The nurse studied yours truly for a few seconds last fall before raising the needle for a high powered flu shot. "Are you allergic to anything, Mr. Weaver?" she asked.
"Just garlic," I relied, quite proud that I was able to help.
Looking stunned, she questioned "Garlic? You’re allergic to garlic? How does it affect you?"
"I get sick," I answered, still mighty proud that I was able to contribute to my well being.
"Could you be a little more specific? the nurse asked somewhat suspiciously, but still a bit mystified at my answer. "How does it make you ill?"
I get nauseated," I said. "Can’t keep anything down; food, drink, cake, pie, candy, whatever? Even its smell makes me queasy. It acts like a poison."
I vividly recall the scene since the garlic season has once again arrived I remember my first encounter with this overpowering, pungent, herb as if it was yesterday. It made me ill for a week. Simply put, garlic and I are on the outs and have been for as long as I’ve been eating.
I know! I know! The one who’s suppose to be allergic to this foul smelling bulb is either Dracula, Frankenstein or the witch doctor. I never could keep them straight and while I may have been accused once of impersonating the latter, I can assure you I’m neither of the first two.
Regardless, after consuming even minute pieces, garlic treats me as if I’m its arch enemy. I’m not only capable of keeping food down but whenever I am able to eat, I have no appetite. Please don’t misunderstand. Garlic, for me, is not fatal. At least so far. It just causes me terrible nausea. Sometimes it takes a week or more before I’m finally back to a regular diet. It’s a terrible way to lose weight, but it works.
It’s also a shame, because I love Italian food. However, as you know, it’s next to impossible to find any not laced with garlic. So my choices are to either cook the pasta sauce myself or ask a restaurant to make some without garlic. Of course the chances of finding the latter are about as great as locating the legendary Lost Dutchman Gold Mine supposedly located somewhere deep within the Superstition Mountains of Arizona.
But one evening many years ago Lady Luck, shining her ever-loving light, guided me toward an excellent Italian eatery. Walking in, the aroma made you think you just stepped off the boat in Sicily. Upon meeting with the chef, I explained to him my allergy. I said that if he’d be willing to make sauce without garlic, whenever I ate out, I’d be willing to eat all my Italian food only at his restaurant. That evening, 48 years ago, a historic accord was struck. They agreed and so did I.
Over the years they’ve made me other dishes without the garlic. And each time I felt as if the bonding was becoming tighter and tighter between this establishment and myself. So much so that there are times I wish my name was Francisco Antonio Xavierino DeWeaverino Jr. and that I was of Italian heritage instead of Scotch/Irish/German/French.
Someday I’ll be taking him up on his promise of showing me how he makes his delicious garlic free spaghetti sauce. Since we’re both getting on in years, I’m hoping that day arrives soon. I’m getting far too old to have to break in some new chef.
As a kid back in the fifties, growing up on a farm in the Pennsylvania Dutch country, we weren’t exposed to garlic. Mom may have tried it once and maybe Dad and the kids got sick, so she scraped the idea. Who knows?
One thing I do know is, that if in the hereafter they serve garlic free pasta sauce as good as what I had been eating, I assure you, I’ll end up one happy camper.
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