael Pollan debunks our fear of some cholesterol anyway), it’s really the cancer fighting and preventing that I’m after. The “drawbacks” listed in the book include, of course, bad breath. But Dawn takes it a step further than that, and tells me (sometimes several times a day) that it not only makes my breath stink, but that “the stench exudes from your pores.” Well, she may be right, but my argument goes something like this: “I’d rather stink like a vampire-fearing peasant while listening to a quintet that’s traveled all the way from Marseille, than avoid a potentially highly beneficial food.”

And so, I say to all of you who may encounter me some evening in the future: pardon my stink.

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It’s mid-February here in the arctic tundra, and Madison surpassed the previous record snowfall a couple of weeks ago. The record was about 77 inches, and we now are over 80 inches for this winter. The so-called experts are predicting a final count that exceeds 100 inches. What can I say? Holy cow? (A slightly amusing side note: the last record winter was the winter of 1977-78, the same winter that my in-laws moved here with baby Dawn from Germany. I said to Dawn, “isn’t that funny that the winter your dad moved here was also one of the harshest winters on record, and now the year I move here has made the list?” The only difference, perhaps, is that he loves the winter here in a near masochistic manner.)

Don’t get me wrong — I like the snow too, actually, but all this cold is going to take some getting used to. Dawn and I are still discussing a possible move to Baja California.

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5 Responses to “Why I Smell of Garlic; or, I’m Dreaming of a White Easter”

  1. Sharon Mom Says:

    Here’s the deal. Stop eating the damn raw garlic right now and take the garlic capsules, and stop annoying your lovely wife, or I will not sponsor you in the American Cancer Society thing! So there! Love you anyway, but let’s move on this.

  2. Wait a minute. Why in the world would I use a processed food supplement when I can eat the real thing? First, the real thing is undoubtedly better for me — and, it tastes dang delicious!

  3. Sharon Mom Says:

    I wouldn’t blame Dawn if she moved out, but I can see you’re going all stubborn and rebellious on me….

  4. I love garlic too–and I often make Don eat large quantities of it, usually with broccoli rabe and pasta. BUT, I agree that the capsules are the way to go, and I don’t mean just any old garlic pill, because some of them stink more than the real deal. I’d recommend Kyolic Aged Garlic supplements. I’ve been taking one a day for a few years, ever since I had a lot of trouble with my stomach for various reasons.

    I swear, I don’t stink (at least, not of garlic…) and I think it keeps me in better health. I get fewer colds, for instance, than I used to. Many fewer–and I am prone to sinus problems and colds in general, so that’s saying something. I don’t know much about the anti-cancer possibilities, but I know it is a general boost to the immune system.

  5. Okay, hold on a minute (again). I love garlic — I love the way it tastes and smells, and I love putting it in my food, both cooked and raw. I don’t to take a pill, when I can eat the real thing…

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