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Reeking of Garlic

August 10, 2010

Garlic Dip

“There is no such thing as a little garlic.” Arthur Baer

Pauline used garlic daily, served with fresh bread and in her recipes with potatoes and meat.  One of the family’s favorite ways to serve it was by toasting a piece of bread over the gas stove flames, rubbing the bread with a piece of fresh cut garlic, and then smearing the toast with lard and sprinkling it with a bit of salt (in Slovak, this garlic toast is called hrianka). The kids would often be given this to take for lunch at school.

In the 1950’s, Pauline used to send her youngest daughters, Lily and Ruth, down Queen Street in Leamington to the local  Slovak bakery, Lakeside.  At the time Lakside was located on Mill Street, and accessed through a back alley.  They would pay 10 cents for a freshly baked loaf and as they walked home, Lily and Ruth would each nibble off the pointed ends of the bread. When Pauline would ask them what happened to the bread, they would shrug their shoulders and one of them would say, “I don’t know – it just came that way.”  Pauline would feign shock and surprise, and mutter angrily about the poor quality of bread at the bakery. This little charade occurred daily.

Pauline and kids 1950's, Lamos family arrives to stay 1950, Lily and Ruth 1950's

Lakeside was owned by the Lamos family who were friends of the Shusters and who had immigrated from Pivnica, Yugoslavia in 1950. When they first arrived in Leamington, the entire Lamos family lived with Pauline’s family on the farm for several months until they were able to find a place to buy and were able to start their own business.

Pauline’s kids would go to school reeking of garlic, and were often made fun of for smelling so funny; at the time, garlic was not eaten much except by immigrant families. Today, garlic is of course commonplace and is known for it’s health benefits, such as helping to prevent certain types of cancer.  Maybe that’s why so many Shusters lived well into their 90’s.

Pauline and kids at Niagara Falls, Lily with me, Pauline in her garden on Queen St

This Garlic Dip recipe is an aoli-like recipe that is very easy to make.  It packs a powerful taste with only 3 ingredients (and a pinch of salt), each commonly found in the former Yugoslavia . The key ingredient is fresh garlic – a whole head of it.  The olive oil gives the dip a stronger flavor, as does the raw garlic.  If you prefer a milder taste, roast the garlic head at 300 degrees for 45 minutes, and then peel the cloves, and/or use vegetable oil instead of olive oil.

What to serve it with:

  • as a dip with fresh vegetables
  • as a dip for beef cubes cooked fondue style
  • with chunks of barbecued sausage
  • with lamb burgers
  • over cooked asparagus
  • in place of mayonnaise in sandwiches

Ingredients for dip:

  • 1 head of garlic; peel the garlic cloves
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup oil – either olive or vegetable
  • pinch of sea salt


  1. Blend the garlic cloves in a food processor with the sea salt
  2. Add the juice of the lemon and blend in for 20 seconds
  3. Slowly drip in the oil with the processor at high speed, until the dip is smooth and thickened – about 3 minutes

I promise, you too will reek of garlic after eating this. Good for you.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 10, 2010 11:14 pm

    This is dedicated to the biggest garlic lover I know – Mr HZ 🙂

    • Henock Zewdie permalink
      August 11, 2010 9:09 am

      I’m honored 🙂

  2. Henock Zewdie permalink
    August 11, 2010 9:08 am

    I disagree with Arthur Baer’s assertion that “There is no such thing as a little garlic.”; I would say “There is no such thing as too much garlic.”

    I can’t never get the ” rubbing the bread with a piece of fresh cut garlic” thing: I always poke the bread with the garlic and never works for me. May be it takes practice and gentle rubbing of the garlic into the bread. But that sound like to much work. Just have a grilled garlic sandwich and call it a day.

    Speaking of Arthur Bear quotes, my favorite has to be “It was as helpful as throwing a drowning man both ends of the rope”- pure gold.

  3. August 11, 2010 11:45 am

    I think Arthur must have meant that you cannot help but use more garlic, as too little is not worth it.

    I hear you on the garlic poking problem; I have the same issue. I think it would be easier to crush the garlic and just spread it on.

  4. Lily permalink
    August 11, 2010 2:03 pm

    You have to toast the bread first … then you rub on the garlic!

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